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Kenya: A Chronology of Key events

BBC Timeline, Tuesday 12 June 2001, 09:12 GMT 10:12

1895 - Formation of British East African Protectorate.

Early 1900s - White settlers move into highlands, railway built from Mombasa to Lake Victoria.

1920 - East African Protectorate becomes crown colony of Kenya - administered by a British governor.

Mau Mau

    [Mau Mau]
Thousands of Kikuyus were killed by the British
1944 - Kenyan African Union (KAU) formed to campaign for African independence. First African appointment to legislative council.

1947 - Jomo Kenyatta becomes KAU leader.

1952 - Secret Kikuyu guerrilla group known as Mau Mau begins violent campaign against white settlers. State of emergency declared. Kenyatta arrested.

1953 - Kenyatta charged with management of Mau Mau and jailed. KAU banned.

1956 - Mau Mau rebellion put down after thousands killed - mainly Africans.

1959 - Kenyatta released from jail but under house arrest.

1960 - State of emergency ends. Britain announces plans to prepare Kenya for majority African rule. Kenya African national Union (Kanu) formed by Tom Mboya and Oginga Odinga.


1961 - Kenyatta freed and assumes presidency of Kanu.

Kenyatta was Kenya's founding father
1963 - Kenya gains independence, with Kenyatta as prime minister.

1964 - Republic of Kenya formed. Kenyatta becomes president and Odinga vice-president.

1966 - Odinga, a Luo, leaves Kanu after ideological split, forms rival Kenya People's Union (KPU).

1969 - Assassination of government minister Tom Mboya sparks ethnic unrest. KPU banned and Odinga arrested. Kanu only party to contest elections.

1974 - Kenyatta re-elected.

Moi era begins

1978 - Kenyatta dies in office, succeeded by Vice-President Daniel arap Moi.

    [President Moi]
Moi: Split opposition has helped him retain power
1982 June - Kenya officially declared a one party state by National Assembly.

1982 August - Army suppresses air force coup attempt. Private Hezekiah Ochuka rules country for about six hours.

1987 - Opposition groups suppressed. International criticism of political arrests and human rights abuses.

1989 - Political prisoners freed.

1990 - Death of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Dr Robert Ouko, in suspicious circumstances leads to increased dissent against government.

Multi-party elections

1991 August - Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford) formed by six opposition leaders, including Oginga Odinga. Party outlawed and members arrested. Creditors suspend aid to Kenya amid fierce international condemnation.

1991 December - Special conference of Kanu agrees to introduce a multi-party political system.

1992 - Approximately 2,000 people killed in tribal conflict in the west of the country.

1992 August - Ford splits into two factions - Ford-Asili (led by ex-government minister Kenneth Matiba) and Ford-Kenya (led by Odinga).

    [Richard Leakey]
Richard Leakey: Palaeontologist turned politician

1992 December - Moi re-elected in multi-party elections. Kanu wins strong majority.

1994 - Odinga dies. Opposition groups form coalition - the United National Democratic Alliance - but it is plagued by disagreements.

1995 - New opposition party - Safina - launched by palaeontologist Richard Leakey. Party refused official registration until November 1997.

1997 - Demonstrations calling for democratic reform. World Bank witholds disbursement of $5billion in structural adjustment credit.

1997 December - Moi wins further term in widely-criticized elections. Main opponents facing Moi are former vice-president Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, son of Oginga Odinga.

Kenyans were the main victims of the US embassy bomb

1998 August - Bomb explodes at US embassy in Nairobi, killing over 230 people and wounding thousands.

1999 - Moi appoints Richard Leakey to head government drive against corruption.

2000 - Severe drought in north-west Kenya.

2001 April - Leakey appears in court to face charges of abuse of power and perverting the course of justice.

2001 11 June - Moi reshuffles cabinet and appoints opposition party leader Raila Odinga as energy minister in the first coalition government in Kenya's history.