The colonization of Kenya by the British was a consequence of the European scramble for and Partition of Africa during the second half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution was partly responsible for the Scramble.


 In what ways was East Africa important during the scramble for and partition of Africa?

In East Africa, Germany and Britain competed for territories. East Africa was particularly important as:

  • It was the source of the River Nile.
  • The east   coast of Africa was strategic along the way to the east.

 Explain the causes of the scramble for east Africa. (What were the reasons for the European scramble for East Africa? Or:

Explain the factors that led to European scramble for East Africa).

The reasons for the European Scramble for and Partition of east Africa revolve around the changes in Europe and the prevailing conditions in Africa. Such reasons include:

  • Nationalism in Europe, which led to competition over colonial possessions.
  • Strategic significance. East Africa is the source of River Nile and has a coastline, which is vital for international trade.
  • Economic imperialism. In the 19th century, industrialized states in Europe were in the race for colonies as they were interested in tapping raw materials for their industries, E.g. Trona, iron, etc.
  • European desire to “civilize” the Africans, whom they regarded as culturally backward. v European nationals, particularly missionaries, who were already based in Africa, who appealed for protection from their home governments.
  • Some powers wanted to secure territories in East Africa just for prestige.

Explain how the following factors influenced (contributed to) the scramble for and Partition of east Africa among European powers:

  • Nationalism in Europe.
  • Strategic significance.
  • Economic imperialism.


  • The emergence of Germany as a powerful European nation after the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 caused German nationals to clamour for colonies, feeling that without colonial possessions Germany could not compete favourably with other European powers.
  • Germany‟s victory in the Franco-Prussian war upset the European balance of power. v Despite the 1884-1885 Berlin conference, German and British interests in east Africa almost led to war between Britain and Germany, especially over Zanzibar, which became the operational base for both as they began to focus  on the East African interior.


  • Britain and France were trying to undo each other over ownership of Egypt and the Nile‟s source in Uganda.
  • The construction and opening of the Suez Canal shortened the distance to the Far east by half, which attracted British and French interests over Egypt and regions around the Red Sea.
  • East Africa was a reliable source of fresh supplies, which attracted Anglo-German rivalry and competition in the region.


Industrialized states in Europe in the 19th century were in the race for colonies to:

  • Tap raw materials for their factories.
  • Find ready market for their manufactured goods.
  • Get new avenues for investment.
  • Create jobs for their people.
  • Speed up their economic development.

Explain the events that preceded the Anglo-German agreement of 1886). (Explain the factors that facilitated/led to the Anglo-German agreement (1886).) v In 1884, Harry Johnston signed a treaty with the Chagga.

  • Together with the activities of Sir William Mackinnon, Johnston‟s presence in the Mount Kilimanjaro area caused Karl Peters to appeal to the German government for support in preventing the British from pushing the Germans out of Tanganyika.
  • Karl Peters‟ declared protectorates over Usagara, Ungulu, Usage and Ukami. This was when the Anglo-German agreement (1886) became necessary.

Explain the terms of the Anglo-German agreement (1886). (In what ways did the

Anglo-German agreement (1886) facilitate peaceful Anglo-German claims over East Africa?)

The Anglo-German agreement of 1886 facilitated peaceful Anglo-German claims on east Africa by dividing Kenya and Tanganyika between the British and the Germans through its following terms:

  • The sultan of Zanzibar was to be recognized as the custodian of the 16km coastal strip and the off-shore islands of pate, Mafia, Lame, Pombo and Zanzibar as well as the towns of Kismayu, Prava, Merca and Mogadishu.
  • The Witu coastline between river Umba and River Ruvuma would become the German sphere of influence.
  • The territory between river Umba and River Juba would become the British sphere of influence.
  • The western boundary was not defined. Uganda was left for whichever power got there first.

 Identify the commercial companies that were assigned the duty of administering territories in east Africa on behalf of their home governments after the AngloGerman agreement (1886).

  • The Imperial British East Africa company (the British East Africa Association)  under William MacKinnon
  • The German East Africa Company under Karl Peters.

Explain the disputes/conflicts that ensued/occurred between the Imperial British east Africa Company and the German East Africa Company in spite of or after the 1886 Anglo-German agreement over East Africa.

In spite of the 1886 Anglo-German agreement, there still was rivalry between the British and the German trading companies over east Africa as follows:

  • Sultan Bagash of Zanzibar granted the Imperial British East Africa Company judicial and political powers and the right to levy customs duties over his mainland dominion, which disappointed the German East Africa Company.
  • That same moment, Egypt was competing with the British over Kismayu, Manda, Mogadishu and Warsheikh in the northern coast, which were owned by the sultan.
  • Determined not to allow the Sultan‟s northern ports into German hands, the British handed Lamu over to the Sultan, who in turn left the northern ports in British hands.
  • The ports were then given to Italy, which also gave them up to Britain
  • In 1889, the Imperial British east Africa company, through Frederic Jackson, sought a chance for British prospects in Buganda, Only to find that Karl Peters had already signed a treaty with Kabaka Mwanga, placing Uganda under German protection.
  • In Europe at that moment, Negotiations were going on between the British and the German governments to end the Baganda crisis, which led to the signing of the 1890 second Anglo-German (Heligoland) treaty.

The 1890  second Anglo-German (Heligoland) treaty sealed the final division between the German and British spheres of influence.

State the terms of the Anglo-German treaty (1890).

  • Germany recognized Uganda as part of the British Sphere of influence.
  • Germany gave up her claim over Witu in return for Heligoland island in the North Sea.
  • Germany accepted a British protectorate over Zanzibar and Pemba.
  • Germany acquired a strip of land on Lake Tanganyika from Britain and purchased the coast of Tanganyika from the Sultan of Zanzibar.
  • The Sultan of Zanzibar  retained the 16km coastal strip.

 Explain the impact/effects of the Anglo-German agreement (1890). (What were the results/consequences of the Anglo-German agreement (1890)?)

  • The western boundary was defined.
  • Britain successfully laid claim over Kenya and the dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar.
  • Britain and Germany were now mandated to administer their areas of influence. v It ended the period of the Scramble for and Partition of east Africa.



With the Partition behind them, the British embarked on occupying Kenya in all possible ways.

 Describe the methods used by the British to occupy Kenya.

  • Signing treaties. Treaties were signed among Europeans themselves and between the Europeans and local leaders in the areas they occupied e.g. The Heligoland treaty as well as the 1904 and 1911 Maasai agreements.
  • Here, African communities such as the Wanga and the Maasai were lured through gifts and other incentives to agree to form alliances with the British.
  • Military expeditions. Communities that resisted British occupation such as the Nandi, Bukusu and Turkana were forcefully subdued through punitive military expeditions. v Operational bases. Forts, posts, commercial centres and communication lines were constructed to enhance British political control. Fort Smith (Kabete) and fort Hall (Murang‟a) are good examples.
  • A blend of diplomacy and force. This involved signing treaties and the use of military force among communities such as the Luo and Agikuyu, sections of who collaborated with as others resisted British occupation.
  • Company rule. The British initially used the Imperial British East Africa Company in occupying Kenya to limit administration expenses or costs among other factors.  

State the powers granted to the Imperial British East Africa Company by the Royal Charter in 1888.

In Kenya, the British ruled through the Imperial British East Africa  Company, which was chartered in 1888. This company was given the following powers concerning Kenya: v To establish political authority, general order and security in British East Africa. v To develop and regulate trade by facilitating the movement of goods and people between the coast and the interior.

  • To collect taxes and to institute custom duty in the area.
  • To develop and “civilize” the indigenous people, closely scrutinized by the imperial consul based in Zanzibar.

 What were the achievements/successes of company rule in Kenya?

  • Quelling of community aggression e.g. that of the Nandi, Maasai, Akamba, etc. v Establishment of forts, posts, commercial centres, communication lines and other operational bases, some of which developed into towns and cities.
  • Development of a Rubber industry along the coast and within the interior.
  • Abolition of slavery and slave trade, especially within the coastal region.
  • Building of roads and other infrastructure, which facilitated transportation of railwaybuilding and other equipment.
  • Administration of the British spheres of influence between 1888-1895.

 What factors undermined Company rule in Kenya? (Explain the weaknesses of Company rule in Kenya. Or:

What were the shortcomings of Company rule in Kenya? Or:

Explain the factors that led to the collapse of the Imperial British East Africa Company by 1894.)

  • The region lacked strategic natural resources for exports like gold, diamonds and copper.
  • The company lacked sufficient funding.
  • Lack of navigable rivers, which made transportation of goods slower and expensive. v Lack of proper communication between East Africa and the headquarters, which caused confusion and unnecessary delays.
  • Many of the company officials were corrupt.
  • African resistance, which made the company‟s work very difficult. v Incompetence of some of the Company agents.
  • The hot and dry tropical climate and diseases such as Malaria and sleeping sickness took a heavy toll on company personnel.
  • Penetration of the interior and day to day operations of the administration were very costly.
  • Company directors‟ lack of the drive, initiative, business, acumen and administrative shrewdness to manage a newly acquired territory.



African Kenyan response to foreign invasion varied, depending on the conditions the  European colonialists found them in. some resisted while others collaborated. Others displayed both resistance and collaboration (mixed reaction).

Identify two types of resistance exhibited by African communities against European invasion and occupation of Kenya.

  • Active resistance.
  • Passive resistance.

Name the African communities that took to armed struggle against initial British occupation of their country.

Some Kenyan communities took to armed struggle against initial British occupation of their country as a way of protecting their independence. Among such communities were:

  • The Nandi,
  • The Giriama,
  • The Bukusu,
  • The Somali,
  • Sections of the Agikuyu v Sections of the Luo,
  • Some of the Akamba.


              THE NANDI UPRISING

In spite of their small population, the Nandi resisted British rule stronger and longer than any other community.

 Explain the factors that led to Nandi resistance against British invasion and occupation.

(What were the causes of Nandi resistance against British rule? Or:

Explain the reasons for Nandi resistance against British rule).

  • The Nandi regarded themselves as superior to other people they had so far met. v British occupation threatened Nandi predominance in the region, for they had subdued neighbouring communities e.g. Luo, Luhyia, Abagusi and the much feared Maasai. v A stranger had to seek permission to enter Nandi territory, which the British did not. v The Nandi regarded the Europeans as evil because of their skin colour and strange clothes.
  • Their prophet: Kimnyole‟s prophecy, which cautioned them to resist the newcomers in order to preserve their pride and independence and to protect their land. Kimnyole had earlier on told the Nandi of a big snake belching smoke and fire, which would come with foreigners, who would take control of Nandi territory.
  • The Nandi had a long history and tradition of resisting whoever intruded into their territory e.g. Arab and Swahili traders.
  • The Nandi were well trained and equipped for battle in addition to raiding expeditions and other cultural practices, which gave them military superiority.
  • The British planned to relocate the Nandi away from their ancestral land to make way for white settlement and agriculture,, railway construction and trading caravans. v Numerous Nandi victories at the close of the 19th century proved their unity and strength against foreigners

Analyse the process/course of Nandi resistance against British occupation of their land. v In 1895, following Nandi Guerrilla attacks against British interests, Andrew Dick murdered two Nandi warriors who had strayed into his administrative camp at Guava Mesa.

  • The Nandi swiftly reacted by killing Peter West (a trader) and his team.
  • In 1897, the British dispatched a punitive expedition. It however failed to stop the raids. v When the Kenya-Uganda railway reached Nandi territory in 1899, the Nandi kept stealing building material. They ambushed and murdered railway builders.
  • From 1901-1905, British administrator: Walter Mayes conducted a campaign to pacify the Nandi, but the Nandi did not cooperate.
  • In 1901, Nandi warriors attacked the railway in protest against British settlement and farming on their land.
  • The British responded by destroying crops and villages in addition to confiscating Nandi cattle.
  • In October 1905, an all-powerful British military team made up of 1500 Indian, Swahili, Maasai and Somali fighters was sent for a decisive show-down with the Nandi. This followed Nandi attacks on European farms to the north and east of Nandi country. v Realizing that the Europeans were becoming a threat, Nandi leaders under Koitalel Arap Samoei called for an end to the eleven-year Nandi-British confrontation.
  • On realizing the importance of the Orkoiyot as the unifying factor without which the Nandi would be demoralized and disorganized, the British (through captain Meinertzhagen: the British officer in Nandi) arranged a meeting with Koitalel, who was Orkoyiot at that time.
  • At the meeting (which was held at Koitalel‟s home), scuffles ensued, followed by a brief conflict in which Koitalel and most of his advisors were killed.
  • That same December 1905, the British carefully and successfully planned and carried out a 3700-men invasion against the Nandi, who at that moment were demoralized and disunited following their Orkoyiot‟s death.
  • The Nandi still fought strongly, but their spears, bows, arrows and other traditional weapons could not bring them success amidst British machine-guns and artillery.
  • That same December 1905, Nandi elders accepted peace terms, by which the resistance ended and Nandi territory came under British occupation and rule.

Explain why the Nandi put up a long strong resistance against the British.

(Explain why the Nandi resisted the British for long. Or: Explain why it took long for the British to subdue the Nandi.)

  • They were strongly united behind the Orkoiyiot.
  • The forested Nandi countryside, with which the British were unfamiliar, was effectively used to the advantage of Nandi fighters.
  • They got help from Kipsigis fighters.
  • Through the regimental Age Set system, they were adequately supplied with warriors.
  • Their mixed economy substantially aided them. They were able to live on their livestock even after the burning and destruction of their crops by the British. v They had skills to manufacture iron weapons.
  • Their territory‟s wet and cold climate caused respiratory diseases among British troops. v Regular supply of food and war equipment sustained the fighters for a long time.
  • They had an effective disciplined army with military experience gained against the Maasai and other neighbouring communities.

 Explain why the Nandi were defeated by the British.

(What were the reasons for Nandi defeat in their revolt against the British? Or: Explain why the Nandi lost in their war against British invasion of their territory. Or:

Why were the Nandi eventually subdued by the British?)

  • They were affected by Smallpox, which killed many of their warriors.
  • The death of their leader: Koitalel Arap Samoei in 1905 completely demoralized them. v The Scorched-Earth policy (burning, looting and destruction) employed by the British soldiers caused famine and starvation among the Nandi.
  • The British brought in reinforcement of Indian, Somali and Swahili fighters.
  • Nandi traditional weaponry was no much for the European guns.
  • The British disrupted (interfered with) the regimental age set system, which supplied the Nandi with young warriors.

What were the effects/results of Nandi resistance against British occupation?

(Explain the impact of Nandi resistance against British occupation. Or: What were the consequences of Nandi-British confrontation?)

  • The Nandi lost their independence to  the colonizers.
  • There was great loss of life on the side of the Nandi.
  • The Nandi were left with no leadership following the death of Koitalel Arap Samoei: their  Orkoiyot.
  • The Nandi suffered extensive destruction of property e.g. crops, homes and livestock.
  • The British alienated (took away) Nandi land and pushed the Nandi into reserves.
  • The Nandi military organization disintegrated
  • The Nandi became a cheap source of labour for the British farms.
  • Nandi warriors were recruited into the colonial police force.
  • Many white settlers occupied Nandi land and started tea plantations.
  • The Nandi became squatters in the farms of the British settlers.
  • Disruption of Nandi economic lifestyle.
  • Separation of the Nandi from their cousins: the Kipsigis to prevent any future alliance against the British.
  • Loss of Nandi dignity and leadership in the region.



The Agiriama are Bantu-speaking inhabitants of coastal Kenya. They belong to the Mijikenda community of the Coastal Bantu division of the Eastern Bantu.

Explain why the Giriama resisted British occupation and rule.

  • Mazrui Arab and Swahili resistance to colonial rule in 1895.
  • The bad manner in which the Imperial British East Africa company was conducting its business at the coast.
  • Encroachment of Omani and Al-Busaidi Arabs on Mijikenda territory.
  • Forced conscription of Agiriama warriors into the King‟s African Rifles for military service.
  • Massive land alienation, making the Agiriama to seek wage employment on white farms.
  • Insult to Agiriama culture by British officials, who raped Agiriama women.
  • Agiriama dislike of British-appointed headmen, who disregarded Agiriama interests.
  • viii)The British middlemen took over the Giriama trade in ivory and foodstuffs.
  • Forced payment of taxes in form of labour instead of paying from the sales of cattle or grains.
  • The Agiriama were forced to work for the British for little or no pay on the land that had been snatched from them.

Explain the course of Agiriama resistance against the British. (Explain the process of Agiriama revolt against British invasion/occupation.)

  • Inspired by their prophetess: Mekati Lili Wa Menza and an elder called Wanje Wa Madorika, the Agiriama engaged in a mass resistance against British rule by rejecting forced labour, military conscription to the First World War army and the collection of taxes. They barred their young men from moving outside their villages and caused some to migrate to marginal areas such as Taru  desert to avoid or escape from British administrators.
  • Mekati Lili and Wanje Wa Madorika called on the Agiriama to return to their ancestral shrine at the Kaya Fungo and offer sacrifice. They denounced all puppet rulers, emphasizing their support for the Agiriama council of elders.
  • Traditional oaths (Mukushe-kushe for women and Fisi for Men) were administered to unite and inspire Agiriama warriors to wage a serious war against the British.
  • Unfortunately, Lili and Wanje were arrested and deported to Kisii, paving the way for easy British suppression of the resistance by bombarding the Kaya villages, where the Giriama were staying.
  • Under Fadhili Bin Omar, the Arabs offered themselves for mediation between the British and the Agiriama, which brought the resistance to an end.

Explain the role of Mekati Lili Wa Menza in the Agiriama resistance against British invasion/occupation. (State the importance of Mekati Lili Wa Menza in the Agiriama resistance against the British.)

  • She rallied the people together against a common enemy.
  • She administered oaths to encourage and unite the Agiriama in facing the British.
  • Her leadership shows the importance of women in the struggle for Kenya‟s independence.
  • She presented Agiriama grievances, some of which the British later addressed.

 What were the effects/results of Agiriama resistance?

(Explain the impact/consequences of Agiriama revolt against British invasion/occupation).

  • Disruption to the community‟s economic activities e.g. trade at Takaungu, where they served as middlemen.
  • Agiriama defeat due to the ruthlessness adopted by the
  • Prohibition of the brewing of traditional liquor, which for the Giriama was a crucial social and economic activity.
  • Closure of the Agiriama shrine at Kaya Fungo and building of a new one at Mangea. Ø Impoverishment of the Agiriama as the British burnt, looted and confiscated foodstuffs, livestock and other valuables.
  • Massive loss of life, especially on the side of the Agiriama.
  • Loss of Agiriama independence to the British.
  • Disunity and disintegration of the Agiriama, especially after Lili and Wanje were deported to Kisii.



Bukusu rebellion against British intrusion into their territory from 1895 was one of the earliest and most fierce resistance to British authority in western Kenya.

What were the reasons for Bukusu resistance against British authority in the Western Kenya region? (Explain the causes of Bukusu revolt/uprising against the British).

  • To safeguard Bukusu independence.
  • Forced Bukusu recognition of Nabongo Mumia as overall leader of the Luhyia.
  • British demand for Bukusu surrender of all the guns they possessed.
  • British confiscation of Bukusu livestock, grains and other valuables.
  • British interference with and disregard for Bukusu culture and tradition.
  • Introduction of forced labour and taxation.
  • Forced conscription of the Bukusu into the British military and police force.
  • Ruthlessness of British agents and officials.

Identify two places where the Bukusu confronted (fought with) the British. (In what two places did the Bukusu and the British confront each other?) The British and the Bukusu confronted each other at:

  • Lumboka fort near Bungoma
  • Chetambe on the Webuye hill.

Explain the course/process of Bukusu resistance against the British.

  • The Commanding Officer at Kavirondo in western Kenya had sent a trade caravan to the Ravine station. Sadly, the caravan was ambushed by the Bukusu and all rifles taken. Ø The British authorities unsuccessfully commanded Bukusu surrender of all the arms in their possession.

The British then sent a punitive expedition, which was defeated by the Bukusu. Ø On hearing the news, Charles Hobley: the British administrator based at Mumias, appealed for help from the Uganda protectorate, which they got, for Major William Grant sent a contingent of Sudanese and Baganda Mercenaries.

  • In 1895, two battles were fought at Lumboka near Bungoma and at Chetambe on the Webuye hill, in which the Bukusu were summarily defeated and were therefore subjected to British occupation and eventual colonization.
  • The Bukusu launched more resistance attempts, but without any success, because their spears, bows and arrows, coupled with their lack of knowledge on how to use guns meant nothing much for the British and their superior weapons.

 What were the effects of Bukusu resistance against British occupation?

(Explain the impact of Bukusu resistance again the British).

  • Total disruption to the Bukusu economy as their livestock and other valuables were looted, confiscated or destroyed by the British and their agents.
  • Alienation of the Bukusu from their land and territory, which was declared British protectorate.
  • Capture and imprisonment of Bukusu women and children.
  • Massive loss of life, especially on the side of the Bukusu.
  • Interference with and disruption of Bukusu culture and tradition as some Bukusu were converted to Christianity while the rest became atheists, aping European ways.
  • Loss of or poor leadership as British-appointed puppets took control, disregarding Bukusu interests.



The British initially paid no attention to Somaliland. It was only when the race for acquisition of Kenya reached its climax that the British declared Jubaland province a British protectorate, a move that the Somali and their leader: Ahmed Bin Murgan harshly reacted to.

 What were the causes of Somali resistance?

(Identify the factors that led to Somali resistance against the British. Or:

State the reasons for Somali revolt/uprising against the British.)

  • Their strong opposition to  Christian  British domination, which would undermine Islam.
  • Punitive expeditions sent on their land by the British.
  • British prevention of cattle raids against neighbouring communities, which the Somali saw as interference with their normal cultural practice.
  • Division of Somaliland into Italian and British spheres of influence, which in turn divided the Darod and Hawiye clans in 1890.
  • Desire to secure their pastureland and watering points from British interference. Ø Desire to carry on with their nomadic lifestyle while the British compelled them to settle down.
  • Explain the course/process of Somali resistance against the British.
  • In reaction to the injuries inflicted by British expeditions, the Somali raided the Kismayu neighbourhood in 1898, a neighbourhood that was by then a British sphere of influence.
  • The British initially made very limited attacks against the Somali.
  • In 1900, the  Somali murdered Jenner, who was British sub commissioner for Jubaland. Ø In response, the British sent a successful but not decisively victorious punitive expedition of Indian contingents against the Somali.
  • In 1905, the Somali, who by then had procured fire arms, launched a nine year HitAnd-Run battle, which was contained in 1914 with the change of boundaries.
  • In 1925, parts of British Somaliland were put under Italian Somaliland, thereby ending the conflict.

 Explain why the British initially made very limited attacks against the Somali.

  • Such attacks were enormously expensive in terms of arms and military personnel.
  • Suppressing the Somali was difficult and time consuming due to their nomadic lifestyle.
  • It was not economically justifiable to wage a war only to gain a small highly unproductive territory.

What were the consequences/results of Somali resistance against British invasion/occupation? (Explain the results/impact of Somali revolt against British invasion/occupation.)

  • Loss of Somali independence following the declaration of Protectorate status.
  • Confiscation of Somali cattle by the British and their agents.
  • Massive loss of life, especially on the side of the Somali.
  • Division of the Darod and Hawiye clans.
  • The Europeans began to venture more into northern Kenya.
  • Many Somali were recruited into the colonial force.



Explain why some Kenyan communities collaborated with the British.

Kenyan communities who collaborated with the British did so, mainly because:

  • They stood to lose and were at a disadvantage.
  • Their weapons were inferior.
  • Their fighters were ill-trained.
  • They were weakened due to natural calamities.

Identify Kenyan communities that collaborated with European rule.

  • The Maasai,
  • The Wanga,
  • Sections of Abaluhyia.
  • The Agikuyu.
  • The Akamba,
  • The Luo.


 Explain the background/beginning of Maasai collaboration with the British.

The Maasai,   Nilotic-speaking people who inhabit the plains of the Rift Valley were basically cattle keepers, though some of them (the Kwavi) were mixed farmers. Ø Although  the Maasai were greatly feared, especially by European explorers and foreigners, their history dramatically changed with the death of Mbatian (the leader of the Purko Maasai)  in the 19th century, because succession struggles gripped the entire Maasai community, with devastating consequences.

By 1878, the Purko Maasai had split into two i.e. those under Sendeyo and others under Lenana. Sendeyo and Lenana were the two sons of Mbatian.

  • Due to great rivalry between the two groups, Lenana‟s Maasai were greatly weakened, making Lenana look for an ally to rescue him and his people from this state of affairs.
  • Lenana‟s collaboration with the Europeans perplexed many, given the fierce reputation of the Maasai community.

State the reasons for Maasai collaboration with the British.

  • Numerous human and cattle diseases like Rinderpest and Smallpox, which had weakened the community by the time of British penetration.
  • They were afflicted by natural calamities like drought, locust invasion and famine, which caused massive loss of livestock: the lifeblood of Maasai economy.
  • High Maasai death toll due to severe famine and other natural calamities.
  • They suffered devastating raids from the Nandi, who had emerged as a strong power. Ø Civil wars among the Maasai, which greatly undermined Maasai power for half a century.
  • Hope for British provision of the much needed military support. Ø Need for food to save the Maasai from near starvation.
  • Lenana‟s desire to consolidate his position and that of his kingdom.
  • Desire to get back Maasai women and children, who had sought refuge among the Agikuyu due to famine in 1891 but who the Agikuyu were refusing to surrender.
  • The community reconsidered resistance against the British after a Scottish trader: Andrew Dick and his two French companions killed 100 Maasai people in the Kedong massacre.

 Explain the course/process of Maasai collaboration with the British.

  • To secure assistance against Sendeyo, the Maasai warriors accepted to get and were recruited as mercenaries in the British army in return for cattle confiscated from communities such as the Nandi and the Luo of Ugenya.
  • Maasai warriors attacked and killed some Agikuyu and Swahili caravan traders who were on their way from Eldama Ravine across the Kedong valley.
  • In response, a Scottish trader called Andrew Dick and his two French companions opened fire on and killed 100 Maasai.
  • Filled with fear and awe as to how just three men could kill as many as 100 people within a short moment, the Maasai immediately sought peace.
  • An agreement was arranged for and signed between the British and the Maasai in 1904, by which Maasai reserves i.e. Laikipia plateau to the north and the Ngong‟ area to the south, with a 5km corridor and road set aside and constructed to connect the two reserves.
  • Another Anglo-Maasai treaty was arranged for and signed in 1911, by which the Maasai were shifted from Laikipia and pushed to the southern reserve.

Although the Maasai collaborated to gain support and other benefits, they lost more and benefited least from their cooperation with the British.

 What were the results of Maasai collaboration with the British.

  • An end to their custom of livestock cross-breeding with their Samburu neighbours.
  • British recognition of Lenana as Maasai Paramount chief in 1901.
  • British use of some Maasai as mercenaries against resisting communities.
  • Total disruption of Maasai Cattle economy.

Division of the Purko Maasai into Loita and Ngong‟ groups, which led to separation of related Maasai clans.

  • Disruption and disintegration of Maasai territory and integrity.
  • Loss of Maasai independence as their land was declared British Protectorate. Ø Massive land alienation as the British took up Maasai land, confining the Maasai in reserves.
  • Interference with and limit to Maasai initiation and other cultural practices and rites due to creation of a five-square-mile reserve, which was too small for them.
  • The Maasai got rewards in form of cattle and grains looted from their hostile neighbours and leaders such as the Nandi, Agikuyu and the Luo.



The Wanga: a section of Abaluhyia, were a centralized community under the King (Nabongo). At the time of European invasion and occupation of Kenya, the Wanga were ruled by Nabongo Mumia. Mumia and his Wanga people collaborated with and did not resist the British.

  Explain why Nabongo Mumia collaborated with the British.

(Explain why the Wanga collaborated with the British.)

Nabongo Mumia led the Wanga into collaboration with the British colonialists because:

  • He wanted his people to benefit from British Western civilization, Particularly education and Christianity.
  • He wanted to consolidate his position as king and to be made paramount chief of the Wanga and the entire Western Kenya Region.
  • He knew that the British would most likely declare Western Kenya their sphere of influence, especially after they declared Uganda a protectorate in 1894.
  • He hoped for British protection against his traditional rivals e. the Luo of Ugenya, the Bukusu and the Nandi.
  • He knew that his small Wanga community would not cost much to the might of the British force, which was much larger. He had seen the futility of resistance and wanted to spare his people from blood-shed.
  • He sought help to acquire more territory for his people. He sent his agents to lay claims to Buholo, south Bukusu, Kabaras, Marama, Butsotso, Samia and Kimilili.
  • He wanted to acquire more powerful modern weapons like fire arms for his army.

Explain the course of Wanga collaboration with the British. (Analyse the process of Wanga collaboration with the British.)

  • When the British declared Uganda their protectorate in 1894, Mumia was ready to be their ally, hoping that just like the Arab and Swahili had earlier done, the British would pass through and not occupy Wanga territory on their way to Uganda.
  • The Swahili and Arab traders, who Mumia had earlier befriended, later teamed up with the Imperial British East Africa Company merchants.
  • Overwhelmed by Mumia‟s hospitality, Company agents and caravan traders built a fort and trading station at Mumia‟s capital: Elureko.
  • In 1909, Mumia was declared Paramount chief by the British as a reward for his help in subduing the Luo, Bukusu and Nandi. His men were used as British agents. Ø Elureko (the capital of Wanga kingdom) was later named Mumias in honour of Nabongo Mumia himself and in recognition of his hospitality.


Explain why the British valued their friendship with Nabongo Mumia.

(Explain the importance of Nabongo Mumia to the British. Or:

In what ways was Nabongo Mumia‟s friendship important to the British? Or: Explain the importance of Wanga Kingdom to the British.)

On their part, the British valued their friendship with Mumia because:

  • They needed and used Wanga warriors to fight against the Luo and the Nandi. Ø Elureko, which was the Wanga capital, was important as a calling station as the British travelled to Uganda.
  • The British would easily obtain food from Wanga territory without using force. They gave the food to their officials and army.
  • They were impressed by Nabongo‟s hospitality, unlike other hostile and resistant communities.

Mumias remained the headquarters of British administration in Western Kenya up to 1920 when it was moved to Kakamega. Even after that, it was still an important point for the British administration.

What were the results/effects of Wanga collaboration with the British?

(Explain the impact/consequences of Wanga collaboration with the British. Or:

Explain the outcome of Wanga collaboration with the British.)

  • Intensified enmity and hostility between the Wanga and other Luhyia subsections.
  • Mumia‟s honour and declaration as Paramount Chief.
  • Material benefit for the Wanga through trade, Western education and religion. Ø International use of Wanga warriors as agents of British colonialism by subduing resisting communities.
  • Use of Wanga agents by the British to rule indirectly over western Kenya.
  • Use of Mumias as a major terminus for trade caravans to Uganda, from where Mumia and his people benefited a lot.
  • expansion of Wanga kingdom by annexing new territories in Samia, Bunyala and Busonga.
  • Establishment of a base by the Imperial British East Africa company at Mumias, which became the centre for colonial administration in western Kenya up to 1920.
  • Ready provision of vital information over the appointment of chiefs and headmen in western Kenya.
  • Eventual loss of Wanga independence after the British declared Kenya their colony in 1920.



In facing colonial rule, some African communities exhibited a mixed reaction, whereby  some sections of them cooperated with as others resisted European rule.

Identify Kenyan communities whose section cooperated with while others resisted British colonial rule.

  • The Akamba,
  • The Agikuyu,
  • The Luo.


The Akamba: a Bantu community  in Eastern province of Kenya, came into contact and conflict with the British following the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company in their territory in 1890.

 Explain the reasons for Akamba resistance against British colonial rule.

(Why did the Akamba resist British colonial rule?)

  • British attempts to prevent Akamba raids on their neighbours which the Akamba saw as interference with a normal cultural practice. The British even established garrisons at Muala and Mukuyuni to prevent Akamba warriors from engaging in raids.
  • Disruption of Long-Distance trade by Company agents.
  • Subjection of the Akamba to forced labour especially for public work.
  • Loss of independence for the Akamba.
  • Raping of Akamba women among other forms of abuse to Akamba Ø Frequent disruption of Akamba peace by sending British military expeditions against them.
  • Confiscation and looting of Akamba property.
  • The building of a fort at what is now Machakos by the local British administrators in 1890.
  • British lack of respect for Akamba traditions e.g. by cutting down and using sacred Ithembu (shrine) trees as flag-poles at Mutituni in 1891.

Identify the Akamba leaders who spearheaded resistance against the British.

(Name the leaders who facilitated Akamba resistance against the British.)

Among the  Akamba leaders who spearheaded resistance against the British were: Ø Nzivu Mweu, who organized a boycott and refused to sell goods to the Imperial British East Africa Company in  1890.

  • Syonguu: a prophetess, who ordered warriors in Iveti to attack the Masaku fort in 1890.
  • Mwatu Wa Ngoma: an Akamba warrior, who ordered the warriors to attack the British. Ø Mwana Muka from Kangundo, who incited the Akamba against the British camps at Mukuyuni and Mwala, leading to the killing of six members of the British force.

Explain the process of Akamba resistance against British colonial rule. (Analyse the course of Akamba resistance against the British.)

  • In 1890, Under Nzivu Mweu, the Akamba boycotted sale of goods to Agents of the Imperial British East Africa Company.
  • In the same 1890, Syonguu: a ritual prophetess, organized and led an Iveti Akamba rebellion against the British stationed at Masaku for cutting down an Ithembu tree for a flag-pole.
  • In 1894, inspired by the blessing from their medicine men, the Akamba under Mwatu Wa Ngoma attacked the British at their Masaku fort for stopping them from raiding their neighbours. They were however stopped by John Ainsworth: the District Commissioner. For self-interest, Mwatu became Ainsworth‟s ally.
  • Akamba resistance continued under Mwana Muka from Kangundo, who urged the Akamba to attack Mwatu Wa Ngoma‟s village and the British garrisons in Mwala and Mukuyuni, for such garrisons were established to prevent the Akamba from going on raids. Ø In response, Ainsworth unsuccessfully sent 950 Maasai warriors against Mwana Muka and his people, who organized more attacks and put a blockade at Lukenya, cutting off communication between Machakos and Fort Smith.
  • A second expedition of Kikuyu and Maasai warriors was sent, which devastated Kangundo area. The Maasai mercenaries confiscated Akamba livestock, paralyzing the Akamba economically. Mwana Muka was forced to sue for peace.
  • The British established a detachment of the Kenya African Rifles at Kangundo.

However, Akamba resistance continued well into the 20th century.

 Explain why some Akamba collaborated with British colonial rule.

Some Akamba e.g. those under Mwatu Wa Ngoma eventually collaborated with the British in different ways for various reasons such as the following:

  • They were defeated on various occasions. The Akamba under Mwatu Way Gnome were stopped by Ainsworth in their attack on the Masaku fort.
  • The ruthlessness with which the British attacked the Akamba scared many warriors. For instance, in 1891 when Prophetess Syonguu mobilized Akamba warriors, the Machakos Superintendent: Leith, dispatched troops with rifles, which devastated the area, killing people
  • The Akamba lost a lot of property, especially livestock, with no compensation or replacement. For example, the 1891 uprising against Masaku fort was suppressed through burning, looting and killing, which impoverished the Akamba.
  • Akamba collaborators were rewarded. After Ainsworth suppressed Mwatu Way Ngoma‟s Akamba revolt in 1894, many Akamba became collaborators and supported John Ainsworth in return for gifts of grains and cattle confiscated from the Agikuyu and the Maasai.
  • The devastating famine of 1899 made many Akimbo to collaborate with the British to get food.
  • Some leaders of the Akamba collaborated so that they could benefit more in trade with the British at Machakos.

 Explain why the Akamba were defeated by the British. (Explain why the Akamba lost in their resistance against the British.)

  • Some of them were weakened by the 1899 famine.
  • They lost their source of livelihood as their caravan trade and raiding activities were disrupted.
  • Self-seeking opportunists emerge, who allied and enriched themselves with the colonial agents.
  • Some Akamba were pacified by Missionaries as their religious beliefs and traditional practices were undermined.
  • They lacked coordination in their resistance since they were a highly segmented society.

 Explain the consequences/impact of the Akamba reaction to British colonial rule. (What were the effects/results of the Akamba reaction to British colonial rule.)

  • Burning and looting of villages.
  • Forced conscription of Akimbo men into the army to fight in the First World War.
  • Large-scale land-alienation for white settlement.
  • Introduction of Poll tax.
  • Massive loss of Akamba lives.
  • Declaration of Protectorate status over Akamba territory.
  • The British interfered with Akamba culture.
  • In spite of Akamba bravery, British rule was imposed over them, though with some reforms. e.g. there was to be no free food for British officials touring Ukambani.


                         THE LUO REACTION

The Luo of Sakwa, Seme, Uyoma, Ugenya and Kisumu resisted while those of Gem and Asembo collaborated with British rule. Outstanding resisters were the Luo of Ugenya.

Explain why some of the Luo resisted British colonial rule. (Give reasons for Luo resistance against British colonial rule.

  • Need to protect their land.
  • Fear of losing their freedom.
  • Frequent British attacks on them for grains and livestock.
  • Frequent and numerous punitive expeditions against them.

Analyse the process of Luo resistance against British colonial rule. (Explain the course of Luo resistance to British invasion/occupation of their territory.)

  • To expand their territory, the Luo of Ugenya invaded Wanga Kingdom and accommodated Wanga deserters.
  • Then they attacked and vandalized German stations and British telegraph wires.
  • In response, the British sent an expedition (which was successful) against the Luo of Ugenya in 1896.
  • The Luo on Winam gulf in Kisumu attacked a British canoe party for taking fish from them without paying.
  • After several punitive raids, the Luo of Ugenya were also overcome.

The Luo of Gem under Odera Akang‟o and those from Asembo supported the British.

Explain why some section of the Luo collaborated with British colonial rule.

  • Influence by neighbouring Wanga community.
  • Need to subdue the Luo of Sakwa, Seme, Uyoma and Ugenya.
  • Superiority of the British force and weapons.
  • Internal leadership disputes.

What were the results/effects of the Luo reaction to British colonial rule? (Explain the impact/consequences of the Luo reaction to British colonial rule.) Ø Hatred (increased hostility) between collaborators and resisters.

  • Land alienation to pave the way for British occupation and settlement.
  • Massive loss of life, especially among the Luo of Ugenya.
  • Replacement of African political leadership systems with British ones.
  • Loss of independence for both resisters and collaborators.
  • Establishment of schools and missions in Luo areas for spreading Western education and religion.
  • Looting and burning, which caused loss of property and poverty in Luo territory.



Similarly, among the Agikuyu were those who  collaborated with and those who actively resisted British rule. There were various reasons for this Agikuyu mixed reaction.

Explain why some Agikuyu sided with British rule. (State the reasons why some Gikuyu leaders collaborated with British rule).

Gikuyu leaders such as Kinyanjui Way Gathirimu and Karuri Wa Gakure sided with British rule because:

  • They got personal wealth and prestige through company trade.
  • They wanted protection and recognition of their positions of leadership.
  • They needed protection from their local enemies, whom they suppressed with British support.
  • They knew very well that, with their inferior weapons, they would not mean much to the might of the British force and weaponry.
  • They wanted to benefit from Christianity and Western education.

Explain why some Agikuyu resisted British rule. (Give reasons for Gikuyu resistance against British rule. Or:

Why did sections of the Agikuyu resist British rule?)

  • Fear for loss of independence and power, particularly for leaders such as Waiyaki Wa Hinga.
  • Forced supply of grains to railway, trade and mail caravans.
  • Imperial British East Africa Company raids for grains and cattle in the Agikuyu countryside, during which the people, especially women were harassed.
  • Interference with Gikuyu culture, especially by Missionaries, who the Agikuyu saw as not different from Imperial agents.
  • Massive land alienation for white settlement.
  • Excessive force, which the British applied to enforce their policies. Many punitive expeditions were sent to force them to accept British rule.

Explain the process/organization of the Agikuyu reaction against British rule.

(Analyse the course of Gikuyu reaction to British rule.)

  • In 1890, captain Lugard established a fort at Dagoreti for procurement of food from the local people. He entered into an understanding with Waiyaki Way Hinga: the Agikuyu elder who was in charge of the area.
  • When Lugard left for Uganda, captain Wilson took charge. But Wilson could not manage his soldiers as Lugard had done.
  • Caravan traders started stealing food and livestock from the Agikuyu, who reacted by setting fort Dagoreti on fire.
  • John Farnsworth: the then sub commissioner, sent a punitive expedition against Waiyaki. Waiyaki was arrested and died through mysterious circumstances while he was being deported to Mombasa.
  • Fort smith was closed down in 1899 and another fort was opened in Murang‟a by Francis Hall. It was called Fort Mbiri, but was renamed Fort Hall after Hall‟s death in 1901. This fort was built after subduing and forcing the Agikuyu in the area to accept British rule.
  • Waiyaki‟s land was given to the settlers and missionaries who came after 1902. Kinyanjui Wa Gathirimu, who had worked with the British just before Fort Dagoreti was destroyed, succeeded Waiyaki.
  • The Fort Hall and Nyeri Agikuyu were conquered with the help of John Boyes, who arrived at Fort Hall looking for food and ivory for his railway survey parties. He forged alliances with two Gikuyu leaders i.e. Karuri Way Gakure of Fort Hall and Wang‟ombe of Gaki (Nyeri), both of who  supplied him with Agikuyu mercenaries, who supported the British in return for the loot confiscated from resisting groups.
  • In 1904, the Agikuyu of Iriaini were subdued ruthlessly, causing the Aembu, who were their allies to petition for peace in 1906 after Meinertzhagen turned against them. Similarly, the Ameru gave in without much of a struggle, having seen the effects of resistance.

By 1910, the entire Mount Kenya region had been subdued by the British. Many Agikuyu were confined in reserves, where they settled peacefully up to the 1920s when political agitation surfaced again.

 Explain the results/impact of the Agikuyu reaction to British rule. (What were the consequences of the Agikuyu reaction to British rule?)

  • Emergence of Home guards, colonial headmen and many other agents of British rule in Kenya.
  • Massive destruction of property.
  • Western education and conversion to Christianity for those who collaborated. Ø Shift of base by the British from fort Dagoreti to Fort Smith and later Fort Hall due to constant Agikuyu raids.
  • More hatred and animosity in Kikuyuland, with each section lacking trust for the other. Ø Massive loss of life, especially on the side of the Agikuyu, many of whose leaders and fighters were killed.
  • Enormous wealth and rise to prominence by some leaders due to collaboration. Ø Loss of Gikuyu independence as their resistance was highly segmentary and isolated into a few sections that were easily suppressed.
  • Massive land alienation, which was carried out with the help of collaborating leaders for white settlement in Kikuyuland.
  • Eventual declaration of British Protectorate status over Kikuyu territory, leading to British colonization.
  • Death of Gikuyu leaders and warriors such as Chief Waiyaki Way

Explain why Kenyan communities were defeated/subdued by the British. (Explain why Kenyan communities failed/lost in their resistance against British colonial rule.)  Various factors led to the defeat of African communities by the British during establishment of colonial rule in Kenya as follows:

  • The communities were not united. While some like the Nandi resisted, Others like the Wanga collaborated with  British rule.
  • They had inferior weapons which were no much for British fire-arms.
  • African soldiers had little knowledge of the British military tactics.
  • They had been weakened by catastrophes such as famine, Rinderpest outbreak and civil strife in the 1890s.
  • Their leaders lacked organizational skills to mobilize the people against the British.
  • The British used treachery when dealing with some communities e.g. the Nandi.
  • The British destroyed the economic base of the communities, thus making them weak. v The warriors got demoralized when many of their colleagues and leaders were captured and killed.
  • The Kenya-Uganda railway facilitated faster movement of British troops.



After subduing indigenous Kenyan communities, the British embarked on establishing a Central  and local government for efficient and effective administration. Subjection of Kenyan Africans to British rule was accomplished when the seat of colonial administration was shifted from Zanzibar to Nairobi in 1905.

Explain the problems faced by the British in their effort to establish a good system of administration in Kenya up to 1914. (Explain the factors that undermined British efforts to establish a good system of administration in Kenya up to 1914.)

  • They lacked both funds and experts to facilitate colonial administration in Africa, let alone Kenya.
  • They lacked a Reference model of an administrative system like that of the traditional Buganda that could be emulated by Kenyan communities for the purpose of administration.
  • Most of the chiefs selected by the British lacked legitimacy, for they were rejected by the African elders, who regarded them as nonentities as well as the young generations, who saw them as instruments of colonial exploitation and oppression.
  • Many chiefs used their power to acquire riches in terms of tracts of land, Livestock and wives.
  • British-appointed African leaders depended on the British for military support, which the Africans disliked and which was difficult for the British to provide.

Because of these problems, the British used the Indirect system of administration wherever and whenever possible. In communities with traditional chiefs such as the Wanga and the Maasai, the existing chiefs were recognized by the British.

Explain three main duties of chiefs as stipulated by the 1902 Village Headman  Ordinance. (What were the main duties of chiefs as provided for by the 1902 Village Headman Ordinance?)

In 1902, the Village-Headman Ordinance was enacted, which gave chiefs three main duties:

  • Maintenance of public order.
  • Hearing of petty cases.
  • Clearing of roads and foot-paths.

In 1912, through another ordinance, the chiefs‟ powers and responsibilities were increased. For instance, they and their assistants were allowed to employ other persons to assist them such as messengers and retainers.

Kenya was further divided into provinces, districts, divisions and locations under Provincial Commissioners, District Commissioners, District Officers and chiefs for the purpose of administration.


                          CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

Describe central government in colonial Kenya. (How was Central government in colonial Kenya organized?)

  • Central Government management was coordinated through the advisory and Executive Council, which guided the Governor and effected colonial policies.
  • The Legislative Council was established in 1907 to give  legitimacy to laws enacted for the colony.
  • The Governor was in charge of the entire colony and was answerable to the Colonial Secretary.
  • The Kenya Protectorate was divided into Provinces headed by Provincial Commissioners, who served as representatives of the Governor.

Outline the structure/hierarchy of central government in colonial Kenya. v The Colonial Secretary, who was based in London and was the head of British administration in all the colonies.

  • The Governor, who was based in Nairobi and represented the British government in the colony.
  • Provincial Commissioners (P.C).
  • District Commissioners (D.C).
  • District Officers (D.O).

 Explain the  functions of the following in colonial Kenya: 

  • The colonial Secretary,
  • The Governor,
  • The Provincial Commissioner,
  • The District Commissioner,
  • The District Officer,
  • The Chief,
  • The Village Headman.
  • Was the political head of the British colonial administration.
  • Was overall coordinator of colonial policies discussed by the cabinet and the British Parliament.
  • Represented the British government in Kenya.
  • Reported to the Colonial Secretary in conjunction with the advisory council.
  • Headed the Executive Council, which implemented colonial policies and programs. v Gave assent to laws from the Legislative Council before they were implemented.
  • Represented the Governor in the province.
  • Implemented the policies and laws enacted.
  • Would supervise the work of District Commissioners, District Officers and the entire provincial administration on behalf of the Governor.
  • Was in charge of policy implementation in the district.
  • Maintained law and order and ensured security in their areas of jurisdiction.
  • Presided over District advisory Committees.
  • Coordinated the work of Chiefs and District officers.
  • Implemented orders from the District Commissioners.
  • Coordinated the work of Chiefs.
  • Maintained law and order in their divisions.
  • Represented the Governor at divisional level.
  • Linked people to the governor at local levels.
  • Maintained law and order within the Locations.
  • Coordinated the work of headmen.
  • Tax collection.
  • Labour recruitments for public works and for European settlers.
  • Linked people to the Government at the grassroots level.
  • Mobilized their people for development within their villages.
  • Maintained law and order at the Village level.

Chiefs and headmen mainly carried out their duties in the African Reserves, where movement and freedom were completely restricted.

                         LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Trace the origin of local government in Kenya. (Describe Local Government in colonial Kenya.)

  • Local government was established in 1902 when, through the Village-Headman Ordinance, the Provincial Commissioner was empowered to appoint natives as village headmen.
  • It had the task of providing specific services to the people residing in particular localities.
  • Unlike central Government which dealt with administration of the whole country, Local Government formed an important part in administering the political process of Kenya. Explain the functions of local government in colonial Kenya. (What was the role of local government in colonial Kenya? Or:

Why did the British government introduce Local Government in Kenya? Or:

State the reasons why the British government introduced local government in Kenya.) ü Provision of a legal forum for the local people to make decisions on their day to day affairs        through committees.

  • To make use of local resources to achieve development.
  • To link central government to the rural community.
  • To provide a means through which the government would understand the Africans better.
  • To involve the local people in administration.

Trace the origin of Local Native councils in Kenya.

  • Local Native Councils were established in 1922 after the Legico had passed the Native Authority Ordinance, following a request from the African leadership for a forum through which their grievances would be addressed by the colonial government. ü In 1924, District Advisory Councils were renamed Local Native Councils. ü Members of the Local Native Councils were appointed by the Provincial Commissioners from among the Chiefs, Headmen and Religious Leaders.
  • The Councils‟ decisions could not be implemented unless approved by the provincial Commissioner and the Governor.
  • The Council was chaired by the District Commissioner, who had overriding For instance, he would decide on the agenda, refuse to allow discussion of certain issues or suspend any councillor whenever he wished.
  • In many cases, the Provincial Commissioner overruled the decisions of the Council.
  • These councils started with the system of nomination, but they later became elective. ü In 1948, Local Native councils were renamed The African District Councils (A.D.C), with Paschal Nabwane as their first African chairman.
  • In spite of their change of name, the African District Councils remained the Local Authority organ in African areas until independence in 1963.
  • To maintain law and order, the police and the King‟s African Rifles were used.
  • In 1902, an Inspector-General from India was appointed to coordinate their activities. Later, the Kenya Police Reserve, regular police and the Prisons Service were created to maintain discipline,, law, order and good governance in the entire colony.
  • In White-Settler areas, District Councils were established much earlier than any others.

They had wide powers and considerable independence.

What were the objectives of the Local Native Councils in colonial Kenya?

  • To encourage and develop a sense of responsibility and duty among Africans.
  • To provide a mechanism of educated Africans to articulate their requests at the District level.
  • To ensure proper restriction of Africans in their Reserves.
  • To provide a means for the government to understand and contain the African.
  • Achievement of these objectives would be realized through:
  • Restriction of African activities, especially political agitation.
  • Provision of basic social needs such as water, cattle dips, public health, education and markets.
  • Maintenance of basic infrastructure.
  • Collection of taxes to finance their operation.

 What were the consequences of Local Native Councils in colonial Kenya? (Explain the effects of Local Native Councils in colonial Kenya.) ü African political agitation was confined to the Reserves.

  • Some developments like provision of water, cattle-dips, markets and schools in African areas took place in the reserves.
  • The basic infrastructure like roads were established in African Reserves.
  • The collection of taxes was streamlined through the Local Native Councils.
  • They helped in the arbitration of disputes against Africans.
  • They helped in the maintenance of law and order.

Name the European District councils that were established following the recommendations of a commission of enquiry in 1916.

In 1916, six European District Councils were established on the recommendation of a Commission of Enquiry. These were:

  • Nakuru,
  • Uasingishu,
  • Nairobi,
  • Kisumu,
  • Naivasha,
  • Trans-Nzoia.
  • Aberdare District Council, which was set up in 1939.

In urban areas, local government was also determined by racial considerations.

Explain why Africans did not enjoy the benefits got from Urban councils in colonial Kenya.

  • Urbanization was mainly associated with European and Asian economic activities.
  • Urban Councils were dominated by Europeans, followed by Asians.
  • Although Africans were the majority in towns, they were seen as foreigners and migrant labourers.
  • Africans relied on self-help schemes, with no hope of receiving reasonable social services from the councils.

Explain the impact of Local Government in colonial Kenya. (What were the results/effects of establishment of local government in colonial Kenya?) ü Maintenance of law and order through a small police force set up in 1896.

  • Arbitration of African disputes through the District African Courts.
  • Exploitation of local resources and initiatives in development..
  • The 1906 Indian police act, which established a police force for the Kenya colony.
  • Development of infrastructure and the general welfare of the African sector.
  • Creation of a link between the central government and the local people.

 Explain the factors that undermined local government in colonial Kenya. (Explain the setbacks to local government in colonial Kenya. Or:

What were the weaknesses of local government in colonial Kenya?)   ü Chronic shortage of trained and experienced personnel.

  • Poor transport and communication.
  • Inadequate coordination.
  • Lack of mineral resources.
  • Rivalry between settlers and locals.
  • More revolts as African struggle for freedom intensified.
  • Inadequate revenue for Development programs, projects and day To day operations.
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