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'Yours in Struggle for Majimbo'. Nationalism and the Party Politics of Decolonization in Kenya, 1955-64 Author(s): David M.

Anderson Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Jul., 2005), pp. 547-564 Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30036342 . Accessed: 30/03/2012 03:41
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CA Thousand @ Publications, Oaks, and London, of Journal Contemporary Copyright 2005 SAGE History New Delhi, 40(3),547-564. ISSN Vol 0022-0094. DOI:10,1177/0022009405054571


'Yours in Struggle for Majimbo'. Nationalism and the Party Politics of Decolonization in Kenya, 1955-64
Over the past 30 years or more, the history of Kenyan politics has been of This has been envelopedin the grandmeta-narrative the rise of nationalism. the historymadeby the victorsin Kenya'sindependence electionsof 1963, the Kenya AfricanNational Union (KANU). This version of Kenya's past has consciously obscuredthe uncomfortable ambiguitiesof the Mau Mau years of (1952-60) and neatly avoided any acknowledgment those who then held alternativevisions of Kenya's post-colonial political future.' Among those alternativeswas the policy of majimboism,the centre-pieceof the political agendaof KANU'srivalparty,the KenyaAfricanDemocraticUnion (KADU).
The term majimboism means 'regionalism', and it was initially promoted by

KADU in the pre-independence negotiationsbetween 1960 and 1963 as the basis for a devolved constitutionalarrangement that would protect smaller fromthe dominanceof largercommunities. This was a 'minority'communities even federation,in which six or moreprovinces proposalfor decentralization, comprising independentKenya would each have equal status. But in the heated politicsof the early 1960s the rhetoricof KANU turnedthe federalist goal of majimboisminto a slur: majimboistswere deridedas tribalistswho opposed the broadergoals of nationalism.KANU'svictory in the 1963 elections was thus a victory for nation over region, and for nation over tribe. As Kenya became a de facto one-partystate with the opposition KADU MPs the rapidlycrossingthe floor in the months following independence, impetus for majimboism to Jomo Kenyatta'scall for unity through quicklygave way harambee(all working together). Everyonewas by then a nationalist, and troubledhistorywas best forgotten. majimboism's There have been three historical interpretationsof these events. Gary Wasserman was the first to dismissmajimboism part of the Britishplot to as subvert the potential radicalismof Kenyannationalism,represented men in such as Jomo Kenyattaand Oginga Odinga, and turn it toward more conservativeand compliant ends. His interpretation influencedsubsequent has of historiansof Britishimperialism. politicalscientistDonald The generations
1 For recent commentaries on the need to break through the meta-narrative of nationalism, see Marshall Clough, Mau Mau Memoirs. History, Memory and Politics (Boulder, CO and London 1998); John Lonsdale, 'KAU's Cultures. Imaginations of Community and Constructions of Leadership in Kenya after the Second World War', Journal of African Cultural Studies, 13 (2000), 107-24.


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as Rothchildthen offereda more subtle analysisof majimboism a key feature in the racial bargainingthat markedKenya'spolitics in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as liberalssoughtto reconstruct politicalplatformsin the wake of the Mau Mau struggle. Rothchild's account gave prominence to those Europeanswho 'broke ranks' to secure multi-racialalliances. A third, and in currentlydominantview is best represented the writingsof Kenya'ssenior Bethwell Alan Ogot. In common with other historians of living historian, Kenya'snationalistschool, Ogot dismissesmajimboismas a brief and trivial distractionthat did nothing to disruptthe unity of the nationalistcause. For betweenKANUand KADUwereminimaland so quickly Ogot, the differences once the influenceof the colonialistshad beenremoved,hencethe disappeared rapiditywith which Kenyabecamea one-partystate in 1964, only 11 months after independence.While Ogot's analysis has the advantageof recognizing Africanagency,none of the three approachesto the politics of Kenya'sindependence strugglehave seriouslyexaminedthe motives and organizationof KADUin its promotionof majimboism.2 to Yet there are powerfulreasonsfor returning this forgottenhistory.Since has the early 1990s, majimboism been revivedin Kenyaby many of the same politicianswho begantheircareerswithin the KADUfold some 40 years ago. Ethnicviolencein the electioncampaignsof 1992 and 1997 was stimulatedby cries for majimboism,and in the currentdiscussionsof constitutionalreform in Kenyaa majimboistsolution, devolvingpowers to the regions, remainsan The option that commandssupportin manypartsof the country.3 majimboist alternativevision of Kenya'sfuturemay have dimmedafter 1964, but it is a politicalidea that refusesto die. is The history of majimboism rooted in the politics of Kenya'sdecolonization. The circumstancesthat speedily brought Kenyattaand KANU to an inclusivenationalpoliticsin 1961, and KADU'santi-MauMau loyaliststo an exclusive, ethnicallybased regionalism,had at their core a deep irony that is of not reflected in the meta-narrative nationalist history. Kenya's postwar national partieswere coalitions of varied and diverselocal politics, complex organizations within which negotiation and compromise were constant
2 Gary Wasserman, Politics of Decolonization. Kenya, Europeans and the Land Issue 1960-1965 (Cambridge 1976), and Robert Holland, European Decolonization 1918-1981. An Introductory Survey (Basingstoke 1985); Donald Rothchild, Racial Bargaining in Independent Kenya (London 1973) and Keith Kyle, The Politics of the Independence of Kenya (Basingstoke 1999); B.A. Ogot, 'The Decisive Years' in B.A. Ogot and W.R. Ochieng' (eds), Decolonization and Independence in Kenya, 1940-1993 (London, Nairobi and Athens, OH 1995), and for more radical nationalist views, see Peter Anyang Nyong'o, 'State and Society in Kenya. Disintegration of Nationalist Coalitions and the Rise of Presidential Authoritarianism 1963-78', African Affairs, 88 (1989), 229-52. 3 M. Ngunyi, 'Resuscitating the Majimbo Project. The Politics of Deconstructing the Unitary State in Africa' in A. Olukoshi and L. Laasko (eds), Challenges to the Nation-State in Africa (Uppsala 1996); Herve Maupeu, 'Etat Kenyan et conflits ethniques dans la Rift Valley (1991-93)', Studia Africana, no. 5 (1994), 37-46; Marcel Rutten, Alamin Mazrui and Francois Grignon (eds), Out for the Count. The 1997 General Elections and Prospects for Democracy in Kenya (Kampala 2001); John O. Oucho, Undercurrents of Ethnic Conflict in Kenya (Leiden 2002).

Anderson: Nationalism Kenyan Politics Decolonization and of Party


features of policy-makingand decision-taking.KANU was stigmatizedby many as the partyof Mau Mau. This was true in part;many formerdetainees took prominent positionswithinthe party.ButKANUwas, of course,also the of those amongthe Gikuyuand Luo who had vehementlyopposedMau party Mau. Despite the perceivedethnic exclusivityof the Mau Mau movement, that rejectedall forms of KANU adoptedan inclusive,nationalistprogramme most especiallymajimboism. ethnic particularism, KADU, on the other hand, within the Britishestablishment repreas so often presentedby its supporters a combinationof the 'loyal tribes' who had staunchlyopposed the senting multi-racialists would see to it that who threatof Mau Mau, and the European were retained after independence,instead appropriatepro-Britishpolicies retreatedinto majimboism's divisiveethnic politics amid threatsof secession and violence. We need to begin by reflectingupon the developmentsthat shapedthese politicalpostures. of The idea of majimboism conceivedin the re-emergence Africanpolitics was in the latter years of the Mau Mau Emergency,between 1955 and 1960. Africanpoliticalpartieshad been bannedunderthe Emergency regulationsin but the introductionof the LytteltonConstitutionin 1954 opened June 1953, in the door to Africanand Asianparticipation centralgovernment throughan electoral system.This reformwas to be closely controlled.FromJune 1955, political partieswere again permitted,but only at districtlevel and with the National discretionof colonial officerswho approvedpartiesfor registration. of partieswerenot permittedin this colonial 'micro-management' re-emergent political activism.A plethoraof local partiessoon sprangup underthe superwere the Nairobi District vision of the state. Among the first to be registered African Congress(later to split in 1957 with the formationof the Nairobi People's ConventionParty), the Mombasa African DemocraticUnion, the AbagusiiAssociationof SouthNyanza, the Taita AfricanDemocraticUnion, the NakuruAfricanProgressive Partyand the AbaluhyaPeople'sAssociation. Otherssoon followed, many of them cultivatedby the districtadministration. The aim of thesecolonialreforms,Ogot has astutelyobserved,'was to createa base upon which a collaborativeAfrican leadershipcould emerge and to undermine supportof Mau Mau freedomfighters'.4 the Though Africanpoliticianswere by no means always compliantwith these aims, colonial policies did have the effect of nurturinglocal politics while hinderingthe expressionof nationalaspirations.Moreover,the Britishsought to rewardtheir allies while punishingtheir enemies.In the CentralProvince, of the heartland Mau Mau support,the registration partieswas not permitof
ted (so as to minimize Gikuyu influence). But in the Maasai and Kalenjin rural areas of the Rift Valley and Southern Provinces, where formal politics had been slow to emerge after the second world war, officials gave encouragement to the few politicians who were already active to now consolidate their support
4 Ogot, 'The Decisive Years', op. cit., 48.


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Amongthese were Taita arapTowett, J.M. throughlocal partyorganizations. ole Tameno, Daniel T. arap Moi, J.K. ole Tipis and F.K. arap Chumahtypical of a youngergeneration(all were around30 yearsof age) of missionto educated,local councillorsand school teachersthen beingnurtured replace the older, uneducated traditionalist chiefs who had previouslybeen the mainAll and stay of colonial government. five of these Kalenjin Maasaileaderswere conservativegradualistsin political terms, and all were identifiedwith the colonial government's campaignagainstMau Mau. Thesemen each stood for Councilin 1957. Only Moi was successful,beating election to the Legislative Towett and ole Tipis to representthe Rift Valley. But the elections of 1957 were veryfar fromnationalistpolitics,or evenfrompartypolitics.Moi, Towett and ole Tipis had gone on the campaigntrail together,sharingthe hustings and politelytakingturnsto speak.Theirelectoratewas selectedby a qualified franchise,definedon the basis of income, educationand governmentservice. This gave some electorstwo votes, others three. In the Rift Valley, from an estimatedpopulationof 900,000 therewere fewerthan5000 registered voters. This narrow class-based and regional focus of politics was reinforced by colonial regulationsthat preventedthose elected to the LegislativeCouncil from consolidatingtheirpositionwithin broaderpartyaffiliations.Evenwhen the LennoxBoyd Constitutionof 1957 increasedthe numberof AfricanrepreCouncilfrom 8 to 14, Towett and ole Tipis being sentativeson the Legislative allowedfor national successfulin the next ballot,therewas still no opportunity Local networks of patronageand clientage therefore political organization.s continuedto mobilizeAfricanpolitics for Moi and otherslike him, including futurefellow stalwartsof KADUMasindeMuliroandRonaldNgala (electedin The colonial administration 1957 for North Nyanza and Coast respectively). encouragedthese men in building local power bases, thus developing and strengtheningthe politics of the non-Gikuyuareas. During 1958, Moi first establishedthe BaringoDistrictIndependence Partyin his homeland,and then to foster similar organizationsin the Kalenjindistricts of Kipsigis, helped touredthe KalenjinNandi and Elgeyo.Overthe next two years,he relentlessly areas of the WesternHighlandsin his Land Rover, drummingup speaking support at well-attendedpolitical rallies and speakingto the variousAfrican Whenin DistrictCouncils,all of this facilitatedby the colonialadministration.6 Nairobi on LegislativeCouncil business,Moi variouslysharedhis Pumwani the lodgingswith ole TipisandJ.K. Seroney,who represented Nandi area,and becamea close friendof RonaldNgala, the coastalpoliticianwho would go on to lead KADU. These ruralmen, raw, inexperienced politiciansand staunch Christiansfor the most part, had few links and little in common with the Councilalongsidethem, Gikuyuand Luo politicianswho sat on the Legislative
men such as the rural businessman Oginga Odinga, the smart young trade unionist Tom Mboya and the returned American graduate Julius Kiano, whose
5 Ibid., 54-6, 60-1. For an excellent contemporary overview, see A.J. Hughes, East Africa. The Search for Unity (Harmondsworth 1963), 93-145. 6 Andrew Morton, Moi - the Making of an African Statesman (London 1998), 87-8.

Anderson: Nationalism Kenyan Politics Decolonization and of Party


political heritage was mainly urban, who were enveloped in ideological debates,and many of whom had past connectionswith the nationalistKenya AfricanUnion (KAU),bannedin 1953. The commitmentof Moi and his conwill live 'Tribalism federatesto regionalpolitics lackednationalistaspiration: for at least anotherfiftyyears',DanielarapMoi told the BBCwhen interviewed in August1958.7The seedsof majimboism beensown. Theywould now be had wateredby the stormof rapidpoliticalchange. By the summerof 1959, the African elected membersin the Legislative Council had effectivelymanoeuvredaround the ban on national parties by separatinginto voting blocks. These groupingswould eventuallyresultin the formation of the two national parties that would contest the independence elections. In July 1959, the KenyaNational Party(KNP)was formedby 8 of the 14 Africanmembers (Moi, Towett, ole Tipis, Ngala, Muliro, Khamisi, Nyaga and Muimi).8In response, Oginga Odinga, Tom Mboya and Julius Kiano announcedthat the remainingrump of Africanmemberswould form the KenyaIndependence Movement(KIM).ThoughOgot describes as 'the this first split in the ranks of Africannationalism',it more obviouslyreflecteda very significantdivide in political ideology and practice:betweenthose who had embracedthe notion of regional politics, advocated gradual political reformand adopteda broadlyconservative politicalideology (the KNP), and those who had all along arguedfor a nationalperspective,campaigned more for aggressively rapidpoliticalchangeand supporteda more radicaland progressivepolicyagenda(the KIM).9 The eventsat the firstLancaster House talks,calledin January following the to open discussion on Kenya's path to independence,only served to year emphasize the growing differences between the two groups. Following now the declaredgoal of Britishpolicy, LancasterHouse, with independence the protagonists rushedto securetheirpoliticalconstituencies. April 1960, By Muliro stood at the head of the Kenya African People's Party, and Moi the spearheaded Rift Valley politiciansin drawingthe four districtpartiesof the Western Highlands into a new larger grouping, the KalenjinPolitical Association.10 While Muliro and Moi followed their own rural political instincts to consolidate local power bases, the membersof the KIM looked toward the national stage. In May 1960, the KIM transformeditself into KANU, withJamesGichurutakingon the role of actingPresident(in preparation for Kenyatta's eventualreleasefrom detention,the achievement which of KANU placedat the head of its politicalmanifesto).In reactionto the forma7 Kyle, The Politics of the Independence of Kenya, op. cit., 77. 8 Simiyu Wandibba, Masinde Muliro. A Biography (Nairobi 1966), 14. 9 Ogot, 'The Decisive Years', op. cit., 61, for the quotation; Wandibba, Masinde Muliro, op. cit., 15-17, for context. 10 East African Standard, 22 April 1960, for an account of the meeting. Kalenjin political identity had first begun to take shape in the 1940s, in the form of the Kalenjin Union, established as an organization for ex-servicemen, and then through the activities of Kalenjin students at the Alliance High School and at Makerere College. See Benjamin E. Kipkorir, The Marakwet of Kenya (Nairobi 1982).


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tion of KANU, in June 1960 Muliro and Moi held a mass rally of 8000 followers at Kericho,where they were joined by RonaldNgala representing the Coastal AfricanPeople'sUnion and by delegatesfrom the Maasai United Frontand the SomaliNational Association.At the end of a long day of negotiations the mergerto form KADU was announced.Smallerdistrict parties, among them the North Nyanza District Congress and the Kilifi African People's Union, now also affiliated with KADU." Each faction within the the coalition represented local interestsof its own region, and each wanted constitution.Majimboprotectionfor those interestsunderthe independence ism was thus the commonthreadlinkingthe Rift Valleyand Coastto the cause of the SomaliNational Associationand also to manyother, smallercauses.In the wake of the Kericho rally the proclamationsof majimboism became increasingly belligerent,as KADU's 'Youth Wingers' declared themselves readyto protectthe interestsof theirpeoplesby forceof arms.Fromthe beginambitionswere defensivein character born out and ning, KADU'smajimboist - and for Moi and the belligerentKalenjinthis meant fear of the of fear Gikuyucolonizationof the Rift Valley.12 The fears that fed the majimboistcause were the productof colonial rule. The mobilization of the smaller ethnic groups within KADU establisheda bulwark against the dominanceof the larger,wealthierand better-educated Luo and Gikuyu,groupsthat had taken earlierand lastingadvantageof the of was opportunities colonialism.KADU'spromotionof majimboism a logical and potentially effective means to disarm the overwhelmingpolitical and economic power representedby this Luo-Gikuyu axis within KANU. The campaignagainstMau demonizingof the Gikuyuin the colonial propaganda Mau between 1952 and 1960 had done much to foster distrustof all Gikuyu politicians,but a deeperhistoryof Gikuyucolonizationof Kenya'sRift Valley and WesternHighlandsover more than 50 yearsof colonialrule gave the fear of Gikuyu domination a sharperedge. Similarly,the dominant position of the Luo in the labourmarket,particularly skilled work of all kinds, was for the 1950s as a barrierto the advancement others, of popularlyperceivedby the Abaluhya,Kalenjinand coastal peopleswho were by then seekespecially ing to move into the labour marketin increasingnumbers.These economic rivalrieswere the very stuff of Kenya'slocal politics by the 1950s and they played a significantrole in shaping the KANU and KADU alliances. After 1960, the fear of economicdominationand politicalexclusiongreatlystimulated the majimbocause. The new nationalpartiesfirstlockedhornsin the generalelectionof February 1961. Despiteits poor organization the divisionsandrivalries led some and that membersto stand as 'independents' official party candidates,KANU against won a large enough victory in 1961 to form an interimgovernment,but the
Ogot, 'The Decisive Years', op. cit., 65; Wandibba, Masinde Muliro, op. cit., 16. Claire Medard, 'Strategies territoriales. Territoire ethnique et territoire etatique au Kenya' (Colloque Politiques des territoires, Bordeaux, October 1994), 13-15; Cherry Gertzel, The Politics of Independent Kenya 1963-68 (Nairobi 1967), 9-10; Morton, Moi, op. cit., 93-4. 11 12

Anderson: Nationalism Kenyan Politics Decolonization and of Party


releasea constickingpoint was Kenyatta.KANUdecidedto makeKenyatta's ditionof takingoffice,andit urgedKADUto show solidarity with it in thisgoal. Whilst KADU'sAfricanleadershiphad publicly supportedthe campaignfor release,it took the view thatthis could be morereadilynegotiated Kenyatta's by an interim African government.KADU therefore entered discussions with GovernorRenisonearlyin March1961, to the outrageof KANU.Afterseveral Renisonwas ableto announceon 18 April1961 thatKADU weeksof brokering, would form a minority coalition governmentin alliance with the liberal EuropeanNew KenyaGroup(NKG)and the KenyaAsianParty,thus, at least briefly,pushingout KANU- andKenyatta to the politicalmargins. at this point played an importantrole in consolidating Europeanpolitics the ideology of majimboismwithin KADU. In the months before the first Lancaster House conferenceof 1960, the politicalunity of Kenya'sEuropean community had been irrevocablysplit. The United Party, which in 1960 becamethe KenyaCoalition,had long enjoyedthe supportof the vast majority the of the European population.Led by PuckBriggsand Cavendish-Bentinck, Kenya Coalition representedtraditionalsettler conservatism.Supportedby newcomersto smallerEuropean landownersand by the multitudeof European the colony in the postwaryears,most of whom filled lower-orderjobs in the urbanareas,the partycampaigned againstmulti-racialism, seekingto preserve the colour bar and to maintainseparatevoting rolls and reservedrepresentation for the Europeanminority. The rival Europeanparty, the New Kenya Group (NKG), was formed by Michael Blundell as a liberal, multi-racial alternativeto the older style of Europeanpolitics. Blundell'sappeal was to wealthierfarmersand the professionalcommunity,groupsthat were likelyto be more securein the transitionfrom settlercolonialismto majorityrule and who thereforehad reason to negotiate a compromisewith the conservative African middle class who they hoped would shape Kenya'sfuture. Though have lampoonedthe KenyaCoalitionas the dinosaursof most commentators Blundelland his supporters the 'progresan imperialpast, while portraying as of sive' visionaries a 'New Kenya',it was recognizedat the time that the goals narrowand sectional.Blundellskilfullytied of the NKG remained remarkably intereststo those of 'minority'Africangroups, linking the racial European bargainingfor the protectionof Europeanprivilegewith the issue of regional autonomy.The strategyof Blundelland the NKG, writes Ogot, was 'first,to state as an alternativeto all-Africangovernment,then, create a multi-racial to destroy Kenyattapolitically by forming a governmentwithout him and, confinally, to divideAfricanpoliticiansand force a majimbo(decentralized) stitution with minority safeguards'."This interpretationfairly reflects the realityof eventsas they unfolded.The strategywould fail overall,but its goals drew the NKG very firmlyinto the embraceof KADU. Majimboismfeaturedprominentlyin the campaignrhetoric of the 1961
13 Wasserman, Politics of Decolonization, op. cit., 75-104; Hughes, East Africa, op. cit., 131-4; and Rothchild, Racial Bargaining, op. cit., for the analysis; Ogot, 'The Decisive Years', op. cit., 63, for the quotation.


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election, althoughKADU at that time had no clear notion of how this goal might be achievedin constitutionalterms.What becamethe 'majimboconstitution' was initially drafted by the New Kenya Group, during the latter months of 1960, as they frameda pro-federalist manifestofor the protection of Europeaninterests. By November 1960, Blundell already felt confident enough of gaining significantAfricansupport to declarethat the animosity toward dominanceby Gikuyuand Luo would 'undoubtedly' lead 'to a civil in Kenya if a federal system was not instituted.14 While many smaller war' European settler farmersworried that regionalismmight underminetheir claimsto land rightsthrougha CentralLandBoard- and this more than any other issue turnedthem away from supportingthe NKG - majimboismwas possibly the only issue upon which the Africanmembersof KADU and their Europeanallies could easily agree by the end of 1960. The general election the result of February1961 only servedto strengthen resolve of both KADU and the Europeansthat a majimboconstitutionwas crucialto their political survival.KANU gained 67.4 per cent as opposed to KADU's16.4 per cent of the total vote in these polls, but the distributionof seats won showed very clearly that KADU'sbase of supportlay only in the Rift Valley and Coastal constituencies.It was evidentthat KADUwould be veryunlikelyto overcome such a deficit in any subsequentnational elections, and that without very substantialprotectionEuropeanrepresentation would be obliterated."s The principal authors of the federal constitutionwithin the New Kenya Group found enthusiasticmajimboistsupporterswithin KADU. Alongside Blundell, Havelock, Reginald Alexander and Rhoderick Macleod, Peter of Okondo emergedas the leadingKADU draughtsman the proposedconstitution. A formerassociateof KANU'sOginga Odinga,Okondo had failed to win nominationfor a KANU seat in Nyanza in 1960, and so joined KADU, winninga seat for his new partyas a National Member.In collaborationwith Blundelland Havelock, it was Okondo who helped to draft proposals along KADU'scomlines that marriedAmericanand Swiss notions of federalism.'6 mitmentto majimboismnow had substantivepolicy aims, which were taken up in the political speeches of Ngala, Moi, Shikukuand Muliro. Between constitution'cast an ever-lengthening Augustand October1961, the 'majimbo talks with KADUand KANU, the two shadow over the colonialgovernment's partiesseeminglyfurtherthan everfrom compromise.By the time that KADU delegates arrivedin London for the Second LancasterHouse conferencein February1962, the party was firmly committed to a federal constitution. KADU had by then engaged the Swiss constitutional lawyer Dr Edward Zellweger as an adviser,and in the Britishparliamentthe ConservativeMP FredericBennettwas energetically directinga gingergroup of Tories to promote the KADU proposals to give Kenya's politics a 'tribal foundation'.'7
14 15 16 17 Politicsof Decolonization, cit., 99. Wasserman, op. Election1960-61 (Oxford1961). GeorgeBennettand CarlRosberg,The Kenyatta of Kyle,The Politicsof the Independence Kenya,op. cit., 137-8. Ibid., 137.

Anderson: Politics Decolonization Nationalism Kenyan and of Party


The alliancewith KADU and the vehicle of majimboism allowed the NKG to cloak the protectionof Europeanpolitical interestsbehind the 'legitimate' fears of Africanminorities.Writinghis first volume of memoirs,publishedin 1964 only shortly after Kenya's independence,Michael Blundell presented this commitmentto majimboism purely as a concernof the Africanelements within the KADUalliance:'Regionalism, "Majimbo"as it was called, had or an immediateand attractiveappealto tribesin all the ruraland remoteareas of Kenya',he wrote, 'as it offeredthem a measureof control over the issuesof such as land, education,the police, and which they were most apprehensive, the compositionof the Civil Service.''8 Thirty years later, his posthumously published second volume revealed a more candid picture of the political of manoeuvrings the moment:'I did not personallythink regionalismwas a solutionto Kenya'spoliticalfuture',he wrote, 'but it was obvious permanent if that somethingof the sort was necessary severeinternaltensionswere not to arise.' Blundellrecalledthat he fearedthat an overly centralizedgovernment would 'be a recipefor civil war at some time in the futureand would further Other Europeansthen held accentuatethe already strong tribal feelings'.19 similar views. When Reginald Maudling visited Kenya in November 1961, having taken over as Secretaryof State from Iain Macleod only one month earlier,he was deeply alarmedby the intensityof the ethnic rivalrieshe witnessed among the African politicians. Maudling thought 'tribalism'to be 'moreimmediately explosivethan racialism',and was 'quitecertainthat there is a dangerof serioustribalclashesin this countryunlessa solutionis found'.20 If the 'fearfactor'had drivenMuliro,Moi, Ngala and otherstowardmajimboism in the firstplace, as Rothchildhas argued,21 1961 the agitationwithby in KADUwas causingBritishpoliticiansand officialsto waver.As the Second LancasterHouse talks approached,scheduledfor Februaryto April 1962, as KADUleadersdid theirlevel bestto promotefederalism a conditionof their Various statementsexpressedfears of the fate of lessergroups participation. should federationnot be accepted,and therewere frequentthreatsof resignation. While Somalipoliticianswould eventuallylook toward a politicalfuture beyondKenya,no othergroupeverseriouslycanvassedfor secession,although hotter headswere prone to suggestit as a possibility.In a speechdeliveredin Iten in October 1961, KADU'sWilliamMurgor had raged against the presence of Kikuyusquattersin the Kapsabetforest and threatenedthat KADU could not do 'YouthWingers' would removethem violentlyif the government so throughlegislation.22 a KADUrally in Kimilili,Moi referreddirectlyto At
18 MichaelBlundell, Rougha Wind(London1964), 298-9. So
19 Michael Blundell, A Love Affair with the Sun. A Memoir of Seventy Years in Kenya (Nairobi

1994), 116. 20 The quotationis citedin Morton,Moi, op. cit., 113. 21 Donald Rothchild,'MajimboSchemesin Kenyaand Uganda'in JeffreyButlerand A.A.
Castagno (eds), Boston University Papers on Africa. Transition in African Politics (New York,

DC Washington, andLondon1967), 291-310.

22 Kyle, The Politics of the Independence of Kenya, op. cit., 139, giving a first-hand account.


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to the fears of Gikuyuincursionsand KADU'sdetermination stand firm on 'Her Majesty's governmentmust sanction regionalismbefore majimboism: handingover power to the Africanif there is to be peace in Kenya.'This was areasof the Rift typicalof the rhetoricof the time, especiallyin those Kalenjin Valley where fears of a 'Gikuyuland-grab'were strongest.The rifts between KANU and KADUwere by now 'deep and deeply felt', and in the Lancaster House talks Moi would repeat the threat that 'the people of Kalenjinwere The KADU delegation to the prepared to fight and die for their land'.23 1962 was on the defensivefrom the outset, House talks of February Lancaster steadfastly refusing to discuss other matters until principlesregardingthe had been hammeredout. Regionalismhad become 'structureof government' the first, and perhapsthe only principleof KADU'spoliticalmanifesto. The substance of KADU's plans for a 'majimbo constitution' gradually House talks rolledon. Theywishedto createsix becameclearas the Lancaster regions,alongsidethe federalcapitalterritoryof Nairobi. A bicamerallegislathe ture would comprisean upperhouse representing regions,to which each from their own RegionalAssembly, would elect seven representatives region The and a lower house electedby universaladultsuffragein 71 constituencies. two tiers would have equal powers of legislation,but the upperhouse would to approvekey appointments the courts and armedforces.A FederalCouncil of Ministerswould comprise10 to 15 members,at least one but no more than three drawn from each region. The Councilwould elect its own chairmanas Head of State,a post that would rotateon an annualbasis.Eachregionwould have its own Assemblywith legislativepowers and an executiveheaded by a who would be electedfrom amongmembersof the Assembly.Each President, would have its own civil service and its own police - who would region implementfederal laws as well as regional legislation.To describethis as a the would be to understate obvious.Moreover,it was a cumbersome structure that Kenyacould ill afford.Maudlingsupportedthe politicalgoal of structure KADU'saspirationsas a bulwarkagainstKenyatta(still regardedas a terrorist) and Odinga (distrustedfor his communist leanings), but he had been warnedby the Colonial Office that Kenyasimplycould not afford an expensive federalsystemof government.24 The compromiseproposalsput forwardby Maudlingfudgedthe issue and left key questions unanswered.KADU was given a commitmentto regional assemblies,but the precisecharacterof those bodies, their composition and their exact relationshipto central governmentremainedto be worked out. KANU, on the other hand, signed up to the assurancesthat the authorityof would not be undermined, with regardto the centralgovernment particularly of the disbursement budgets to the regions. On key areas, such as the civil
service, regional boundaries and constituency delimitation, all of which would ultimately be crucial to the powers and operation of the regional assemblies,
23 Morton,Moi, op. cit., 110, 100 and 112.
24 Kyle, The Politics of the Independence of Kenya, op. cit., 144-7.

Politics Decolonization Anderson: Nationalism Kenyan and of Party


the Maudlingpledgedto set up commissionsof enquiryto determine best way was loaded with contradictionsand unreforward. This interim settlement saw the dangersof this, particsolved issues.KADU'sdelegationundoubtedly ularly in the light of the party'sweak political position within Kenya.Ngala made every effort to push Maudling toward firmerpublic commitmenton but majimboism, failedto persuadethe Ministerthat this would do enoughto KADU's position without compromisingBritish relations with strengthen KANU. For its part, KANU's more measuredresponseto the proposalswas calculatedon a longer-termstrategy.In London,they adopted a conciliatory to tone to cloak theirdisdainfor the KADUproposals,and allowedthemselves be persuadedto accept compromises.In Kenyatta'sjudgment,majimboism was practically unworkableand could anywaybe outflankedonce powerwas achieved. He never doubted that KANU would defeat KADU at the ballot box, and at that point KANU must be ready to make the constitutional This, in the event, was changes necessaryto do away with majimboism.25 what happened. exactly Though neitherKADU nor KANU had got what they wanted in London, both agreedto participatein an interimgovernmentthat would take Kenya However, once back in through to the final elections prior to independence. Nairobi, KANU immediatelymounted a political offensive in which it dismissed majimboismas anti-nationalistand KADU as 'tribalists'.Although KANU had agreed to regional assembliesat the LancasterHouse talks, its seniorpoliticians,includingTom Mboya, now made it clearthat they had no intention of honouringthat agreementin practice.In the face of this wellorganized and efficient KANU campaign,KADU lost ground very rapidly. When Reginald Maudling again visited Nairobi in July 1962, he found mood. Ngala openly accusedKANU KADU'sleadersin angryand belligerent of playinga double game, and told Maudlingof his belief that the expatriate civil service was working in KANU's favour and against KADU's regional ambitions.'I musttell you bluntly',he warnedMaudling,'thatif the degreeof regionalismagreedin London is whittled down our people will not be prepared to continuein a Kenyasuch as KANU envisages.'Maudlingcould only reassurehim that the boundariescommissionhad not yet sat, and that this might be the focal point for the revivalof KADU'smajimboist campaign.26 the Commission was Chairedby SirStaffordFoster-Sutton, KenyaBoundaries one of five commissions appointed by Reginald Maudling at the Second LancasterHouse talks. The commission toured the country in August and September 1962, hearing evidence from 210 deputations. It found that
opinions were strongly held Kenyans had very clear views on whom they
25 Odinga, Not Yet Uhuru, op. cit., 229, confirms that this was the decision taken. 26 Kyle, The Politics of the Independence of Kenya, op. cit., 162, quoting Public Record Office (PRO) CO 822/2835, Ronald Ngala's address to the Secretary of State on his visit to Kenya, 7 July 1962.


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The fiercest wished to sharetheirregionwith, and with whom they did not.27 as now, about rights to land and political legitimacyarose in debates then, and 'border'areaswhere diversepopulationswere intermingled, especiallyin areaswhere colonial policieshad broughtinfluxesof new settlement.History was invoked as the determinantof these rights, with one community after and anotherlayingdown theirclaimsin termsof historicalprecedent acknowledged status. Colonial documents were displayed as 'proof' of dominance of throughtheir confirmation status and rights;the lineagesof chiefs were set writtenby out as evidenceof the sourceof politicalpower, and ethnographies held up as definitivesourceson ethnicityand culturalaffinity.The Europeans French geographerClaire Medard has argued that this melange of ethnic is claims and counter-claims best understoodas 'the politics of territoriality'. By this she means that it was about more than merelyrights to land: it was also about the legitimacyof political authorities.The claims made were thus very firmlyrooted in the politics of colonial rule. In this way, arguesMedard, Kenya'spost-colonyembracedthe political blueprintof colonial territoriality in termsof both spaceand power.28 KADU and KANU each mobilizedtheir supporters petitionthe commisto sion. KANU's demandscentredupon the retentionof the existing provincial which would ease the transitionto a post-colonialadministration. boundaries, of The maintenance the status quo was presentedas havinghistoricalvalidity - these were 'establishedboundaries',within which communitieshad lived contentedly for many years. But given the regular fiddling with colonial boundariesover that period, KADU did not find it difficultto administrative challengethis claim. KADU supporterscoming before the commissiontook every opportunity to illustrate the many changes that had been made to colonial provincialboundariesin past years. Among the most emphatic of witnesses was Senior Chief Chemweno Cheboi, from the Kalenjin-speaking Marakwetdistrict,who made his point by producingan old photographof of those in attendanceat a meetingin Nakuruof the representatives the Local of Native Councilsunderthe Rift Valley Provincialadministration the 1930s. the Cheboi 'remembered days when ... West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, ElgeyoUasin Gishu, Baringo,Nandi, Samburu,Laikipiaand Naivasha Markawet, were all representedat such meetings'.2" KADU'ssupporterswere also well the ChiefsPkemeiLobit schooled in emphasizing rightsof local communities. andJamesPowon of Pokot, for example,were typicalof those who demanded so 'a regionalform of government', that 'differentpeoplescan live their lives
27 The papers of the Kenya Regional Boundary Commission (Foster-Sutton) can be found in PRO CO 897/1-9. 28 Claire Medard, 'Les conflits "ethniques" au Kenya. Une question de votes ou de terres?', Afrique contemporaine, no. 180 (1996), 62-74; Claire Medard, 'Dispositifs electoraux et nationalismes ethniques. Reflexions sur quelques strategies territoriales du r6gime kenyan', Politique africaine, no. 70 (1998), 32-40. 29 PRO CO 897/7, Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission 1962, record of oral presentations, part 1, 'Meeting with a delegation from Elgeyo-Marakwet African District Council, at Eldoret, 3 September 1962', 196-7.

Anderson: Nationalism Kenyan Politics Decolonization and of Party


But from centralgovernment'.3" in those areas of without undueinterference had settled and were making claims to land, the Rift Valley where Gikuyu matterscould not be so easily determined only in local terms.The Marmanet was typicalof a Kalenjinarea forest, on the edge of the Laikipiaescarpment, had where Gikuyusquatters come into the forestsand filledthe labourlines of the surroundingfarms. Here, the claims of the local Kalenjin,in this case Tugen, were supportedby the administration,'who sought to build up a Kalenjinclaim out of gratitudefor the help which they renderedduringthe Emergency',but were challengedby local Europeanfarmerswho supported to As the claimsof theirGikuyufarmlabourers be given smallholdings. the 01 Arabel Farmers'Association told the BoundariesCommission,'the Gikuyu most certainlyhave the strongest claim'.31 Others thought differently.The delegationfrom the KADU branchat Thomson'sFalls demandedthat all the lands of Laikipia,Nanyuki and Samburu,including the Marmanetforest, 'should be returned'to the Maasai and their allies. 'We were forced by the 'but the time is Europeansto leave these lands', they told the commissioners, now ripe for us to have our own land back.' They made threatsagainstthe Gikuyuin these districts,whose claims to land they dismissed.If the British wanted the Maasaito fight afterindependence, they concluded,'thenlet them overlook our demands'.These KADU memberssigned themselves'yours in strugglefor majimbo'.32 When the KANU delegation came to the parliamentbuildings to meet Foster-Sutton's commissionon 14 August 1962, it presenteda case for retainthe colonialstatusquo of provincesand nationaladministrative structures. ing led the delegation. 'These provinces have been working Jomo Kenyatta harmoniouslyfor nearly 70 years now', he told the commissioners.'The people in theseprovinceshave learnedto work together;they have something in common.'"3 Consciousof the need to undermineany appearance unity of among those peopleswho ostensiblysupportedKADU, Maasai and Kalenjin politicianswere membersof the KANU delegation.John Keen, representing 'The Kalenjin Maasai, spoke of the dangersof KADUregionaldictatorships: numberabout 750,000 while the Masai (sic) are about 70,000, and since the Kalenjinare our traditionalenemies, we could not live harmoniouslywith them.' Christopher warnedthe commissioners to believeKADU not Kiprotich claims that KANU had no supportamong the Kalenjin,assertingthat many The Nandi, like himself,did not want KADUregionalpolitics.34 most telling
30 PRO CO 897/1, Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission 1962, Memoranda - Rift Valley Province, 'Memoranda from the Chiefs of the Pokot', August 1962. 31 PRO CO 897/1, Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission 1962, Memoranda - Rift Valley Province, 'Memorandum from the 01 Arabel Farmers' Association', August 1962. 32 PRO CO 897/1, Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission 1962, Memoranda - Rift Valley Province, 'Memoranda from the KADU Branch Officers, Thomson Falls', 29 August 1962. 33 PRO CO 897/7, Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission 1962, record of oral representations, part I, The Honourable Mr J. Kenyatta, MLC, 56. 34 PRO CO 897/7, Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission 1962, record of oral representations, part I, the Hon. Mr J Keen, MLC, and Mr Christopher Kiprotich, 59-60. Keen's comments


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commentscame from Mwai Kibaki,who would becomeKenya'sPresidentat the head of the partythat finally ousted KANU from power in 2002, but in and rising political August 1962 was KANU's articulateExecutiveSecretary star. Kibakifirst spoke of the need for unity and culturalintegration,'otherwise we shall neverat any time have one nationin this country'.The burdenof his argument,however, was economic. The existing provinces and districts which it would be expensiveto replicatefor alreadyhad a costly infrastructure new arrangements, when thereare no benefitsother than the any 'particularly theorieswhich have beenput forward'.Moreover,he pointedout the impossibility of ensuringthat the provinceswould be of equivalentsize, or of equivalent resources.Kibakithoughtthat the seedsof futuretroublesmightlie in any accentuationof thesedifferences 'We ask you throughpoliticalempowerment. to let us remainwith the presentboundaries', thereforeconcluded,'and let he us try to work them as the new regions.We are confidentthat in that way we shall consolidatewhat advancethere has been toward social integration,and we shall have a basis for furtherintegration, which is what you, we ourselves, and everybodyelse wants.'35 was ButFoster-Sutton not persuaded KANU'spleaforpoliticalcontinuity, by and instead his Commissionopted to make several adjustmentsto Kenya's The commissioners beensurprised the 'full extent of group had boundaries. by and hostilities',but there is surely some truth in Rothchild'ssugsuspicions gestion that the verycreationof the commissionhad servedto give vent to the and 'openexpressionof fearsandanimosities' had raised'tribaltensionsto new As heights'.36 Kibakihad warned,theirdecisionsultimatelyproveddifficultto reconcilewith the full rangeof claimsthat had beenset down. Boundaryalterationscould not possiblysatisfyeveryone.In the wake of the publicationof the was report,therewas a flurryof further disputes.Byfarthe mostsignificant over the status of Kitale.Abaluhyaleaders,includingKADU'sMuliro, had wanted Kitaleto be the capitalof WesternRegion,butthe commissioners placedit within an enlargedRift Valley. The quarrelfomenteda briefcrisis within KADU, revealing the vulnerabilityof its ethnic-based coalition as Kalenjin and Abaluhyamembers opposedone another,but this was quelledby Moi's speedy decisionthat the partyshouldsupportthe Abaluhyaclaims.It was agreedwithin KADUthat the Rift Valley RegionalAssemblywould use its constitutional KADUhad powers to transferKitaleto WesternRegion afterindependence.37 thus narrowlyaverteda potentiallydestructive crisis,but it was KANU which would havethe finalword on the fate of Kitaleand of majimboism.
deliberately took up earlier assertions by Ronald Ngala that 'the adoption of an orthodox Westminster pattern for Kenya would inevitably result in placing absolute power in the hands of a dictator'. The statement was made in February 1962, and is quoted by Rothchild, 'Majimbo Schemes', op. cit., 294. 35 PRO CO 897/7, Kenya Regional Boundaries Commission 1962, record of oral representations, part I, Mr Mwai Kibaki, 64. 36 Rothchild, 'Majimbo Schemes', op. cit., 301. 37 Ibid., 302-3.

Anderson: and of Party Nationalism Kenyan Politics Decolonization


The electionsthat broughtKenyato independence took place in May 1963. It was an unusually complexevent,with electorsvotingfor the sevenRegional Assemblies(with211 members,26 of them SpeciallyElected),the Senate(one memberfromeach of the 40 districts,plus one for Nairobi), and the House of (with 117 single-member constituencyMPs, plus 12 Specially Representatives the House).38Better financed than Elected members to be nominated by KADU, thanks to support from outside Kenya, and far better organizedof havinglearnedfromthe experience 1961 - KANUwent to the polls as firm favouritesto win a majorityin each of the ballots. In the campaign,KANU made it all too plain that it had little intentionof operatingthe constitution and that Britishcompromise KADUhad forcedupon it. JosephMurumbibest summedup KANU'scollectivevoice on majimboism, declaringthat his party ruin becausea few people would not 'standby and watch the countrygo to want to carveout little kingdomsfor themselvesunderthe guise of protecting While KADU's leaders blustered and threatened, their tribal interests'."3 campaignwilted throughlack of money, too few campaignworkers,and fatally - not enough candidates.In the election for the House of Representatives,KADUonly managedto field candidatesin 59 constituencies,and was compelledto fight only in seats where the party was most likely to win. These were signs of weakness that betrayedits lack of national coverage. When the resultscame, they were a disasterfor KADU.In the electionsto the KANU took 72 seats (includingone KADUcandiHouse of Representatives, date who immediatelycrossed over), while KADU gained only 32. In the Senate,KANUalso obtaineda majority,taking20 seats out of 41. But it was in the elections to the Regional Assemblies,where KADU had expected to make its best showing, that KANU's success was most apparent:the six regionswere split evenlybetweenthe two parties,with KADUgainingcontrol in Western,Rift Valley and Coast, while KANU won majoritiesin Central, was formedon 1 June The Nyanza and Eastern.40 KANU interimgovernment 1963, with JomoKenyattaat its head. House Conferencein September1963, By the time of the Third Lancaster A KADU was crumbling. trickleof membershad alreadycrossedthe floor to KANU, and Kenyattawas now openly deridingthe majimboconstititionas unworkableand calling on opposition membersto join KANU in a government 'of nationalunity'.In London,KANU now demandedmajorchangesto the 'embarrassingly majimboconstitution,while KADUfought complicated'41 to to for the safeguards be retained.As Britishreluctance block KANUbecame the usually temperateNgala threatenedto proclaim autonomy for clearer,
38 PRO CO 822/3166 for the details. 39 Reportedin the Daily Nation, 6 May 1963, and quotedin ClydeSangerandJohnNottingElectionof 1963',Journalof ModernAfricanStudies,2 (1964), 16. ham, 'TheKenyaGeneral and Electionof 1963', op. cit., for a summary, 40 SangerandNottingham,'TheKenyaGeneral PROCO 822/3166 for the full results. in 41 The phraseis Kyle's,'ThePoliticsof Independence Kenya',Contemporary BritishHistory, 11 (1997).


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the Coast if all the protectionswere not left in place.At the lowest point of the In discussions,a desperateNgala formallyrequestedthe partitionof Kenya.42 the wake of defeat,Ngala, Moi and the KADUleadership belatedlycome had to realize that the Britishwould not be in a position to ensure that constitutional commitments were honoured after independence.43 Kenya's new MalcolmMacDonaldhad all along worriedabout the possibilityof governor the Kalenjinand Maasaireactingviolentlyif the tide of politicsturnedagainst them, but he now decisivelyintervenedto arguethat the Britishshould back KANU and face down the KADUopposition- even if this mightprovokedisMacDonaldshowed the foresightand couragethat Renison had turbances.44 lacked. The Britishgovernmentthereforeagreedto a changethat would permit alterationsto the constitutionon a two-thirdsmajorityin the House of therebysignificantlyreducingthe protectionsthat regionalRepresentatives, ism had offered. Majimboismwould still be implemented,accordingto the reachedin London,but it would be the responsibility Kenyatta's of agreement to see that this was done.45 This gave KANU the anti-majimbogovernment leverageit would need to diminishthe powers of the regions, and it marked the death knell of KADU'smajimboistambitions. At independence, 12 December1963, while Kenyattatook the helm of on central government,Moi assumed leadershipof the Rift Valley House of and Ngala took the same post for the Coast Province.Far Representatives, from consolidatingtheir political power, both men quicklyrealizedthat they Both were hinderedat everyturn by a centralgovernhad been marginalized. ment unwillingto supportany featureof the majimboconstitution.Without and authorizedfunds fromcentralgovernment, without logisticalor technical the regionssimplycould not functionin any meaningfulsense. In the support, most dramaticdemonstrationof the power of centralgovernmentover the regions, Ministerof Home Affairs Oginga Odinga refusedto sign the order transferringKitale from Rift Valley to Western Region 'until the people affected by the transferwere first consulted'.Moi and Muliro found themselves powerlessto enforceKADU'sinternaldecision.46 With the die re-cast, severalof KADU'sleadinglights now took a pragmaticlook at their circumwithdrewfromarbitrating stances.MacDonaldpurposefully disputesbetween the KADU RegionalAssembliesand KANU, enhancingKenyatta'spower in the process and weakeningthe position of KADU nationally.Furtherdefections to KANU soon followed, among them WilliamMurgorand otherswho
42 PRO DO 168/49, Sandysto Griffiths-Jones, October1963. For context, see Kyle, The 13 Politicsof the Independence Kenya,op. cit., 189-93. of 43 Morton,Moi, op. cit., 116. 44 PRO DO 168/45, Malcolm MacDonaldto Sandys, 15 September1963, and PRO DO 18 168/49, MacDonaldto Griffiths-Jones, October1963. 45 For the final constitutionalsettlement,see KenyaIndependence Conference,Cmnd 2156 at (HMSO, October 1963), and especiallyAnnex A, 'Statement the Final PlenarySession',by DuncanSandys. 46 Rothchild,'Majimbo Schemes', cit., 303. op.

Anderson: Nationalism Kenyan Politics Decolonization and of Party


had been staunchadvocatesof majimboism.47 June 1964, Ngala and Moi By had come to the hard decisionthat they could not continue.When they met with otherKADUleadersto discussthe position, it was Towett who proposed that they join with KANU in a governmentof national unity. Seroneyhad already crossed the floor, breaking Kalenjin unity, and Towett now announcedthat he would no longerstand on a KADUticket. Moi was faced with the dilemma of how best to preserve his local support among the Kalenjin.He opted for the pragmaticsolution of taking them into KANU, from where he struggledto broker a more satisfactorysettlementfor his people. But in doing so, accordingto his biographer,Moi never gave up his belief in majimboism.48 November 1964 Ngala had dissolvedthe opposiBy tion. Kenya had, in effect, become a one-partystate. That same month, the majimboistconstitutionwas laid to rest when a bill amendingits provisions receivedthe necessary two-thirdsmajorityin the House of Representatives. it Paradoxically, was the strongestmajimboistof all among the KADUranks Daniel arap Moi who best survivedthe political transitioninto KANU. Moi was a politicalpragmatist who had no pretenceto nationalistambitions.His the Kalenjinwas firm and secure,so he broughtwith him a support among loyal following.Win over Moi, the KANU party fixers quicklyrealized,and you win over the reliablesupportof the Kalenjin.Neither Muliro, struggling to contain dissentamong his Abaluhyaconstituents,nor Ngala, faced with a rivalpoliticalmovementsat the Coast,could commandthe varietyof energetic same level of regionalsupport.Moi was thus the only ex-KADUleaderwho was rewarded with a portfolioin the KenyattaCabinetof 1964. By 1966, after the resignationof Joe Murumbi,the still majimboistMoi was elevatedto the A post of Vice-President.49 decade later, in 1978, Daniel arap Moi took the presidencyupon Kenyatta'sdeath, a compromisechoice who was intended merelyto 'holdthe fort' untilKANUcould resolvethe power strugglebetween its leadinglights. But Moi would nevergive them the opportunityto remove him. Once in power, he deployedhis old skills as the architectof the KADU the allianceto brokera series of bilateralpolitical bargainsthat undermined old corporatiststructuresof KANU and secured his personal authority.In these acts he rapidlymade KANU less nationalistin its politics, and far more like the old KADU- a partyreliantupon an allianceof politicianswho were and firmlyrootedin the local politics of patronageand redistribution, a party that held within it supportersof majimboism.Under Moi, KANU would becomeKADUreborn.50
47 Kyle, The Politics of the Independence of Kenya, op. cit., 192.

48 Morton,Moi, op. cit., 117-18. 49 Ibid., 120. David M. Anderson,'Le Declinet la summarize 50 These comments, and the final paragraph, des chutede la KANU.La recomposition partiespolitiquesdansla successionde Moi', Politique africaine,no. 90 (June2003), 37-55, and 'Kenya'sElections2002 - The Dawningof a New Era?',AfricanAffairs,102 (2003), 331-42.


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The nationalistprojecthas been a casualtyof Kenya'sreturnto multi-party democracysince 1990, in no smallpartdue to the activitiesof the Moi regime. Majimboismhas returnedas a political policy, first promoted from within and KANU by Moi's Kalenjin Maasaisupporters seekingto defendthemselves against the rising tide of opposition, and then by those in other partieswho reformas the only way of challenging destructive the arguedfor constitutional and exclusionarytactics of Kenya'sone-partystate. Moi's KANU authority elections(1992 and 1997) beforebeingdefeatregimesurvivedtwo multi-party 2002. Now in opposition,andwith its core support ed at the polls in December severalof the most influlimitedto two regions,RiftValleyand North-Eastern, MPs havemadecleartheirsupportfor majimboism. entialof KANU'sKalenjin And withinthe rulingpartycoalitionthereare also severalprominent majimbo to reformthat likelyto be sympathetic proposalsfor constitutional supporters, would devolvepowerto the regions.This decentralization politicalpower is of now presentedas a necessary elementin the cultivationof Kenya'smulti-party democracy."5 In the context of Kenya'scurrentpost-nationalistdebate about the decentralization of political power, the old dismissiveviews of majimboismcan thereforeno longer be sustained.To describethe emergenceof majimboist politics in the early 1960s as a distracting politicaltactic for which therewas real support, or as a temporaryexpedient for the convenienceof the little Europeanminority,is to ignoreits enduringplace in Kenya'spolitical debates The since independence. colonialtemplatefromwhichthe modernKenyastate that was madesustaineda formof nationalistgovernment did not allow for the evolutionof decentralized politicalauthority.Kenyastill has no systemof elecof tive local government,and the daily administration the provincesand districts remainsunderthe directcontrol of the Office of the Presidentwithout referenceto parliament.These were featuresof colonial rule that the majimboists of the 1960s unsuccessfully soughtto challengein theirvisionof Kenya's in future.The fear that provokedthe politics of majimboism both the 1960s and the 1990s was too often manifest in a belligerencethat alienated the supportof the majorityof Kenyans,but this should not be allowedto obscure the importanceof the historicalroots of the debateaboutdecentralization and In local politicalrepresentation. the longerrunof Kenya'shistory,majimboism may yet turnout to be a moreenduring politicalprojectthanwas nationalism. DavidM.Anderson in is University Lecturer AfricanStudiesat the University Oxford of and a ResearchFellow of St Antony'sCollege.His most recentbook is Historiesof the Hanged.Britain'sDirty Warin Kenyaand the End of Empire(Londonand New York 2005).
51 For a clear statement on this from a current Cabinet minister, see Kiraitu Murungi, 'Ethnicity and Multi-partyism in Kenya', reprinted in Kivutha Kibwana (ed.), Constitutional Law and Politics in Africa. A Case Study of Kenya (Nairobi 1998), 434-5, and originally published as Kenya Human Rights Commission, Thoughts in Democracy Series, Issue III (Nairobi, 1995).