Struggle for independence in Kenya


Activities of early political associations in Kenya up to 1939

During colonisation, African people in Kenya were very unhappy.

As a result, they formed political movements across the country.

These movements were aimed at educating the Africans about their rights and to encourage them to fight for independence.

They also wanted to draw the attention of the world to the poor way in which the Africans were being treated in Africa.

Although they did not gain independence for the country they laid an important foundation for later freedom movements.

The main movements during this period were:

  • The East African Association (EAA)
  • Young Kikuyu Association (YKA)
  • Kikuyu Central Association (KCA)
  • Kavirondo Tax Payers Welfare (KTPW)

Treatment of Africans during the Colonial Period

Africans were not happy with the way they were being treated. They had the following main complaints:

  • Africans were required to carry a kipande or identity card to move from one part of the country to another, but other races did not have to.

  • The British colonial government changed Kenyan money from the rupee to the East African shilling. During the change, many people lost their savings because the value of the new currency was less.
  • The Africans were forced to work on settler farms for little pay.
  • The colonial government increased taxes to be paid by the Africans. As a result, they had no choice but to work on the settler farms in order to earn money to pay the taxes.


  • They wanted to participate in making decisions about how they were governed, but this was ignored. Laws were made by the British who did not fully understand their needs.
  • They wanted the African culture protected from western influence. The British saw African culture as being primitive. They felt that the Africans needed to change and adopt a new way of life.
  • They wanted better education for their children. The European and Asian schools were better staffed and equipped than those for Africans.

First world war 1914-1918

1919 League of Nation created to maintain world peace

The British count rule Tanganyika for the following reasons

  • Lack of money(capital)
  • Lack of personnel
  • The Territory was too large


 African's grievances




  • Low wages

  • Poor schools


  • Low standards of living







  • Forced labour


Associations formed between 1922-1929 


TanganyikaTerritoryAfrican Civil Servants Associations

Its demands


  • Better terms of work for workers

  • High prices for agricultural products

  • Development in agriculture


Kilimanjaro Native planters Association(KNPA)



Tanganyika Territory African Civil Servants Association(TTACSA) founded a political party called Tanganyika African Association(TAA)


  • Better jobs for Africans

  • Unite all community organizations

  • Fight for African representation in the legislative council (Legco).

1945 Julius Nyerere joined TAA.
1953 Nyerere became TAA President

TAA aimed at gaining self rule

July 7th 1954 TAA changed toTanganyika African National Union (TANU)

Nyerere  was the president and Oscar Kambona as the Secretary

Nyerere was nominated to the Legco

1955 Africans number in the Legco increased

1956 Europeans founded United Tanganyika party(UTP)

UTP was defeated in 1958 elections

Reasons for rapid steps towards independence in 1955

  • ppointment of governor Richard Turnbull in195

  • Unite Nation Organization(UNO) urged Britain to grant Africans independence

  • Few political parties

  • Few European settlers to oppose the transfer of power

  • Nyerere and his colleagues provided effective leadership

  • September 1960 elections held TANU Won  0 out of 73 seats and Nyerere became chief minister as Tanganyika granted self government

  • 1961 December Tanganyika was granted full independencewith Nyerere as president

  • 1964Tanganyika and Zanzibarmerged to form United Republic of Tanzania.

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