During the elections held in May 1963 KANU won the majority of the seats. Kenya got its independence on 12th December 1963, with Kenyatta as prime minister. The following year, Kenyatta becomes the first president of Kenya and Kenya joined the Commonwealth.
The minority party, KADU (Kenya African Democratic Union), representing a coalition of small ethnic groups, dissolved itself voluntarily in 1964 and joined KANU.
In 1966, a small but significant leftist opposition party, KPU (Kenya People’s Union), was formed by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, a former Vice President and Luo elder. KPU was banned shortly thereafter and its leader detained in 1969 and Kenya became a “de facto” single party state. At Kenyatta’s death in August 1978, Vice President Daniel Arap Moi became President.
1978 To 2002 – Moi Era
In June 1982, the National Assembly amended the constitution, making Kenya officially a single party state, and parliamentary elections were held in September 1983.
The 1988 elections reinforced the one-party system. However, in December 1991, Parliament repealed the one-party section of the constitution. By early 1992, a number of new parties had formed, and multiparty elections were held in December the same year. The divisions in the opposition lead to Moi’s re-election and his KANU party retained a majority of the legislature.
Parliamentary reforms in November 1997 expanded political rights and the number of political parties increased quickly. Again because of a divided opposition, Moi was re-elected in the December 1997 elections. KANU won 113 out of 222 parliamentary seats, but due to defections, the party had to depend on the support of minor parties to forge a working majority.
In October 2002, a coalition of opposition parties joined forces with a faction that broke away from KANU to form NaRC (National Rainbow Coalition). In December 2002, the NaRC candidate, Mwai Kibaki, was elected President. He garnered 62% of the vote and NaRC won 130 out of 222 parliamentary seats.
Kenya History From 2002 To 2013
Under Kibaki administration, Kenya witnessed a spectacular economic recovery, helped by a favorable international environment. The annual rate of growth improved from -1.6% in 2002 to 5.5% in 2007. However, in 2005, internal conflicts caused the NaRC coalition to break up.
December 2007 elections were marred by claims of rigging by both sides. The two candidates, Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga agreed to broker a peace deal. They formed a grand-coalition government.
Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, won the March 2013 presidential election with just over 50% of the vote. A challenge to the results by his main rival, Raila Odinga, was rejected by the Supreme Court.
Other Pages That May Interest You
Pre-Colonial History of Kenya (Condensed Version)
Pre-Colonial History of Kenya – Part 1
Pre-Colonial History of Kenya – Part 2
Pre-Colonial History of Kenya – Part 3
Pre-Colonial History of Kenya – Part 4
Books about Kenya
Return from Kenya History to the Homepage
Kenya > Kenya History After Independence (1963)