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Political History

1950s — Dawn of a Nation

October 20th, 1952

Declaration of emergency

Declaration of emergency and the arrest of several leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta, who was later to become Kenya's first President.

January 15, 1954

Capture of General China

Capture of Warũhiũ Itote gave the colonists a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure.

April 24, 1954

Operation Anvil Seals Off Nairobi

Operation Anvil sealed Nairobi off for a sector-by-sector purge where all Africans were taken to temporary barbed-wire enclosures and suspected Mau Mau members were picked out of groups of Kikuyu-Embu-Meru detainees by an African informer. Male suspects were then taken off for further screening, primarily at Langata Screening Camp, whilst women and children were readied for repatriation to the reserves.

21 October, 1956

Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi Caputured


Kenyan Land and Freedom Army Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi captured in Nyeri. Kimathi was executed by the colonialists in 1957.

March, 1957

African Leaders Join The Legislative Council.

Tom Mboya and other leaders are elected in the first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council. Mboya was later assassinated on July 5, 1969 in Nairobi by Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge.

1960s — Birth of a Nation

August 21, 1961

Jomo Kenyatta Released

Jomo Kenyatta was released from detention in 1961 and he joined the Kenya African National Union (KANU)

February 1962

Second Lancaster House Conference

The second Lancaster House constitutional conference was held and chaired by Secretary of State for Colonies, Reginald Maulding. The conference created the Upper House or Senate to safeguard white settler interests and granting of independence modalities. The 41 Member Senate with limited powers occupied what is today the County Hall. The Lower House represented the people's voices.

December 12, 1963

Kenya Attains Indepedence

The Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta formed a government shortly before Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963, on the same day forming the first Constitution of Kenya.

December 12, 1964

Mzee Kenyatta Sworn In


Kenya became a Republic with Mzee Kenyatta as the first President.

April 14, 1966

Oginga Odinga Resigned

The first Vice-President, Oginga Odinga, resigned on April 14, 1966 and formed the Kenya People's Union reintroducing the multiparty status. Joseph Anthony Murumbi, then Minister for Foreign Affairs succeeded Odinga as Vice-President on May 13, 1966.

January 3, 1967

Daniel Arap Moi Appointed

Murumbi resigned as Vice-President and Daniel arap Moi was appointed to the post.

1970s — Building a Nation

November 11, 1974

3rd General Elections

The third general elections were held upon the dissolution of the second parliament on September 8, 1974.


Change The Constitution Group


During the Third Parliament, a group of Members of Parliament popularly known as the "change the constitution" group, tried unsuccessfully to amend the Constitution so that the Vice-President would not automatically assume the Presidency on the death of the President.

It was seen by some observers as an attempt to prevent the then Vice-President Daniel arap Moi from assuming Presidency in the event of President Kenyatta's death.

August 22, 1978

Kenya's Founding Father Dies

Kenyatta died and was succeeded as President by Daniel Toroitich arap Moi who dissolved the Third Parliament on September 20, 1979. The subsequent general elections held on November 8, 1979, saw a half of the members of the Third Parliament lose their seats.

1980s — A One Party Nation

June, 1981

Nyayoism Succeeds Harambee

"We live now in the era of Nyayo. I hear there are a few people who sometimes seem to wonder just where this Nyayo is leading. Well the answer is simple: towards peace, love and unity. Peace, love and unity are not slogans or vague philosophies: they are practical foundations of countrywide development. Where there is peace, then there is stability and only in the areana of stability will you find investment, enterprise and progress. Where there is love, then there is trust and readiness to work with others to contribute to others in the cause of nationhood. Where there is unity, there is strength, rooted in understanding of our common purposes, common loyalties and mutual dependence"

President Moi, Madaraka Day Celebrations, 1981
June, 1982

Defacto One Party State

Kenya became a one party state by law in June 1982

Sunday, August 1st 1982

Attempted Coup d'état

Soldiers from the Kenya Air Force took over the radio station Voice of Kenya and announced that they had overthrown the government. Hezekiah Ochuka, a Senior Private Grade-I (the second lowest rank in the Kenyan military), ruled Kenya for about six hours before escaping to Tanzania. After being extradited back to Kenya, he was tried and found guilty of leading the coup attempt and hanged in 1987.

September 26, 1983

5th General Elections

The fifth general elections were conducted on September 26, 1983, and the Fifth Parliament was dissolved on February 5, 1988. Elections for the Sixth Parliament preceded by queue voting were held on March 21, 1988.

1990s — A Multi Party Nation

December 29, 1992

Multi Partyism Ushered In

The Sixth Parliament was dissolved on October 28, 1992 and subsequent elections held in December 1992 ushered in Multi partyism after the repeal of section 2(a) and a volatile seventh parliament. In the December 29, 1992 elections, members of parliament were from the following political parties: KANU, the opposition Ford-Kenya, Democratic Party of Kenya, Kenya Social Congress, Kenya National Congress and the Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya

December 29, 1997

8th Parliament Elections

The elections for the Eighth Parliament were held and out of the 210 elected Members of Parliament and 12 nominated members, there was a margin of four seats between KANU and the combined opposition.

December 12, 1963

Vice Presidents

Mwai Kibaki was Moi's Vice-President between 1978 to 1988 and was succeeded by the late Dr. Josephat Karanja (1988-89), and Professor George Saitoti (1989 - August 2002). Musalia Mudavadi was appointed Vice-President in November 2002.

2000s — A New Constitution

August 9, 2001

Constitution Review

The eighth Parliament initiated in 2001 a comprehensive review of the constitution.

December 30, 2002

President Moi Retires

President Moi retires after having been in office for 24 years.

December 30, 2002

President Kibaki Takes Office

President Mwai Kibaki took oath of office on the same day after his party, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) won the elections.

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