What is Philosophy? (Define the term Philosophy. Or: Explain the meaning of the term Philosophy.)

  • Philosophy is a Greek term that means love for Wisdom. Wisdom is the highest knowledge about people, things and God the Creator. Therefore, philosophy aims at explaining the meaning of human existence.

What is a national philosophy? (Define the term National Philosophy. Or: Explain the meaning of the term National Philosophy.)

  • A national philosophy is a system of ideological beliefs and values that are widely accepted within a country, championed particularly by the Ruling party leadership.

 In what ways is a national philosophy important? (Explain the importance of a national philosophy.)

  • It guides the nation towards achievement of set goals.
  • It serves as a motivating factor for the citizens to work collectively.
  • It helps make citizens focused and to have a purpose.
  • It gives meaning to national endeavors and aspirations.
  • It is a yardstick to evaluate national activities and undertakings.
  • It gives a nation an identity.
  • It enhances proper utilization of national resources.
  • It facilitates equitable distribution of national resources.
  • It promotes national unity and integration.
  • It encourages patriotism and positive nationalism.

Identify three national philosophies that are used in Kenya.

  • African socialism,
  • Harambee,
  • Nyayoism

Harambee and Nyayoism are closely related.

                        AFRICAN SOCIALISM

 What is African Socialism?

(Explain the meaning of African socialism as presented in Sessional Paper NO.10 Or: What is African Socialism according to Sessional Paper NO.10?)

  • African socialism is an African philosophy coined by KANU in its manifesto of 1963 after Kenya’s attainment of independence.
  • In 1965, the ideas of the 1963 KANU manifesto were identified and published as sessional paper NO.10 titled African Socialism and its Application to Planning in Kenya.
  • According to sessional paper NO.10, African socialism is a system that is neither imported from nor a blueprint of any foreign country or ideology. It is a positively African system that encourages political, economic and social values essential in African society, capable of incorporating useful and comfortable techniques from whatever source.

Describe/explain the major conditions that  African Socialism set off to fulfill with regard to sessional paper NO.10. 

  • It must draw on the best of African traditions.
  • It must be adaptable to new and rapidly changing circumstances.
  • It must not rest its success on a satellite relationship with any other country or group of countries.

Explain the factors that influenced the adoption of African Socialism in Kenya. (Explain the reasons why African Socialism was adopted in Kenya. Or:

What were the motives for adoption of African Socialism in Kenya? or:

Explain why Kenyan nationalist leaders adopted African Socialism.)

  • Desire to create a new society, different and free from the colonial one.
  • Desire for a just and humane society in which all were considered equal before the law.
  • Recognition of the traditional practice of national social responsibility, with power equally shared among and for the benefit of all Kenyans.
  • To ensure equitable distribution of resources and freedom to own property.
  • Desire for a united and free Kenya where individual rights and freedoms will be granted through a democratic political system.

 Identify the objectives of the Kenyan society according to Sessional paper NO.10.

  • Human dignity and freedom.
  • High, growing and equitably distributed income per capita.
  • Freedom from want, disease and exploitation.
  • Political equality.
  • Equal opportunities.
  • Social justice.

What are the features of African Socialism? (Describe/explain the features of African Socialism. Or: Explain the policies that characterize African Socialism.)

According to sessional paper no.10, African socialism is characterized by the following policies:

  • Political democracy, in which all are free and equal.
  • Mutual social responsibility, derived from African communalism, in which people work to serve others and not for personal gain.
  • Free and varied ownership, E.G free enterprise, nationalism and partnership.
  • Diffusion of ownership whereby economic powers should not be concentrated on a few people.
  • Equality, to be attained in resource use by having a range of controls to ensure that property is used in the interest of the society.
  • Progressive Taxation, adopted to ensure equal distribution of wealth and income.

These are the main ones among many other policies of African socialism as contained in sessional paper  NO.10, all of which have both long term and short-term objectives, most of which have already been achieved.

In what ways is African Socialism important? (Explain the importance of African Socialism. Or: Explain how African Socialism has contributed to social and economic development in Kenya.)

African Socialism is applied to planning in various areas. It has contributed immensely to social and economic development in Kenya, which makes it important in the following ways:

  • It encouraged unity and peaceful co-existence.
  • It has promoted mutual social responsibility through self reliance and hard work.
  • It has helped ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens.
  • It has promoted African culture, based on African traditions.
  • It has boosted fairness and justice through strategies such as District Focus for Rural Development.
  • It has promoted development of the cooperative movement, which has speeded up social and economic growth.
  • It has improved social development in education and health. Education has assisted in achieving social needs.
  • It has promoted agriculture by addressing the problem of land ownership, whereby the landless were settled in settlement schemes as both small and large scale farmers, mainly of cash crops like coffee were encouraged through various incentives.
  • It promoted the policy of africanization as Africans replaced foreigners in commercial and industrial development.
  • It has promoted the democratic process in governance through activities that encourage participation of all citizens in governing their country.

What role has African Socialism played in the democratic process in Kenya? (How has African Socialism promoted the democratic process in Kenya?)

African Socialism has promoted the democratic process in governance through activities that encourage participation of all citizens in governing their country such as:

  • The electoral process.
  • Establishment of a multiparty system of government.
  • Growth of the civil society.
  • Free print and electronic media.
  • Civic education.
  • Frequent, free and fair elections.


What is Harambe?

  • Harambe is a Kiswahili slogan that means pulling or working together. It is a call to hard work. It was popularized by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta: the first president of independent Kenya, who made it a national motto in 1963 on realizing that it was only by pulling together that development would be reached.

Explain the origin and development of Harambe.

  • As a principle, Harambee stems from the African traditions and practices, characterized by the communal work and the Community spirit. For instance, pre-colonial communities cooperated in building houses or clearing and digging land through the spirit of Togetherness. It was this traditional sense of unity that influenced Mzee Kenyatta to adopt and use it to create the true fruits of Uhuru.
  • Harambee is founded on the spirit of mutual social responsibility and is indeed African socialism in practice. It has provided the guiding principles for national development by serving as a mobilizing force that brings the people of Kenya together to achieve a common goal.
  • The Harambee spirit embodies ideals of assistance, joint effort, mutual social responsibility and community self-reliance. It has provided Kenyans with the drive for cooperation between individuals and communities.

Harambee implied Freedom And hard Work (“Uhuru na Kazi”).

Explain the aims/objectives of Harambe. (State the purpose of Harambe.)

  • Promotion of self reliance.
  • Promotion of national unity.
  • Promotion of national development (Nation building) in all aspects through pooling resources together.
  • Promotion of constructive nationalism.

State/explain the principles of Harambe.

  • Mobilization and involvement of people in project initiation and implementation.
  • Collective rather than individual gain. That is why Harambe is mostly directed towards communal rather than personal projects.
  • Involvement of participants in decision making. Project choice must be guided by the felt needs of the majority.
  • Maximum utilization of local resources like labour, materials and money in implementation of the projects.  Unity in action, the essence of Harambe, strengthened by the Nyayo philosophy of peace, love and unity.

Explain the role of Harambe in Kenya’s development. (Explain how Harambe promoted development in Kenya. Or: What is the importance of Harambe?)

  • It promotes unity.
  • It has promoted agriculture, mainly through irrigation and encouragement of both small and large scale farmers.
  • It has encouraged or promoted democratic participation in national development.
  • It encourages mutual social responsibility as people cooperate and participate in a project. It has developed education through building of classrooms, laboratories and libraries. Students have been able to pursue higher education through Harambe funds and government bursaries.

Medical services have been promoted through the building of hospitals, dispensaries and Nyayo wards.

  • Rural access roads and bridges have been constructed through Harambe.
  • Churches and other religious centers have been built, boosting spiritual nourishment.
  • The welfare of people with special needs has been addressed. In 1989, president Daniel Arap Moi organized and conducted a Harambe to raise money for persons with disability.
  • It is because of Harambe that leaders now have a forum to educate the public on issues of national concern.  HIV/AIDS as well as drug abuse have been kept under control with human rights upheld.
  • It has improved people’s living standards, mainly through provision of piped water, electricity, farmland, grade cattle and construction of modest houses.
  • It promotes self reliance and African socialism.

Explain the factors that undermined the Harambe spirit (Identify the setbacks/weaknesses of the Harambe spirit.)

Since its inception, the Harambe spirit was and still is undermined by various factors such as the following:

  • Misappropriation (misuse) of Harambe funds.
  • It elicited a negative attitude from the people since they were forced to contribute.
  • It was abused as even the rich organized Harambe for themselves.
  • Harambe became unpopular and monotonous due to the frequency and due to rampant poverty.
  • Harambes became an avenue for corruption for leaders who would use all means(including force) to get money to contribute, especially when the president was presiding.



Explain the origin and development of Nyayoism.

  • Nyayoism is derived from the Kiswahili word “Nyayo”, which means “Footsteps”.
  • It was introduced by president Daniel Arap Moi after the passing away of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta: the first president of independent Kenya. In it, Moi pledged to follow the footsteps of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the social economic and political policies that Kenya had adopted.
  • According to President Moi, Nyayoism is a pragmatic philosophy that crystallizes and articulates what has always been African, indigenous and formative in our societies.
  • It is based on African traditional pillars of peace, love and unity, embodied in an African political economic system that is positively African, not being imported from any country, or being a blue-print of any foreign ideology, but capable of incorporating useful and compatible techniques, rooted in African past, but new in its tribal application to the management of Kenya.
  • It simply means being mindful of other people’s welfare, based on African socialism. Describe the sources of Nyayoism.
  • The 1965 sessional paper NO.10 on African socialism, which advocated collective responsibility, cooperation and sharing.
  • The biblical teachings on the ten commandments, the love of God, fellow men and oneself. The virtue of love would unite Kenyans to build the nation.
  • Moi’s political career, which became a source of inspiration. Moi explained that Nyayoism is a philosophy of active nationalism for nation building.

Describe the pillars of Nyayoism.

These are:

Peace, I.E the state of being free from war and disorder. Nyayoism advocates peace as the only tool for development. It discourages political instability. A peaceful environment enhances unity, trade, social interaction and cooperation.

Love, which is extolled by the philosophy as a virtue that enhances trust and willingness to work together. Love encourages the practice of being mindful of other people’s welfare as well as the African practice of communalism. It discourages discrimination, oppression, corruption and all forms of exploitation.

Unity. This feeling of togetherness is derived from the belief that we are created by one God. Here, there is unity, there is strength, rooted in understanding of our common purpose, loyalties and mutual dependence.

Explain the role of Nyayoism in Kenya’s development.

  • It enhanced cooperation and unity as in it, being mindful of other people’s welfare was emphasized.
  • It enhanced the spirit of African socialism.
  • It promoted mutual social responsibility and self reliance.
  • it encouraged the Harambe spirit to promote people’s welfare.
  • Education was boosted through the building of schools, some of which were named after Moi, E.G Moi Girls Eldoret.
  • Through Harambes, Moi built Nyayo wards across the country.
  • Public transport was improved by the introduction of Nyayo Buses.
  • Agriculture was improved as president Moi led in soil Conservation measures such as building of gabions. He even set up the Nyayo Tea Zones to promote tea production.
  • President Moi set up funds to cater for the disadvantaged.
  • Nyayoism encouraged the establishment of the Jua Kali sector and parastatals to provide employment opportunities.

Explain the factors that undermined the Nyayo spirit. (Explain the challenges/setbacks encountered by the Nyayo spirit. Or: What problems did the Nyayo spirit face?)

In spite of its various achievements, the Nyayo spirit was undermined by various factors such as the following:

  • The inclusive humans and respectful society targeted by the philosophy was not attained, probably due to difficulties in applying the philosophy.
  • The Nyayo pillars of peace, love and unity were difficult to apply as people attached various meanings to them, which made it difficult to monitor and evaluate them. Some people have even argued that it is not possible to love everyone equally.
  • Corruption became rampant in Kenya during Moi’s reign, negating the spirit of being mindful of other people’s welfare. Things were worsened by the world economic recession, which slowed down the pace of development.
  • The establishment of institutions of learning, Nyayo wards, Nyayo Tea Zones and Nyayo buses was not realized throughout the country.
  • The World Bank and the international Monitory Fund (IMF) withheld loans and grants to Kenya, citing poor governance and lack of transparency and accountability by President Moi’s government.
  • Although the Nyayo philosophy was a driving force in the initial ten years of president Moi’s twenty-four year rule, Moi’s government gradually adopted measures that appeared to antagonize the very philosophy he articulated.

Explain the effects/impact of national philosophies in Kenya.


  • Education was promoted through the Harambe spirit and being mindful of other people’s welfare. Medical services (hospitals, dispensaries and Nyayo wards) were provided.
  • Unity, cooperation and collective responsibility were enhanced as Kenyans pooled resources together out of love.
  • Harambes have been held to build churches and other religious centers to boost spiritual growth.
  • People’s living standards have improved. Through sharing, people have collected funds for individuals to buy land, build houses, conduct weddings, and clear medical bills.
  • The spirit of cooperation and being mindful of other people’s welfare has been inculcated, E.G president Moi organized various fund-raising drives for the disadvantaged as well as famine relief, disaster and the heart fund.
  • Culture has been promoted since the philosophies are drawn from African traditions, especially communalism or sharing.
  • Religious tolerance has been promoted.


  • Promotion of nationalism and patriotism.
  • Democratization of and political equality in Kenya.
  • International cooperation and understanding for the spirit of working together inspired Kenyans to spearhead peace initiatives for other communities.


  • Africanization and self reliance as Kenyans took over initiatives and industry, replacing foreigners after independence.
  • Growth of the cooperative movement, which led to expansion of agriculture.
  • Construction of more access roads and introduction of Nyayo buses, which boosted transport and communication.
  • A peaceful environment, which promoted trade and tourism.
  • National economy policies have been influenced by the philosophies, particularly African socialism.

Explain the demerits/disadvantages of national philosophies in Kenya. (What were the weaknesses of national philosophies in Kenya?)

  • Promotion of overdependence on foreign aid.
  • Fuelling corruption, E.G abuse of the Harambe spirit.
  • Exploitation of the citizenry by leaders, E.G through forced Harambes.
  • Lack of concrete solutions to emerging issues E.G HIV/AIDS, corruption and ethnic clashes.
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