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Since independence in 1963, Kenya has survived nearly five decades as a functioning nation-state, with regular elections, its borders intact and without experiencing war or military rule. However, Kenya's independence has always been circumscribed by its failure to transcend its colonial past; its governments have failed to achieve adequate living conditions for most of its citizens; and its politics have been fraught with controversy - illustrated most recently by the post-election protests and violence in 2007. The decisions of the early years of independence, and the acts of its leaders in the decades since - from Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya and Oginga Odinga to Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki - have changed the country's path in unpredictable ways. The political elite's endless struggle for access to state resources has damaged Kenya's economy and the political exploitation of ethnicity still threatens the country's stability. In this definitive new history, Charles Hornsby demonstrates how independent Kenya's politics have been dominated by a struggle to deliver security, impartiality, efficiency and growth, but how the legacies of the past have continued to undermine their achievement, making the long-term future of Kenya far from certain.
Charles Hornsby completed his D.Phil. on Kenyan politics at St Antony's College, Oxford, and has since combined a professional career in information technology with a deep engagement with Kenya. He has published several articles on Kenyan politics and co-authored with David Throup the influential Multi-Party Politics in Kenya (1998). He has been a journalist or election observer during most of Kenya's recent elections and lived and worked in Ghana in 1995-8 and Kenya in 1999-2001.
Table of Contents
'To explain the ambiguities in the Kenyan nation and state is not easy. But with great thoroughness, edged with sometimes startling insight, Hornsby has done just that.' – John Lonsdale, Emeritus Professor of Modern African History, University of Cambridge'The definitive study of independent Kenya.' – David Throup, Senior Associate, Africa Program, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC'This is the first full history of Kenya's half-century of independence. And it is more than that. Hornsby roots independent Kenya's problems in its many colonial crises, particularly the brutally divisive Mau Mau war. Since then Kenya has experienced rapid change, not least its explosive population growth, and crises, often resolved, at least temporarily, by illegal government action. But the underlying continuities are extraordinary.Hornsby shows how Kenya's most recent tragedy, the killings and evictions that followed the 2007 general election, can be traced back to the political deals of decolonisation. To explain the ambiguities in the Kenyan nation and state is not easy. But with great thoroughness, edged with sometimes startling insight, Hornsby has done just that.' – John Lonsdale, Emeritus Professor of Modern African History, University of Cambridge'Charles Hornsby has followed Kenya intensely for decades and watched the twists and upsets of its dramatic politics. Now he has written a heavyweight and lucid history of this fascinating and important country. His account is a grand narrative full of sharp insights.' – Richard Dowden, Chairman Royal African Society'The definitive study of independent Kenya. Hornsby has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Kenyan politics and politicians.' – David Throup, Senior Associate, Africa Program, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC