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Political developments and Struggle for Independence - History Form 3

Political developments and Struggle for Independence in Kenya (1919-1963)

In today's Topic, we shall discuss early political organisations, their characteristics, grievances, problems and the achievements.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who played key roles in early political organisations.




Objectives

By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:

(a) Identify the early political organizations

(b) Discuss the characteristics of the early political organizations

(c) Identify the grievances of the Early Political Organisations

(d) Problems faced by the Early Political Organisations

(e) Achievements of the Early Political Organisations.


Early Political organisations in Kenya upto 1939

The inter-war period between 1919 and 1939 saw the emergence of many African political Associations. This was mainly attributed to the world war two where many Africans participated. During this period, the Africans united and realised they had the same grivances. When Kenya changed status to become a British protectorate in 1920, the Africans realised that they had lost their freedom. As a result, they formed groups to fight for their independence.

Africans during the second world war.

Early Political Organisations

After Kenya became a colony in 1920, Africans formed several ethnic Political Associations to express their grievances, some of these Associations are:

1) East Africana Association- Its members included Hurry Thuku, Jomo Kenyatta and Jesse Kariuki.

2) Kikuyu Central Association- Had members such as Joseph Kangethe and Jesse Kariuki

3) Kavirondo Tax Payers Welfare Association- The members here included Jonathan Okwiri, Simon Nyende and Benjamin Owuor Gumba

4) Ukamba Members Association- Members included Samuel Muindi Mbingu, Isaac Mwalonzi, Simon Kioko and Elijah Kavula

5) Coast African Association- The key leaders included Noah Mwana Sele, Mohamed bin Mwichande, E.W Timothy and H.G Banks

6) Taita Hills Association-Daniel Mapinga started the association, but died before it established itself. Later, his course was taken up by Woresho Kolandi Mengo, Jimmy Mwambishi and Paul Chumbo.


Characteristics of Early Political Associations

Most of the early political organisations had common characteristics. Among issues they had in common wre grivances and tructure of the methids of operations. Which were the characteristics of the eraly political parties? They were:

1) They were tribal based

2) They were led by mission educated young men

3) Asians gave them both material and moral support

4) They had similar grievances for example, land alienation, poor living and working conditions

5) They were non-militant

6) Had small membership

7) They were not well organised.


Grivances of Early Political Organisations

The early political organisations had a number of demands;

1) Removal of the Kipande system

2) Return of the alienated land

3) Reduction of taxation

4) Better working conditions

5) Provision of quality education for Africans

6) Protection of African culture

7) Removal of colonial oppressive laws

8) Removal of destocking policies.


Challenges faced by the Early Political Organisations

Early Political Oganisations in Kenya faced a number of problems. These include:

1) Harassment by the colonial government

2) Deportation of leaders, for example, Harry Thuku

3) Leadership wrangles between members

4) Lack of experience in running political parties hence mismanaged their offices

5) Lack of enough funds

6) Disunity due to ethnicity

7) Banning of Political Parties by colonial government

Achievements of Early Political Parties

Early political oganisations in Kenya had a number of achievements. These include:

1) Provided political education to African communities

2) They communicated the communities' feelings to the colonial government

3) They defended African cultures against further erosion by European missionaries

3) They played the role of trade unionism by fighting for the welfare of workers

4) They demanded better wages and living conditions for the Africans

5) They publicized African grievances to the international community

6) They promoted nationalism for forging Inter-Community relations



Prior Knowledge

In our previos lesson, we discussed the early political organisations in Kenya. Let us remind ourselves about the characteristics of the eraly political organisations by indicating TRUE ot FALSE on the statements given.


Objectives

By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:

- Trace the origins of the independent churches and schools in Kenya.



Emergence of Independent Churches and Schools

In this lesson, we shall discuss reasons for the emergence of independent churches and schools, their characteristics and the problems they faced. Independent churches and schools emerged in Kenya during the colonial period as a protest against mission churches and schools established by different missionary societies, They were also against the westernizing influence of missionaries.


Late Melkio Ondeto leader of Legio Maria Sect one of the indepedent churches in Kenya.

Reasons for Emergence of Independent Churches and Schools

Africans were against the westernizing influence of the missionaries and started their independent churches and schools. What other factors contributed to the emergence of independent churches and schools?

1) Africans were discriminated in leadership positions in the church

2) Africans considered the missionaries as agents of the colonial government

3) Some Africans were disatisfied with the interpretation of Christian scriptures

4) Children of parents who were not converted to Christianity were refused admission in missionary schools

5) Africans wanted to preserve their customs for example female circumcision, polygamy and payment of dowry

Characteristics of Independent Churches and Schools

Independent churches and schools had several characteristics. These include:

1) They were made up of and led by Africans,

2) They combined African traditions and customs with Christian teachings.

3) They allowed African practices for example, polygamy,

4) Teachers in the independent schools were Africans,

5) They adopted African musical instruments and dancing in their worship.

Click on the play button to view clip on African dancing.



Problems facing Independent Churches and Schools

Independent churches and schools faced several problems, these were:

1) Lack of adequate funds to undertake their activities

2) Leadership wrangles led to further splitting of the churches

3) Poor and inadequate facilities to run the schools

4) Lack of trained personnel

5) They faced competition from mission churches and schools

6) Most of the independent churches and schools were closed during the emergency in 1952

7) They faced constant harassment from the colonial government and missionaries


Objectives

By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:

(a) Discuss Political Organisations and Movements after 1945.

(b) Describe the role of KAU and KANU in the attainment of independence.


Political Organisations and Movements after 1945

After the first World War, there were significant political developments in Kenya. The colonial government allowed formation of national political parties, one of which was Kenya African Union (KAU).

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta elected president of KAU in 1947

Kenya African Union (KAU)

KAU was started as Kenya African Study Union in 1944 but later changed its name to Kenya African Union (KAU) in 1946. Its objectives were;

1) To unite African people,

2) Promote economic, social and political interests of the people,

3) To support Eliud Mathu,

4) To co-ordinate African nationalist activities.

Eliud Mathu

Development of KAU

Listen to the conversation between a teacher and a student on the development of KAU.

Click on the play button to view the dramatized conversation.


Prior Knowledge

We remind ourselves of the previous lesson in which we learnt about the formation of Kenya African Union and its contribution to the struggle for independence. We also learnt about the formation of Kenya African National Union and its contribution to Nationalism.

In this lesson, we shall discuss:

(i) The Trade Union Movement

(ii) The role of women in the struggle for independence.

Objectives

By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:


1. Discuss the role of trade unionism in the struggle for independence


2. Discuss the role of women in the struggle for independence.


Trade Union Movement In the struggle for Independence

In this lesson, we shall discuss the role of trade unionism in the struggle for independence. We shall also discuss the role of women in the struggle for independence. Trade Unions refers to associations of workers whose objectives are to fight for improvement of their welfare. The Trade Union Movement played an important role in the struggle for independence.

Statue of Tom Mboya, a charismatic trade Union leader.

Reasons for the formation of Trade unions In Kenya During the Colonial Period

Kenyan workers during the colonial period encountered several problems and channeled their grievances through trade unions. which were these grivances?

1) There was need for a united front to press for better wages

2) The introduction of the Kipande System interfered with freedom for workers

3) The African workers were heavily taxed, poorly paid

4) The banning of political associations created the desire for alternative avenue to express their political feelings

5) To fight for better working conditions and housing

6) High cost of living due to increased prices of essential commodities

Contributions of the Trade union Movement to the struggle for Independence in Kenya

Trade unions played an important role in the struggle for independence. Some of the achievements of the trade unions are:

1) They served as a training ground for nationalist leaders for example Tom Mboya

2) They raised funds to sustain political leaders

3) Demanded for the release of political leaders

4) Trade unions served as political outlets when political parties were banned

5) Sensitizing workers on the need for joining political parties

6) Organizing strikes, go-slows, sit-ins and boycotts to oppose some policies of the colonial government

Tom Mboya

Role of Women in the struggle for Independence for in Kenya

The African woman is a source of strength. Women contributed toward the struggle for independence economically, politically and socially. Let us highlight the role of some of the women who participated in the struggle for Kenyan independence. Moraa Moka Ngiti mobilised her people againsy colonialists, Mekatilili wa Menza mobilised the Agiryama against the British, Syotune wa kithuke used the Kilumi dance in 1911 to mobilise the Akamba against colonial rule, Kobilo Kwondoat Kimosop provide herbal medicine for wounded Tugen worriors. Mary Nyanjiru attacked police officers when Harry Thuku was arrested, Chief Mang'ana of Kadem led her people in resisting the British.

Other roles include:

1) They cared for children and families of freedom fighters when they were in the forest

2) They provided food to freedom fighters in the forest

3) They acted as spies for the freedom fighters

4) Some women actively participated in Mau Mau as fighters for example Field Marshall Muthoni

5) They boosted the morale of freedom fighters for example for by singing praise songs and joining the demonstrations

6) They acted as conveyors of arms and intelligence to freedom fighters on government operations for example Wambui Otieno.

Illustration of Field Marshall Muthoni

Click on the play button to view a clip on the class topic on the role of women.


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