The road of independence in Kenya was not a smooth one. It involved serious commitment and struggle between Kenyans to liberate their country from colonialism.

After independence, Kenyan leaders continued to play a significant role in social, economic and political development of the country.

They include: Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Toroitch Arap moi, Oginga Odinga, Thomas Joseph Mboya, Ronald Gideon Ngala and Prof. Wangari Maathai.


Eearly life

Jomo Kenyatta was born of Agikuyu parent at ng’enda Ridge in Gatundu division of Thika County.

He was born around 1892.

He belonged to the Magana clan.

His Father was called Muigai and his motner was Wambui. His father died when he was a child his uncle Ngengi then took care of him and his mother.

As a young boy, Kenyatta left Ng’enda and went to live with his grandfather Kung’u of Magana at Muthiga near Kikuyu. While at Muthiga where was strongly influenced by the Agikuyu culture and customs on the one land and Christianity and Western education on the other.

His grandfather was a medicine man and Kenyatta learned much about Agikuyu culture and taditions from him. He got the 2nd influence of Christianity and Western educatioin from a mission Christian, reading, writing agriculture and carpentry. At Thogoto he was officially registered as Kamau WA Ngengi for he was now the ‘son’ of Ngengi after the death of his father.

In 1912, Kenyatta completed his elementors schooling.

In 1913, he was circumcised in the Agikuyu tradition and a year later was baptized and took the Christian name Johnstone.

In 1916, he worked at a sisal farm in Thika.

He went to live among his Maasai relatives in Narok, to escape forced recruitment. While in Narok he was employed as aclerk by an Asian trader whose company was supplying meat to the British army.

At the end of First World War he went back to Nairobi and worked as store-keeper in a European farm. He had already bought a bicycle. He used to wear a beaded Maasai onarment belt – Kenyatta. In 1920, he got married to Grace Wahu. Between 1921 and 1926, he worked in the Nairobi municipal council water department.

He was earning a salary of sh.250 per months. He builded a good house on a shamba which he bought at Dagoretti near Nairobi.


Kenyatta’s involvement in politics started in 1920. In that year at Dagoretti, he helped sub-chief Kioi prepare his land case against somo litigators. He became the secretary of the Kikuyu Central Association (K.C.A) he helped in translation of words from English and Kiswahili to Gikuyu. His major role was to interpret. In 1928 KCA launched a newpaper muigithania, Kenyatta was its editor. The paper urged the Agikuyu to improve their Agricultural methods and to take there children to school.

In 1929, KCA leaders sent Jomo Kenyatta to present their land grievances by the British government. While Kenyatta was in Britain, he was transformed into a Kenyan nationalist leader. He wrote articles in the Sunday worker (newsparer in Britain) one such article was entitled “Give us back our land” major theme was indepence for the oprresed Kenyan Africans.

In 1930 Kenyatta returned to Kenya. In 1931 he returned to London to represent the Kenyan Africans by the joint select committee on closer union of the East African countries. He was then sponsored and was accompanied by Primenar Mukiri. While in England, he taught at the labour party summer school. Then attended the Ouoker College of woodbreak Brimigham.

The discovery of God in Kakamega faced the Abaluyia to form what became known as Nork Koviando central Assosiation (NKCS) IN 1934.

Kenyatta taught Gikuyu to missionary and helped with a book entitled the phonetic and tonal structure of Kikuyu in 1937. He also studied anthropology at London school of Economics. The study of anthropology influenced him to write a book entitled. Facing Mount Kenya in 1938. After writing the book he changed his name from Johnstone to Jomo which he felt was more African. He became the secretary of the International Friends of Abussinia Organ (IFAO.

IN 1937, The IFAO changed its name and objectives it became International African Service Bureau (IASB) its major objectives were to fight for civil liberion and self-determnation for all African people.

During the second World war, Kenyatta became a farmer in storrignton in West Sussex and wrote about legendary history of the Kikuyu in his bok entitled my people of Kikuyu and the lfie of chief Wany oike during this period he married his second wife Edna Clarke. In 1946, Kenyatta returned to Kenya soon after, he married his thir and fourth wives Wanjiku and Mama Ngina.

KASU was formed as a countrywide orign to advise Eliud Mathu, the 1st African nominated to the legco.

KASU later changed its name to KAU. Kenyatta was elected as KAU’s president repacing (James Gichuru). Jomo Kenyatta, KAU officials and other leaders were arrested. Later they were fired and imprisoned in Lokitong and Lodwar. Other KAU leaders imprisoned were 0 Kunug Karumba, Paul Ngei, Bildad Kaggie, Achieng Oneko and Fred K. Kubai.

The trial for Jomo Kenyatta and KAU official attended interanation attention and several laywer came to defend him. Th team was lead by D.N. Pritt. Jomo Kenyatta and KAU officials’ wer find guilty of managing Mau Mau and were imprisoned. KAO was soon banned.

In August 1961 Kenyatta was released and he joined KANU he then joined other nationalist in fighting for impendence.

In 1962 Kenyatta and other African nationalists attended the Lancaster house conference. In London which prepared the way for Uhuru. On June 1st 1963 Kenya attained internal self – government (Madaraka) with Kenyatta as the 1st prime Minister. On 12th December 1963, Kenya became fully independent. A year later the country became a Republic (1984) with Kenyatta as the first president.


1. Rivalry within KANU

2. Oppostion from KADU

3. Banditry (shifted) in N. E. Kenya

4. Lack of capital

5. Poor comuncation and shortage of man power.

 6. Sociallly, disease, poverty and illetarcy wer serious issues.

KANU was in on the only party when KADU voluntarily disbanded. To the country, he boycott the national motto “Harambee” when Kenyataa died on 22nd 1978, he left Kenya a great country.



Daniel Toroitich arap Moin was born in September 1924 at Kurieng’wo, Sacho Baringo County. He was orphaned at an early age as his father Kimoi Arap Chebii died when Moi was four years. In 1934 he was sent to African Inland School at Kabartojo where he learnt how to read and write in addition to Bible instructions. He also ran areas for the missonaires. In 1938, he was sent to a mission schoonn in Kapsabet. He sat and passed the common entrance exams in 1940. He was appointed a prefect to join Allianceigh School with his firend Gideon Torus. They opted to remain and join Kapsabets TJC.

In 1950, he married Helena Bomet at the AIC mission in Eldama Ravine. He was later promoted to a headmaster or the Kabarnet Intermediate School and worked under a white principal. He joined politics in 1955, when the Rift Valley represented to the legco, John Ole Tameno was forced to resign. The local elders applied pressure on Moi to present himself for election, which he won.


In1957, Moi beat his challenges John Olde Tanome and Justus Ole Tipis, to win the Rift Valley seat. Moi formed the Baringo District Independent party (BDIP) in 1958 and assisted in the formation parties in Kericho, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet Henry Cheborwo was the Secretary General of the Baringo independent Party. The AEMO formed a multii-racial group), the Constitutnecy Elected Members Organs (CEMO) it comprised of one European, three Asians ans Masinde Muliro, Dr. Julius kiuna, Oginga Odinga and Moi as the African reprt. Their successful resulted in the first Lancaster House conference in London, Ngala, Moi and Odinga agreed the form a single party, Uhuru party, Moi have forged the four Kalenjin district parties in the Kalenjin political Alliance (KPA), which was allied to then, the weakeness of KNP at this was also due, the absence of their leaders such as Nyale, Muliro  through  Moi routed Bomet at the constituency KADU lost the election to KANU, governing 11 seats a KANU’s 19 KANU refused to participate in government while Kenyatta was in prison.

With Kenyatta release in 1961, the independent movement gathered momentum. When electios came in May 1963, KANU defeated KADU relegating it to the opposition. Moi was the president of Rift Valley regional Assistant. Eleven months afterwards Moi and Toweett denouted Majimbo on behalf of KADU and defeated to KANU. Ngala and Muliro declared the death of KADU on November 1964.

Daniel arap Moi was named Minister of home affaired in the Jamhuri cabine of 1964, repacing Oginga Odinga who became vice president and Minister without portfolio. Moi was elected as one of the 8 vice-president in 1967.

In August 22 1978 President Jomo Kenyatta passed away. Moi resumed office as acting as a president. He was later elected as the 2nd president Kenya hosted the summit of the OAU and Moi was elected chairman (for 2 years). A section of Air force attempted to topple him in a military coup on August 1, 1982. MOi University was created as a 2nd university. Others universities were Kenyatta, Egerton, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculutre and Technology and maseno. In 1984, the education system was changed from 7-4-2-3 to the 8-4-4 system. In 2003 Moi started his own Kabarak University in his farm, Nakuru.

Moi introduced the Nyayo philosophy of peace, love and unity. To improve the lives of Kenyans numerous social projects were started. These include: The Nyayo milk programme in primo, Nyayo wards and the district hospitals, Nyaso bases and Jua kali sheds for artisan. He was also the president of KANU which did not allow divergent opinion.

In the election that allowed in 1922, Moi defeated his challenges and won the presidency. They formed the Inter Parties Parliamentary Group (IPPG) aims at leveling the playing field for the 1997 election. Moi still won the elections but was barred by the constituesncy from seeking another term.

Mwai Kibaki the candidate of the united opposition trounced most preferred successor Uhuru Kenyatta. On Dec 30, 2002, Daniel Arap Moi handed over to reigns of power to Kenya’s 3rd Preseident Mwai Kibaki. He also assigned as president of KANU in 2003.


Earl life

He was born in 1911 in the village of Nyamira Kano in sakwa location of central Nyanza. He was enrolled at Maranda Primary School after which he went to Maseno School. At Maseno, Odinga formed an assistant for boys from Nyanza in 1932. At the end of his studies in Maseno, he joined Alliance High school at Kikuyu. At alliance Odinga and other boys from Nyanza formed the Nyanza Alliance Boys Fraternal society. In 1936, he won a scholarship to study at Makerere college, where he tained as a ateacher. He intited to teach at Maseon School by Carey Fraincis (principal when he was offered a place at Maseno Verterniary School he accepted and reported at the beginning of 1943. He married Mary on January 23, 1943 at the Maseno School. He was formed the Bondo Thrift Association, followed by the Luo Thrift and Trading Corporation which was registered in 1947.


In 1946, he contested the central Nyanza African District council elections and won. He 1st met Jomo Kenyatta in 1948, when Kenyatta was visiting Nyanza for independence Kenyatta returned to Kisumu for another rally in 1952.

In the elections 1957, Odinga took on the 1st African minister B.A. Ohanga for the central Nyanza seat in the Legco. He won the elections and joined the legco where he became chaimrna of the AEMO. He was part other the African delegation to the concaster Hosue conference in 1960. When KANU was born Odinga was elected. Vice-president while Gichuru acted as president in 1961 he was elected to represent Central Nyanza.

In May 1963, elections were held under the new constitutions. Following KANU’s resounding Victory Odinga was appointed Minister for Home Affaires. His inte was opening the way for more KADU leaders. In the Jamhuri Cabinet Odinga was appointed Vice – President and Minsiter without portfolio. In his Home Affairs docket went to a former KADU official – Moi Ondinga was vocal after the murder of his close associate and KANU MP Gama PINTO I 1965. Odinga was barred from all political and when he was released from detention. He registered in 1977, After Kenyatta;s death, the new president Daniel  Arap Moi attempted to rehabilitate Oding and appointed him chairman of the cotton tint and seed marketing Board.

On August 1, 1982 a section of the Kenya Airforce attempted to tapple the government. Odinga Oginga and his son Raila were implicated, thus father was placed under house arrest and the son detained. On his release Odinga kept a low political profile for several years. FORD split into two partieOdinga was elected chairman of FORD Kenya. Ford Kenya presented Oginga Odinga as its presidential candidate in the 1992 general elections. Odinga became the leader of the official elections. Odinga became the leader of the official opposition. In January 1994, Jaramogi Adonijah Odinga Oginga passed away with popular legacy of “the father of opposition politics in Kenya”


Early life.

Thomas Joseph Mboya was born in 1930 at Kilimanjaro (Machakos County) where his father worked in a sisal state. His parents were Leonards Ndigne and Maisela Awour. Thy came from Rusinga Island in Nyanza Province. Mboya early life was influenced by the multi-cultural environment he was brought up in. Mboya became fluent in both written and spoken at Kilimambogo and preceded to SSanthe Mary’s School, Yala, in Nyanza provide. He did his examination in 1945. Between 1946 and 1947 he studied at Holy Ghost College, Mangu in Thika. Between 1948 and 1950, mboya attended the sanitary inspector school at Kabete. He worked as a sanitary inspector with Nairobi city council. Later he became chairman the Kenya Health Inspector’s Association.


In 1953, Kenya Local government workers Union (LKQW was formed and Mboya was eelecte as its national General. Mboya protested against mass arrests. He altenative local ans overseas a residential cpirse at Jeannes school Kabete. At the seminar on workers education organization by the ICFTU, he was elected leader of the govnerment. He campaigned for the release of detained unionist and other political leaders as a resast, some were released. Between 1965 and 1956, Mboya attended Ruskin College, Oxford, Britain. He took course in industrial realtions. When he visited US and Canada, he made extensive visits and addressed many public meetings. When he returned in 1956, he stood a better chance in the elections to the legco in 1957. In 1957 Mobya formed the Nairobi peoples convention Party (NPCP) and becma eits president.

In 1958, Mboya was electe to the internation Conference of Free Trade Union (ICFTU) executive board. When KAU’s officials wre arrested Mboya was elected to act as treasuere of the party. He protested against the restriction of Africans to grow cash crops when KANU was formed in 1960, Mboya was elected its secretary general, a post he held until his death in 1959. He was among those who demanded the realease of Jomo Kenyatta.

In 1963, General Elections, he was elected to the House represented as a member for Nairobi central he became Minister for Justice and constitutional Affairs and later minster to planning and economic develop, a post which he held until he was gunned down by an assassin in Nairobi on Jly 5, 1969. Mboya in remembered as a great unionist, freedom fither and nationalist.


Early  life

Ronald Gedion Ngala was born in 1923 at Vishakani village, Kaloleni divison of Kilifi District incoast providce. He received his education at Bureto primary school in Mombasa before attending Alliance High school, Kikuyu. He went to Makerere College in Kampala Uganda, where he graduated with a Diploma in Education Ronald Ngala taught at Buston Primary as headmaster he later became supervisor of schools in Mombas. He joined early African politics and became van African issues.


He began organs political rallies in coast province soon after the state of emergence was declared.

He supported the detained leaders and called for their release. In 1957 electios, he was elected treasurer of African Elected Members Orgnaisation (AEMO). He held the past up to 1960 when KADU was formed.

KANU was formed in March 1960. Ngala and other leaders from minority communction formed KADU IN 1960. He was elected the president of the new party. During the 1962 Lancaster House conference, KADU under Ngala, pressed for Majimbo (regional) government while KANU advocated for a strong unitary governemtn. The last general election before independence wre held in May 1963 and Ngala became leader of the opposition party – KADU.

Ronald Ngala died after a road accident caused by a sting from a bee on the Nairobi Mombasa road in December 1972. He had served Kenya as an illustriouns educationalist freedom fighter and nationalist.


Eearly life

Maathai was born at Ihiteh village in Nyeri County on April 1, 1940. In 1943 Wangari’s family relocated to a white – owned farm near Nakuru in the Rift Valley wher her father worked. In 1947 she returned to her mother in Ihithe – in 1948, she enrolled in Ihithe Primary school in 1951, she proceeded to St. Cecilias intermediate primary school at the Mathari Catholic Mission in Nyeri while at this school, she converted to catholism and was baptized Mary Josephine. She joined Loreto High school Limuru in 1956. She joined Mt. St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas. She graduated in 1964 with a BSC in Biology and procedded to the University with masters’ degree in Biolgogical sciences in 1966. In the same year she returned to Kenya and was employed as a research assistant at the school of veterinary medicine in Universtiy of Nairobi. In 1969, she married Muta Maathai and they were blessed with 3 childrenl the devolved in 1979 after a two year separation.

In 1971, she graduated with a Phd in Anatomy from Nairobi University. She was appointed to teach at The University becoming a senior lecture in Anatomy in 1974. She was the first woman appointed to these postion in Nairobi University and had ealier became the first woman in Eastern African to receive a Phd.


Pro. Wangari Maathai is recognized for her persistant struggle for democracy, human rights and environment conservation. In 1971, she joined the Kenya Red Cross wher she became the director in 1973. In 1974 she joined the environment Liason centre where she became chairperson of the board. She also joined the National council of women of Kenya (NCWK) in the 1970s where she served as chairperson between 1980 and 1987. In 1977, she founded the Grem Belt Movement to fitht envrionmetal degration.

Between 1989, and 1996, wangari was involved in a bitter campaign against the proposal cosntructin of sixty – storage Kenya times media trust complete in Uhuru park, Nairobi. Between February 1992, and early 1993 she took part in a campaign to release political detainers in Kenya. In 2002, Wangari was elected to Kenya’s 9th parliament as a National Rainbow Coaliation (NARCK) candidate represent Tetu constituency. Between 2003 and 2007, she served as assistant minister for environment Natural Resources and wildlife.


For her literlong dedication to environmental and human rights campaign. Wangari has received international recognition and numerous awards.

The Nobel peace prize which she won on Oct.8, other major awards include:

2010 Earth Hall of Fame, Tokyo (Japan)

2009 Earth Hall of Fame, Totyo (Japan)

2009 Humanity for Water Award for outstanding commitment to action.

2009 The order of the Rising sun(Japan).

2009 Judge 2009 Geogouram challenge, National geographic (USA)

2008: Dignitas Human Awar St Joh’s school of theology (USA)

2007: The Nelson Mandela Award for Health & Human Right (USA)

2007: World citizenship Award.

2007: The Indian Gandhi international award for peace, disermanent and development, India.

2006: Premio defense media ambinta, club international and De prensa (Spain)

2006: Legional honnour

2004: Sophie prize

2004: Petra Kelly prize

2004: J. Stealing Morton award

2003: Global Environemtn Award

2001: The Juliet Hollister Award

1994: The Goldren Ark Award

1993: Jane Addams leadership Award

1993: Edinbung Medal

1991: Godman Envrionmnetal prize

1997: Global 500 roll of honour

1986: Better Worl Society Award.

1984: Right Livelihood Award.

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