Background to the Scramble and partition of east Africa.

The European nation were interacted in the Africans from the 15th Century led by Portuguese’s, Britain, French and Nation who had interest in the Indian Ocean trade in the 10th

The Portuguese led by Oman who attacked them continuous led to the decline of the Portuguese rule. European explorers, traders and missionaries made frequent visits to the East African coast and by the mid 19th C. some of them traveled into the interior of the region.

The activities of the missionaries influenced the European imperialism in the 19th century. They started to scramble for possessions and spheres of influence in Africa. This was haphazardly done and Africans were never put into consideration.

In East Africa, the scramble began with Bismarck’s recognition of treaties signed by a German, Karl Peters.

Factors for the Scramble and Partition of East Africa.

 Economic factors.

  • There was industrial revolution in Europe led to new interests in East African’s they were looking for areas which they could supply them with raw materials.
  • They were looking for markets for their manufactured goods. In addition to this, there was also the hope that precious metals might be found to enrich those concerned.-
  • There was political rivalry and mutual distrust in large nationalism which influenced the scramble for and partition of East Africa.
  • The question of balance e of power was a major weary to the European nations particularly Britain, France and Germany.
  • National prestige was also another struggle factor in European imperialism.
  • Britain was concerned, she was anxious about her position in Egypt and India, Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile, was Egypt’s lifeline. The scaroute to India through Suez equal had to be secured.
  • Moreover, Britain had to secure her position in Egypt because her communication with her Indian Empire could only be done through the Suez Canal.
  • To further safeguard her position in Indian and generally in the Indian Ocean, Britain had to secure her position along the East African Coast.
  • There was also a belief, particularly among the British, that European rule was the best. They considered that whoever was under the British rule was blessed.
  • For new nations like Italy and Germany, Colonies provided them with a sense of pride and identify. They all sought to have colonies for the old established nations like Britain and France; Colonies were an added source of Strength.


  • They were interacted in introducing their culture to the Africans. They believed in their “civilizing mission” protection of their missionaries and abolish slave trade.
  • They were also concerned about the activities of the Muslims thus they scrambled to be pioneers in removing Islamic influence in Africa.
  • They increased productivity both in industry and agriculture in Europe led to the growth of population.


The 1st Europeans to penetrate into the interior where the agents of the church missionary society, Dr Ludwing Kraft and Dr. John Rebman, who established a mission at Rubai. In 1848, Rebman became the first European to secure Mt. Kilimanjaro, and in 1849, Kraft ventured still further Inland and Saw Mt. Kenya.

By the end of the 19th century, there were about 300 missionaries in East Africa including British East Africa, German East Africa and Zanzibar. They were subjected to a variety of hardships and trials.

In 1885, the Anglican Bishop James Hannigton traveled West through IBEA. He was killed in October when he reached the Nile in his attempt to set up a diocese in Buganda, mwanga ordered his death.


Before 1884, European powers who were involved in East Africa sought clearance from the Sultan of Zanzibar before proceeding to the interior after the Berlin conference there ensued a better struggle between the British and the Germans over the control of East Africa.

In September 1884, a Britain, Sir Henry Johnston, with the Sultan’s permission, signed treaties with the chief in the Kilimanjaro area. He did this on behalf of the British commercial gaps which intended to trade there and construct a railway.

In the same year, a German, Karl Peters also singed treaties with the chiefs of Osaga, Uziga, and Ukami and Nguru areas without consulting the Sultan. The Sultan protested without much success.

When Karl Peters went back to Europe, Bismark recognized those areas as failing under German influence so they were declared German protectorates and the German East Africa Company was to administer them.

It’s a struggle between the Germans and the Southern of Zanzibar ensued over the clutters dominions. The British entered struggle in favor of the sultan of Zanzibar.

Demanded out a commission to look into the actual extent of the Sultan’s dominions. The work of the commission led to the singing of the Anglo – German   agreement of 1886.



The south of Zanzibar was given a 16km (10miles) coastal strip and the offshare Islands of Pate, Mafia, Pemba Zanzibar and Lamu.

 Germany got the territory between river umba in the north and Ruvuma in the South and Coastline of Witu

Britain got the territory north of river Umba stretching up to river Juba in the North.

The Western bundibas left undefined thus living Uganda upon to any power that got there 1st.


After 1886, there was rivalry between the British and German trading companies. The I.B.E.A.CO was favored by Sultan Barguish of Zanzibar. He granted it judicial and political powers as well as the right to levy custom duties over his mainland dominions. Soon the IBEAC of about 300km into the interior from the coastline. This annoyed the Germans and it sparked off a dispute between the two companies. At the same time, Italy had joined the colonial race and was disputing with the British company over the parts owned by the Sultan in the Northern coast. These were Kismayu, Mer ka, Mogadishu and Wars sheikh.

The British were, however, determined not to allow the Sultan’s northern parts to fall into German hands. Therefore, Britain handed over Lamu to the Sultan, who in turn relinquished it to Britain. The other northern parts were ended to Italy and like the Sultan gave them back to Britain.

In the interior, contest over Uganda was inevitable, in1889 the IBEA Co, sent Fredrick Jackson to investigate British prospects in Buganda. But before he got there, Karl Peters had already secured a treaty with Mwanga. When Jackson arrived it was too late to have the Kabaka change his mind. This marked the beginning of another struggle between the two companies over another East African Territory.

Meanwhile in Europe, lord Salisbury was engaged in diplomatic negotiations on behalf of Britain with the German government. The negotiations were concluded by the second Anglo – German. Treaties also known as Heligoland Treaty in 1890.



Uganda was recognized by German as an area within the British sphere of influence. This ended the Anglo-German rivalry in the area.

Germany agreed to abandon her claim over her territory of with she also accepted a British protectorate the Islands of Pemba and Zanzibar.

The German possessions include a strip on Lake Tanganyika acquired from Britain and the coastal region of Tanganyika from the Sultan for a fee.

The Western boundary was defined.

The Sultan was left with the 16km strip along the coast.

The British ended the North Sea Island of Heligoland to the Germans in return for the British identified East African interest areas.

This brought the period of scramble and petition of East Africa to an end. The Anglo – Italian agreement of 1891 was to safeguard the British prospects in Buganda. But before he got there, Karl Peters had already secured a treaty with Mwanga. When Jackson arrived it was too late to have the Kabaka change his mind. This marked the beginning of another struggle between the two companies over another East Africa territory.

Meanwhile in Europe, lord Salisbury was engaged in diplomatic negotiation on behalf of Britain with the German government. The negotiations were concluded by the second Anglo – German. Treaty, also known as Heligoland Treaty in 1890.



Uganda was recognized by German as an area within the British sphere of influence. This ended the Anglo- German rivalry in the area.

Germany agreed to abandon her claim over her territory of with she also accepted a British protectorate the Island of Pemba and Zanzibar.

The German possessions include a strip on Lake Tanganyika acquired from Britain and the coastal region of Tanganyika from the Sultan for a fee.

The Western boundary was defined.

The Sultan was left with the 16km strip along the coast.

The British ended the North Sea Island of Heligoland to the Germans in return for the British indefied east African interest areas.

There brought the period of scramble and partition of East Africa to an end. The Anglo – Italian agreement of 1891 was to safeguard the British financial, commercial and strategic interests in other areas besides the EAC, especially in relation to the Nile.


Once granted a Royal charter in 1888, the imperial British East Africa Company leased the land between Mombasa on the coast and Lake Victoria from the Sultan of Zanzibar. The aim of the company seems to have been partly political countering German, French and Italian influenced in the area, partly commercial, though it never paid a dividend, and partly philanthropic, supporting the campaign to suppress the slave trade between East Africa and Arabia.

They established parts and bomas at diverse places like Kismayu, Malindi Vanga, and Lamu with Takaunga, Machakos, government smith and mumia. However, the company had insufficient resources and a myriad of other problems to effectively occupy and control those areas.


  • The general work of administration and development required a lot of capital which was not forthroning.
  • Residing Africa gaps meant that the company required a force to maintain law and order yet it was financially constrained.
  • The land was too large as compared to the far company administrative.
  • Scarcity of natural resources and profitable commodities for expert hindered the work of the companies.
  • There was key little trade between the interior, this made transport slow and expensive.
  • There was no co-ordination between the company’s officers in Europe and agent in East Africa as each had their own vision and priorities that sometimes were in conflict, leading to delays and confusion in E.A.
  • Those who were sent to work in East Africa had neither the knowledge nor experiences which help them to accomplish their missions.


  • The company handed over its lenses to the British government.
  • The company staff moved to save the new protectorate administration.
  • The company also passed over the infrastructure such as posts and a small police force to the British government.


Treaties this method was used where Africans were peaceful and readily accepted British colonial protection and payment of taxes e.g the Maasai agreement of 1904 and 1911.

Force military expeditions were sent to areas where people had refused to co-operate with from like Nandi.

Construction of administration, communication and trading centers at 1st British officials used the posts were constructed by the IBEA Co. but later built their own operational bases, commercial centers and communication lines.

Collaboration: The British found it necessary to co-operate with the local leaders especially these whom they thought had power and prestige.

Response of the peoples of Kenya to British Invasion and occupation.

Some Africans viewed colonialism as a threat toher sovereignty. Others thought it as a good opportunity to build up personal power and accumulate wealth. The former opted to resist colonialism while the latter to co-operate with the colonial administrators.

The communities that resisted the British included the Bukusu, Gusii, Kabras, marakwet, Nandi, pokot, Somali, Taita, and Turkana.

They resisted because

  • They wanted to maintain their independence
  • They wanted to protect their land.
  • They wanted to protect their culture.
  • The form of resistance ranged from non-co-operation by not providing labour or paying taxes toattracting British outposts and stealing from them.

Resistance lead to

  • Loss of lives
  • Destruction of property such as homes and farms.
  • Disruption of economic activities.
  • Famine
  • Many Africans especially those in the highlands, lost their land.
  • Most of the attempt at armed resistance failed because the Kenyan societies were divided into small autonomous units which were no match for the British military strategy.
  • Local rivalries that allowed the British to pla the communities against each other.
  • The Africans relied on weapons and strategies that were inferior to the British
  • Natural calamities like epidemics weakened the Africans.
  • Lacked professionally trained soldiers


i) Nandi

They were dorminant community in Rift Valley having replaced the dreaded Maasai whose power had declined because of epidemics drought and internal strife. They resisted for a longer period than any other community.


  • The Nandi regarded themselves as superior to the other people they had come into contact with like Maasai, Luo, Luhya and Gusii. Thus, they viewed the arrival of the British as a threat to their dominance over the region.
  • Kimnyole, an orkoiyot of the Nandi had prophesied that the Nandi would be subdued and ruled by foreigners. This resistance was an attempt to avert the fulfillment of a prophecy made by a discriminated prophet. This Nandi had stoned Kimnyole to death in 1890 on the suspicion that he had caused a drought.
  • The pale colour of the Europeans skins and the clothes that they were led the Nandi to believe that they were devils that had come to inhabit their territory.
  • The Nandi were not only socially and politically dominant in the region, but were also economically dominant. This was mainly due to their raids that they successfully carried out against other communities.
  • The British were viewed as competitors who would take away their land and properly in addition to raiding the communities the Nandi had tricked on.
  • In Koitalel Arap Samoei, an Orkoiyot, the Nandi had an Inspiring and Heroic leader. When captain Meinerzhagan killed him and his advisors (Maotik) the Nandi’s fought more terminally than before to revenge.
  • They were opposed to hut tax.
  • They were also opposed to forced labour conscription by the colonialists.
  • They were also against land alienation and building of the Kenya – Uganda Railway across their territory.
  • They were also determined to maintain their independence.


The Nandi did attack traders using the Uganda road, prompting the British to send an ineffective punitive expedition to the area. The expenditure was unsuccessful as the Nandi warriors used their knowledge of the terrain to their advantage mounting surprise guerrilla  attacks.

In 1897 expenditure was sent in response to a Nandi attack

Reached Nandi country raiding bands attacked the crews, killing them and stealing materials like rails and telegraphic wire which used to make ornaments and weapons

The Indian, the Swahili, the Maasai and Baganda soldiers failed to subdue the Nandi warriors in 1900.

Meinertzhagan arranged for a peace meeting with him and a Nandi delegation because he had plotted to kill Koitalel Arap Samoei has was the pillar of the Nandi.

Samoei was captured and killed as soon as he arrived at the meeting. This disheartened the Nandi warriors and bought the most active phase of their resistance to an end.

Now that the orkoiyot was gone, the largest expeditionary force yet was sent to Nandi land in October, 1905, 1,500 Indians, Swahili and Somali soldiers. There were also 1,300 auxiliaries, a warned pertas, 10 machines guns and 100 Armour trains. This brought about an end to the rebellion.


  • The mountainous forested landscape was suitable for guerrilla tactics.
  • The pororict ensured a steady and constant supply of warriors who were as disciplined as the British forces.
  • Their mixed economy ensured a reliable supply of food.
  • The Nandi had gained valuable military experience from wars with the Maasai and raided on the neignbouring communities.
  • The Nandi were naturally warlike – had al lot of self – pride since they had managed to subdue neighboring communities.
  • The Nandi were united under the leadership of Orkoiyot who was also a religious leader.
  • The climate was harsh for the British invaders.


  • The British were supported by some Africa communities.
  • Superior British weapons such as rifles as compared to the arrows of the Nandi.
  • Natural calamities, such as small pox and rinderpest weakened the Nandi.
  • Trickery used by the British when they invited Koitalel arap Samoei only to have him killed, demoralizing/weatherizing the resistance by his followers.
  • The British used scorched – cash policy left the Nandi without food.
  • After Samoei, other leaders lacked courage and organizational skills.

Result of the Nandi Resistance

  • Loss of independence to the British.
  • Nandi territory was dully incorporated as one of the provinces of the B.E.A Protectorate.
  • The Nandi did loss lives and their animals.
  • Lots of properties like homes and farms belonging to the Nandi and later the British settlers were set on fare or damaged.
  • There was famine due to destruction of property.
  • Nandi people were dispossessed by their most productive land.
  • Displacement of the Nandi as they were forced to make North wards to local reserves that were located in marginal area.


It was one of the important participants in trade with both the East African Coast and the interior communities.

Caused of the Agiyama Resistance

  • They lost their lands that were productive for plantation.
  • They forced Africans to work on the British plantations.
  • Taxation was imposed on all able bodied mean
  • The Africans were forced to join the army because of war.
  • The Agriyama traded widely in Ivory and local brew from coconuts (tembo) as the British stop this trade.


They did refuse to present themselves for walk on the while plantations. Instead, they opted to sell their produce in order to raise the required tax.

Other migrated cut of his jurisdiction into the Tam disert, prompting Hobley, the then pet visit the area.

When the Agiryama’s grievances were presented to him, Hosley dismissed them.

This visit together with the Skirmishes at Chakana, when the British soldiers opened fire on some Agiryama warriors served as the impetus fro the formation of the resistance merchant.

It was under the leadership of Mekatilili wa menza a charismatic Agiryama woman who together with Wanje was Matoriak. Rallied the people to return to their traditions and more specifically to a meeting at Kenya fungo.

They bound themselves to this by traditional caths Mukushekushe for men and first for women.

The British arrested Mekatilili and Wanje and departed them to Kisii. They people were still defiant, they even resisted a decree for them to move and build a new Kaya at Mangeu prompting the British to destroy Kaya Fungu.

This outraged the Agiryama who speedily took up arms and fought gallantry from the forest for more than one year.

The British used scorched-earth, policy, setting homes of theAgryiama on fire, as they attempted to catch the warriors and collect a fine imposed on them. Since the British had more powerful weapons, the warriors changed tactics pursuing guerilla attacks instead.


  • Many Agiryama people were killed and their property destroyed.
  •  After the resistance, the British withdrew the order requiring the Agiryama to make from their homes.
  • The role of women in spearheading the rights of Africans emerged prominently as Mekatilili organized her people to resist the colonial in justices.


 They are a sub-section of the luyia may occupy present day Bungoma county and parts of Trans -Nzoia county in the Rift Valley province.

The reaction of the Bukusu against the British had its foundation in the relationship they had with the Wanga, who were their traditional enemies.


  • The Bukusu did not like the Wanga imperialism imposed in them by the British.
  • They hated cultural interference by the Europeans which was witnessed by the activities of the missionaries.
  • The Bukusu were against taxes imposed in them by the British the ruthless mode of Collecting the hut tax.
  • The Bukusu wanted to maintain their independence and the powers of their own ruler.
  • They had a strong military organization and army which made them succeed in keeping the Wanga from taking their land.
  • They had battalions is the Bagoti. The intelligence wing which sought information about the enemy. The Elam ala. They army that went a head attacking the Egututi the army which would remain behind as a reserve and joined the war to give reinforcement to the Elam ala.
  • They also used the scorched– earth method in warfare.


The murder of Mr. Hamisi, a Wanga agent, was the immediate cause of the war. He had confiscated Bukusu cattle on his way back; he was ambushed and killed at lumbaka near present day Bungoma town.

The British sent a punitive expedition against the bukusu to recover the guns hamisi had.

The bukusu on sensing defeat went to seek refuge from chief chetambe of the tachoni’s fort at webuye. The British pursued them and with the use of the machine guns killed many bukusu. This marked the end of rebellion.

Results of the rebellion.

  • There was loss of life as many bukusu were killed.
  • Mumia’s rule was extended to bukusuland as the bukusu lost independence.
  • There was animosity between bukusu and tachoni as the bukusu felt that they had been betrayed by tachoni.
  • The bukusu came under the British protectorate as part of eastern Uganda.


In 1890 the British and Italians signed the ango-italian treaty which defined the British and Italian spheres of influence in Somali land., creating British and Italian bSomaliland.


  • During the partition of Africa, Somali clans that had lived together for a long time found themselves on different sides of the diving political lines.
  • The main economic activity of the Somali was nomadic pastrolism, they had freely roamed and traversed their surrounding before the Europeans interfered, preventing them reaching pasture that they had regularly utilized.
  • The two nations (Britain and Italy) that had partitioned Somali land to themselves were Christians. This put them in direct conflict with the muslim-somali who considered it an abuse to their religion to be ruled by non-belivers.


The Somali clans-darod and Hawiyes attempted arrest in 1893 but this was unsuccessful. The Ogaden– Somali revolted in 1897 and in 1900, they murdered the British sub-commissioner for juba land – Jeanne.

A punitive expedition was dispatched but it was partially successful as it didn’t’t defeat the Somali.

There was a tactical retreat by the Somali especially the Government merchant and Aulihan clans who began to stock pile arms which were used to attack British posts for about two decades from 1905.


  • People died.
  • Somali lost their independence.

Reasons why Armed Resistance failed in Kenya

  • The Kenyan societies were organized in small autonomous communities which couldn’t’t provide a common front to face the enemy.
  • Communities were and cohesive but kept fighting one another as the British got room to play this communities.
  • African lacked sophisticated weapons they used spears stones, brows and arrows.
  • The African warriors were ill – trained
  • Epidermis and natural calamities had reached the population of some of the communities.
  • There was poor leadership on the part of Africans.
  • The soldiers were demoralized when many warriors were captured and killed.
  • Some African communities collaborated with the British against follow Africans.
  • Kenya – Uganda Railways facilitated swift movement of British or military for swift subjugation of unrest.


This communities include Maasai and Wanga. They collaborated because.

  • They felt too weak to resist the British.
  • They needed outside help to overcome their local neighbouring enemies.
  • They stood to gain materially from the British allies.
  • They believed the British were only temporary visitors to be used and later discarded.
  • Collaboration took various forms such as offering logistical and tactical assistance to British, provision of food stuffs and arresting and betraying of resistors.


The Maasai dominated the plains of the Rift valley from about 1750 occupying the area stretching from Uasin Gishu to mount them.

They had a central leader, the Laibon, who combined both religions and political rules. Thus he was the symbol of unity from the community.

They also had the best military organization with the age stets ensuring a constant supply of warriors.

Reasons for Maasai Collaboration

Nandi ascendancy: The Nandi had re – organized themselves politically by borrowing some aspects from the Maasai political organization and adapting them to their own situation thus centralizing their community’s authority. This resulted in amore efficient and effective fighting force that challenged the previously invincible Maasai Moran. The Nandi raided the communities that were previously exclusively raided by the Maasai. They went ahead and even successfully raided the Uasin Gishu Maasai.

Internal strife. There was a series of civil wars between the pastoral purko and the agricultural Kwavi Maasai that nearly wiped out the Kwavi. These wars were followed by a succession dispute between the two sons of the Purko Laibon Mbatian – Lenana and Sendeyo.

Natural calamities. The maasai was played by a succession of natural calamities, which weakened their economic base and killed them like locust invasioin, drought, cholera small pox and renderpest.

The Kedong massacre in 1895, a caravan of Kikuyu clashed with some Maasai resulted in the death of 650 Agikuyu and Swahili porters. A scolt and two Frenchmen who had camped nearby leant to the aid of the Agikuyu and shot about two Maasai.

British efficiency. When the massacre was investigated, the report indicated that the Swahili and Agikuyu traders had started the initial clash. The informers of the report and the officials of the investigation impressed Lenana who bought British friendship.

The course of the Maasai collaboration

The 1st treaty, the Maasai Agreement signed by Lenana and Stewart in 1901 created two reserves (Laikipia and Ngong). They were informed that this land would always be there as they existed as a race. However the owners in Laikipia complained about the presence of Maasai, leading to the signing of the second Maasai agreement of 1916 which evicted them from Laikipia and confined them to the Ngong Researve.-



  • It led to eviction and displacement
  • The loss of independence and manpower
  • The Maasai lost their territories and were pushed into infertile Ngong reserves
  • Reduced Maasai social prestige based on herds of cattle.
  • The Maasai were divided into pro-lenana and those opposed to his collaboration.


  • All the livestock that was confiscated from obstinate communities was given to the Maasai.
  • Lenana was granted the position of paramount chief by the British.
  • The Maasai found profitable employment in the service of the British as auxiliaries, mercenaries and guides.

Consequences of masaai  Collaborating.

1.Lenana was recognized as the paramount chief of the maasai in 1901

2. The Purko were divided into two ,Loiter and Ngong. This led to separation of the related clans,

3.Massive tracts of  land were  alienated.

4.The masaai freedom to conduct ritual was curtailed . Only a small portion conducted their ceremonies.

5.The masaai economy  was disrupted e.g they were forced to reduce their livestock and their nomadic lifestyle.

6.The masaai got material reward in form of cattle and grain looted from their hostile neighbours such the Nandi Agikuyu andLuo

7.Masaai lost their independence and their land was declared British protectorate.

8.The maasai warriors were hired as mercenaries against resisting communities e.g Nandi and  Agikuyu,

9. The maasai could no longer carry out their customs of livestock cross-breeding with the Samburu. This weakened their stock.


They inhibit the area bordering Uganda, as they were actively involved in trade with the Arabs and Swahili. Nabango Mumia reigned between 1882 – 1949 as he welcomed the IBEA

Reasons for Wanga collaboration with British

  • He wanted military assistance to subdue his perennial enemies, the luo of Ugenya and Bukusu.
  • He wanted political power to concentrate his position and that of his kingdom among the luhya.
  • He wanted British military support    wars of exfarmers of the Wanga kingdom.
  • He elaborated with the British as him social prestige among his subjects.
  • Mumia hoped to gain materially from his collaboration with British.
  • Mumia saw the futility of fighting the strong white military men.

The course of collaboration.

Mumia’s headquarters served as the operational base for British operations in western Kenya. Military expeditions were sent out from here between 1894 and 1906. These included expeditions against the nandi, luo of sakwa, seme and ugenys, as wel as the bukusu and banyala.

Although the British had stationed baganda and Sudanese soldiers in wanga, they were often joined by mumia’s own fighters when they went out on expeditions.

Once the British rule had been established, administrators were required. Mumia provided wanga agents who were sent out as chiefs and headmean in other communities.

Results of the collaboration.

  • The wanga lost their independence.
  • The wanga were used by the British to rule other western communities.
  • Mumia’s kingdom gained more territiory, like samia, bunyala and busoga.
  • Mumia was largely relied on by the British when it came to appointments of African chiefs and headmen.
  • Mumia and his subjects gained material wealth from their association with the British.
  • Mumia’s dominace during the colonial rule over other communities increased hostility between the wanga and those communities.
  • Mumias became the administrative centre of western province.


There were other communites that   are wanted    response to the arrival of the British           attempts establishing their rule over Kenyan live resistance and collaboration is the AKAMBA.

This can be traced to the middle of the 19thc. When the missionary Dr. Kraft, visited their region. Their 1st contact with the British as administrators came in 1890 when the IBEACO bult fort at machakos. This marked the beginning of new phase of relations between those two communites that changed severally from friendly to very hostile one.


Lack of respect for Akamba traditions

During the construction of the IBEAC fort in machakos George Heith out down the sacred liable free for use as a play pole. This greatly incensed the local prophetesis Syonguu, who directed the warriors to attack the government.

Prevention of raids. In 1894 the British prevented the Akamba warriors in Kyevaluki and Kangundo from raiding the Agikuyu. Raiding was important to Akamba as it enabled them acquire commodities which they traded in.

Establishment of Garrison.there was a British stationed troop in garrisons in Ukambani in an effort to prevent Skirmishes between the Akamba and their neighbours.

Misconduct of company officials. The soldier stationed in Ukumbani stole from the Akamba raped their women and bullied the people. They took sanctuary in their fort and the fire – arms that they carried.

Disruption of trade. The British situated the lay distance trade of the Akamba when they      their sources of supply of trading commodities especially after they are stopped from raiding their neighbours from such commodities.

The Course of the Resistance.

In response to the provocation of the British soldies, the Akamba warrior’s insipired by mwana muka carried out raids in British forts and posts such as the post at mwaka. They also attacked the homes of collaborators.

Following the devastating punitive raid that followed, comprising 140 askaris, 300 agikuyus and 900 Maasai’s, mwana muka sued for peace.

The spread of Kathamib of ukambani led to another resistance, it started in Maputi and soon spread to Kitui, through the activities of Siotune WA kathuke and Kiamba wa Mthavio

Towards the end of 1911, the results of the decrase beame evident as no taxes were paid to the British, the passing caravans and the garrisons old to obtain any good,  would not particiopate in meetings presided over ty the colonial administration.

Results for the Resistance

  • These actions led the British to mount extra military patrols in the area and to depart Sotune and Kiamba and several other leaders to the coast.
  • They also lost their land to the British.
  • The Akamba who were disunited and competed amongst themselves were defeated.



Fear of British power. Mwatu wer Bugoma in 1894, mobilized the warriors to attack British posts in Ukambani, but he was defeated by John Ainswark’s forces.

Personal gain. The Akamba value property since many of these who collaborated with the British were estate traders, they saw in opportunity to enrich them and increase their prestige.

Results of the collaboration.

  • It led to entrecnment of a class of wealthly traders, who used their connections with the British to increase their wealth.
  • It led to spread of Christianity because the missionaries were welcomed in the areas as part of the relationships with the British.
  • It brought about enmity among the Akamba.


Since they lived on different ridges, the agikuyu were a loosely confederated community. This enabled the British to play on this apparent division to further split them.

Causes of Resistance among the Agikuyu

British support to royal local leaders within the Agikuyu various forms of authority and position were vested in different individuals. One such position was that of the muthamaki, the chairman of the council of elders. The British were willing to assist any individuals loyal to them to ascend to this position.

Conduct of IBEA CO. soldiers. The Agikuyu had been the target of several raids by soldiers from the IBEA CO. who looted, killed and raped at will. These violations provoked them to action.


Initially the agikuyu resistance took the form of non co-operation with the British. They refused to supply grain to the British posts and passing parties.

They dified directives to supply porters to British caravans. This resulted in series ofpunitive expeditions, culminating in the unrest of Waiyaki WA Hinga, who died on the way to stand trial in Mombasa.


At the same time, there were a number of leaders within the agikuyu community who collaborated with the British Government for various reasons.     

Political power. The Agikuu were governed by a council of elders that was chaired by the Muthamaki with the country of the British some individuals saw them as the channel that would assist them to ascend to this position.

Materials gains. the holder of the office is the muthamaki was believed to have great access to wealth as the arriving European would bestore material gifts on him.

The course of the collaboration

The collaboration put themselves at the service of the British in hope of getting rewards.

The individuals who weregiven in collaboration, exhibited unquestionable loyalty to the British in reation for favours.

Results of the collaboration’

Social stratification. Agikuyu existed as an egalitarian society previously new emerged class based in material wealth.

Enemity. A society that had previously been united was now divided along property lines.


The main sections that resulted were the luo of Sakwa Seme, Uyoma, ugenya and Kisumu. These of Gem and Asembu are among the Luo who collaborated.

Reasons for the luo reaction

  • The need to protect their land
  • Fear of losing their freedom
  • The British habit of attacking them for grains and livestock.
  • The penitive expeditions sent against them by Mumia and the British, provoking many of them to revenge.
  • The Luo Gem and assembly   Odera Akango, collaborated because
  • It had been influenced by the                    
  • He heeded British assistance to
  • He realized the futility of resisting of British through the experience of his neighbours.


The Luo conducted raids on British parties such as the canoe party that was fond of steadily their fish.

The British did mount punitive raids against them. The luo, Especially those of Sakwa , seme and Ugenya offered very stiff resistance but were finally subdued in 1899.

Reasons for the collaboration

  • They feared other sections of the luo.
  • They also feared their Nandi neighbours who were warlike and hostile to outsiders.

Consequences of the Luo reaction

  • Both the collaboration and resistance lost their independence to the British.
  • The luo lost their property through burning and losting.
  • There was massive loss of likes, especially among the Ugenya Luo.
  • It bred hatred between the collaborations and the resistors.
  • The leaders were able to gain Western education and religion like schools.
  • The leaders were replaced with British administering undermining traditional political systems.
  • The luo were alienated from there and to pave the way for British occupation and settlements.


The British embarked on administration after establishing their Powers of their colony. They established a central and local government for effective administration.

Central government.

At head was the colonial secretary, based in London. In Kenya we had the governer who had complete responsibility for the colony. They governor’s word was final, but later, and advisory council was established to advice him. From advisory council evolved the executive council which affected colonial policy in Kenya.

The legislative council was also established in 1907, with powers to make laws for the colony.

Colonial administration Hierarchy

Colonial secretary


Provincial commissioners

Distrct                                                 District

Commissiner                                       Commissioners

District                                                            District

Officers                                               Officer



Local Government

It can be traced back from the lack village Headman ordinance. This gave powers to the provincial commissioners to appoint.  A native or natives as official headman of a number of villages. While the central give in concerned with the administration of the whole country the government formed an important part in the action in the political process of Kenya.

Functions of local government

  • Provide  a legal forum for the people  concerning their everything life
  • To make use of local resources in development.
  • To provide an important link between the central government and the rural community.

Establishment of local nature councils

It was established in 1922 after the legal passed authority ordinance. The African leadership had required forum through which their grievance could be addition the colonial government.

In 1924, the district during councils work required local native councils (LNCS)

The objectives of LNCs included

  • Encouraging and drip a sense of responsibility assembly among the Africans.
  • Providing a mechanism through which educated Africans would articulate their realists at the districts level.
  • Ensuring proper restriction of the Africans in their reserves.
  • Providing a means through which the government would understand the African better so as to certain him.

The local native councils achieve these objectives through.

  • The collection of taxes to finance their operation.
  • Maintenance of basis infrastructure.
  • The provision of basic social needs e.g water, cattle dips, public health, education and markets.
  • The restriction of Africans activities particularly political agitation.
  • In 1948, the H.N.C were renamed the African district councils (ADCs). Pascal Nakwan became the 1st African Chamwan of the African ADC in 1958. It remained the L.A.O in Africa areas until independence in 1963.

Impact of local government.

  • It expoited local resources and initiatives in development. It also linked between central government and the local people.
  • It helped to maintain law and order by using a small police force set up in 1896.
  • It promoted the development of infrastructure and general welfare of the African sector through levying taxes.
  • It helped in the arbitration of African disputes through the district African courts/
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
people found this article helpful. What about you?

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x