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Kenya from Mau Mau to independence Farquhar, Michael Ernest

Abstract

The outbreak of Mau Mau hostilities in Kenya was the culmination of a series of grievances which had developed among the more politically conscious Africans. The lack of political opportunities and the inability to promote economic and social integration fomented frustration and antagonism among these Africans. Yet, the violence and the imposition of the Emergency restrictions failed to disrupt the country's political, economic, and social development of the post-World War Two period. The struggle between the Colonial Office, the European settler, and the African nationalist in the nineteen-fifties, won political concessions for the Africans, divided the European political movement, and created a dilemma for the Colonial Office, particularly following the independence of Ghana. Throughout the Emergency it was apparent that the Colonial Office had seriously underestimated the rapid growth and strength of the nationalist movement in East Africa. By 1959, constitutional advancement in Tanganyika foretold a change in British policy in Kenya. As a consequence, African nationalism triumphed and the European hope for a 'white man's country' was dashed forever. While the political evolution of the African continued, Kenya enjoyed its greatest economic development during the nineteen-fifties. Social institutions also experienced a similar period of expansion. By the nineteen-sixties, owing to adverse weather conditions, poor world markets, and a loss of investment capital arising out of the growth of African nationalism, the country's economy collapsed. At the same time, the political disruption of the early nineteen-sixties brought a sharp rise in unemployment, and a shortage of educators and medical practitioners, which hampered the transition of the African from his traditional society to the modern world. With independence came some economic recovery, but continued recovery will be dependent on the maintenance of political stability and national unity. For Kenya's leaders the need to create a new unifying force to replace the old nationalism, built on a common anti-white hostility, is their most urgent task.

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