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E. I.2.1.a.iii. Kenya: Resistance to President Moi

When the founding father of Kenyan independence, Jomo Kenyatta, died in 1978, he was succeeded as President by Daniel Arap Moi, who at first initiated some reforms, but soon formalized one-party rule by the Kenyan African National Union (KANU) and became associated with corruption and ruthlessness against political opponents. By the late 1980s and early 1990s increasing disillusion with Moi brought growing resistance from Anglican, Protestant and Catholic churches, professional associations such as musicians, workers who defied the ban on strikes, and students. When prominent politicians called for reform they were detained in June 1990, and Foreign Minister Robert Ouko was murdered in suspicious circumstances. The opposition created a broad-based Forum for the Restoration of Democracy, and foreign aid donors brought pressure to bear for constitutional recognition of opposition parties. The resistance lost momentum, however, before presidential elections in 1992, and divided on ideological and ethnic lines, so that opposition parties fielded three separate candidates and allowed Moi to win with 36.4 per cent of the presidential vote.

Failure of newly-created (or recreated) political parties to coordinate their opposition to the ruling candidate and party, and problems arising from ethnic tensions, were not unique to Kenya. But the Kenyan case is of interest here both because of the significant resistance and because it has been treated as a case study of ‘failure’ of a nonviolent movement, see:

Gustafson, Lindsey, Kenya: The Struggle to Create a Democracy, Brigham Young University Law Review, Vol. 2, 1995, pp. 647-651

Murungi, Kiraitu, President Moi and the Decline of Democracy in Kenya, Trans-Africa Forum, Vol. 8, issue 4, 1991, pp. 3-18

Press, Robert M., Peaceful Resistance: Advancing Human Rights and Democratic Freedom, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006, pp. 227

Primarily with reference to Kenya, discusses interplay of human rights advocacy and democratic resistance in authoritarian state. Articles by Press on nonviolent movements in Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone can be downloaded from:

Sabar, Galia, Church, State and Society in Kenya: From Mediation to Opposition 1963-1993, London, Frank Cass, 2002, pp. 334

Explores role of Christianity in colonial and post-colonial society and shows the crucial role of the churches in promoting an alternative politics.

Throup, David ; Hornsby, Charles, Multi-Party Politics in Kenya: The Kenyatta and Moi States and the Triumph of the System in the 1992 Election, Oxford, Nairobi and Athens OH, James Currey, EAEP and Ohio University Press, 1998, pp. 660