Not yet Uhuru? The political economy of Kenyan nation building in the 1960s

Daniel Branch (Exeter University)
History, politics and urban studies
Khalili Lecture Theatre
Start time:
12 September, 2006 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:


Long abstract:

Forty years ago the Kenya's People Union (KPU) emerged from the rubble of nationalist consensus. The euphoria of independence, attained in 1963, and the temporary convergence of political aspirations had given way to discontent with the trajectory of post-colonial politics. In its challenge to Kenyatta's conservatism, the KPU sought the support of the discontented citizens of the independent state. It found followers amongst debt-ridden farmers forced to bear the cost of resettlement on land formerly owned by settlers; within the villages of the Central Highlands where the wounds of the Mau Mau war of the previous decade were slow to heal; and from the constituency of the party's figurehead, Oginga Odinga, along the shoreline and within the hinterland of Lake Victoria. The KPU and its followers questioned what uhuru, independence, actually meant in a Kenyan context. While not specifically concerned with the KPU itself, this panel is an attempt to consider the importance of the issues the party represented within Kenyan politics in the 1960s before its demise in 1969. The papers do this by exploring rural development in Luoland, the urban politics of Nairobi and the continuing tensions between Mau Mau and loyalists in the Central Highlands. Collectively, the panel seeks to locate the debates of the 1960s in a much longer context, stretching from the colonial period to the present. No space for further proposals.