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Political History

In 1960, British Prime Minister Sir Harold Macmillan, made the World famous "Wind of Change" declaration in which he acknowledged the inevitability of granting independence to all colonized people. Following this, the new Secretary of Colonies, Mr. Ian McLeod, convened the historical Lancaster House constitutional conference in London that was the first constitutional meeting to map out the future of Kenya.

The struggle for independence culminated in the Mau Mau uprising and labour movement protests. This led to the declaration of emergency in 1952 and the arrest of several leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta, who was later to become Kenya's first President.

Jomo Kenyatta was released from detention in 1961 and he joined the Kenya African National Union (KANU) in August, that year.

In February 1962, 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.

A general election was held between May 18 and May 25, 1963. KANU led by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta won against Ronald Ngala's KADU and the African People's Party led by Paul Ngei. On June 1, 1963 internal self-government was granted and the day came to be known as Madaraka day.

On December 12, 1963, Kenya attained independence (Uhuru) with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta as the first Prime Minister. The day was named Uhuru Day.

On December 12, 1964, Kenya became a Republic with Mzee Kenyatta as the first President, heading a cabinet of 18 Ministers. Uhuru day was renamed Jamhuri (Republic) Day.

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.

At the end of 1966, the Upper House, or the Senate, and the Lower House or the House of Representatives, were amalgamated to form the National Assembly.

Murumbi resigned as Vice-President and Daniel arap Moi was appointed to the post on January 3, 1967.

The third general elections were held on November 11, 1974 upon the dissolution of the second parliament on September 8, 1974.

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.

Kenyatta died on 22nd August 1978 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.

Kenya became a one party state by law in June 1982 during the fourth parliament, which was dissolved, on July 22, 1983. KANU then became the only legal political party.

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.

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.

The elections for the Eighth Parliament were held on December 29, 1997 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.

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.

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

President Moi retired on 30th December 2002 after having been in office for 24 years.

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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