Kenya becomes a British protectorate. [1]


Land regulations enable white settlers to expropriate much of the indigenous peoples' fertile land in the highlands. [1]


The British colonial administration institutes policies thwarting Africans from owning land in the Rift Valley area. The creation of the "White Highlands" displaces thousands of African nomadic groups (the Kalenjin, Maasai, Samburu, and Turkana) who lived in the area. While the colonial settlers oust these pastoralists who are unfit for providing agricultural labour, they recruit cheap labour from the neighboring areas (now Central, Nyanza and Western Provinces). Thousands of Kikuyu, Kisii, Luhya, and Luo squatters are brought into the Rift Valley area in the early 1900s. [1]


European and Indian settlers make political claims. African political activity begins to be organized, especially among the Kikuyu in Nairobi and among the Luo. [1]


The British colonial administration attempts to curb European and Indian aspirations for internal self-government. [1]


Local native councils are introduced. [1]


Jomo Kenyatta, a leader of the Kikuyu Central Association, goes to the Colonial Office in London to present the Kikuyu's land claims. [1]


The colonial regime settles over 4,000 Kikuyu squatters on the areas (including Olenguruone, now in the Nakuru District) which had originally belonged to the Maasai. [1]


For the first time, an African is appointed to a position in the Legislative Assembly. The Kikuyu-led Kenya African Union (KAU), the first nationalist movement, is established. The Kikuyu had been the most politically organized group for over 20 years. [1]


Jomo Kenyatta returns to Kenya and becomes President of the KAU. Rising population, land shortages, erosion, urban unemployment, and increasing discontent with white settlers' "apartheid" attitude had led many Africans to increase anti-colonial nationalistic activities. [1]


A terrorist campaign is launched by the Mau Mau, a secret society consisting primarily of Kikuyu. It is both a civil war among the Kikuyu and a challenge to colonial authority. The British impose a state of emergency and brutally suppress the Mau Mau, killing about 13,000 Africans and relocating more than 100,000 Kikuyu under harsh conditions. [1]


October - Britain declares state of emergency in colony of Kenya. British forces conduct human rights atrocities, establish Nazi-style concentration camps and ‘resettle’ hundreds of thousands of people in ‘protected villages’. Around 150,000 Africans die. [2] [5] [6]


KAU is banned and Kenyatta jailed for seven years for his alleged involvement in the Mau Mau rebellion. [1] [2]


The Mau Mau uprising is defeated, but ultimately it helps bring about Kenyan independence in 1963. [1]


Africans members are elected to the legislative council on a limited franchise. [1]


The state of emergency imposed in 1952 is lifted. The British agree to set a date for the transition to majority rule. The Kenya African National Union (KANU), a descendant of KAU, is formed. The KANU (led by Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga, and Tom Mboya) is formed by the country's two largest ethnic groups, the Kikuyu and Luo. [1]


Kenyatta is released from detention. The British are forced to introduce a new policy which allows Africans to buy and farm the White Highlands. Kenya's first pre-independence general elections are held. The KANU defeat the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU). The KADU (led by Masinde Muliro, Daniel arap Moi, and Ronald Ngala) represents smaller and less advantaged ethnic groups of the Great Rift Valley and coastal areas, including the Kalenjin. The KADU advocated Majimboism (regionalism in Swahili) which would create ethnic-based, semi-autonomous regions. [1]

The KADU had been formed with the covert assistance of the British government and British businesses, in an effort to get a more 'moderate' government after independence. The British stopped supporting it when they saw it could not beat the KANU. [2]

By selling at a high price the land previously seized by the settlers, not only do the settlers make a great deal of money, but it is ensured that the land passes into the hands of a either wealthy individuals who will protect European business interests or people trapped by the debts they incure in borrowing money to buy the land. [2]


December - The constitution sets up a multi-party system. Three political parties, the KANU, KADU, and the African People's Party (APP), contest the second general elections. The KANU win and Majimboism is abandoned. [1]

December 12 - Kenya becomes independent. Kenyatta becomes Prime Minister and begins to consolidate his broad coalition by recruiting members from diverse ethnic groups and ideological factions. [1]


December - The Republic of Kenya is declared and Kenyatta becomes President. He handpicks Oginga Odinga (from a radical faction of the KANU) as a Luo Vice President. A conflict within the KADU between Luhya and Kalenjin over the land in the Great Rift Valley takes place. Kenyatta resolves the conflict in favor of the Kalenjin under the condition of the merger. Following the relatively voluntary dissolution of the KADU and the APP, the ruling KANU become the sole legal party and regional powers are abolished. The absorption of KADU reinforces the conservative faction in KANU. [1]

Between 1964 and 1978, President Kenyatta is twice re-elected and the Kikuyu disproportionally hold political positions. The Kikuyu obtain large tracts of the fertile land in the process of the Africanization of the former White Highlands to the cost of other groups, including the Kalenjin. Many Kikuyu believe that they have suffered the most during the colonial period and therefore they should benefit the most from independence. In the meantime, the Kalenjin turn westward against the Luhya. [1]

After independence, Kenya continues as a stable state and its economic growth rate is 6.2 percent in the decade 1964-1974. [1]


The Kenya People's Union (KPU), led by Vice President Odinga (a Luo), is formed. The radical faction of KANU defects to the KPU. Subsequently, Daniel arap Moi, a Kalenjin and a former KADU leader, becomes Vice President. [1]


The constitution is amended to make the Vice President acting president in case of the president's death. [1]


Tom Mboya, the Luo secretary-general of KANU and the expected successor to Kenyatta, is assassinated. Ethnic violence between the Kikuyu and the Luo erupts. President Kenyatta bans the KPU and detains its leaders. Kenya becomes a de facto one party state. Many Kenyans consider Kenyatta's repressive response as a means of consolidating the power of the KANU and the Kikuyu. Several Kikuyu political leaders are associated with a tribal organization called the Gikuyu/Kikuyu, Embu, Meru Association (GEMA) which aims to keep Kikuyu political hegemony. [1]

Despite the country's independence, land claims of communal pastoral groups such as the Maasai and Kalenjin who were evicted from the Rift Valley area during the colonial period are not accommodated. British settlers continued to own much of the fertile farmland. A land settlement scheme is established for those British settlers who wanted to sell their land. [1]

Encouraged and supported by Kenyatta, Kenyan squatter labor, particularly Kikuyu farmers, leaves the overpopulated Central Province and purchases land in the Rift Valley during the 1960s and 1970s. [1]


Vice President Moi becomes the most visible non-Kikuyu politician. [1]


GEMA fails to introduce a constitutional amendment to prevent non-Kikuyu Vice President Moi from succeeding Kenyatta. [1]


August - President Kenyatta dies. Moi was sworn in as acting president. He disbands all ethnic organizations, including GEMA. [1]

November 3 - Moi declares the Preservation of Public Security Act without ratification by the Kenya parliament. It institutes a state of emergency and leads to the arrest of hundreds of political dissidents including university professors, students, and journalists. [1]


Moi becomes President in an election where several established politicians are rejected by the electorate. Moi chooses Mwai Kibaki (a Kikuyu) as Vice President. At first, Moi attracts support from some Kikuyu and many Luhya. However, Moi soon follows the footsteps of his predecessor by disproportionately appointing Kalenjin to positions of power in his regime and by granting economic advantages to the Kalenjin. Accordingly, Moi's support base narrows significantly. [1]


Moi's close friend, Charles Mugane Njonjo, Kenya's attorney general for 17 years, appoints himself minister of constitutional affairs. [1]


Moi bans trade and professional unions and suppresses strikes and protests by doctors, bank employees, industrial workers, and students. [1]


June 17 - Kenya officially becomes a one-party (the KANU) state through a constitutional amendment engineered by Njonjo. To be eligible to vote, citizens are forced to pay to register as KANU members. For the candidate to qualify for the election, he has to be a life member of the KANU. [1]

August 1 - There is a coup attempt by disaffected soldiers, allegedly supported by Odinga and other Luo and Kikuyu politicians. Over 1,000 members of the armed forces are court-martialed, hundreds more are detained without trial, and some 80 university students are arrested. [1]


March - Kenyan officials in the Wajir township near the Somali border charge that government forces killed 300 members of the Degodia tribe over a five day period. Sugul Unshur and Abdi Sheik say the forces rounded up 5000 Degodia, held them five days without food or water, then after killing about 500, forced more than 1000 into the bush where they were missing and feared dead. The officials said they thought the massacre was punishment for the Degodia's alleged past links to Somali guerrillas. The forces were originally sent to the area to stop the Degodia and Ajuran clans from fighting over water and grazing rights. Both are pastoralists ethnically related to the Somalis. The Norwegian embassy confirms that aid workers in the area report similar charges to those of the Kenyan officials while the KANU government denies any massacre. (Facts on File, 3/16/1984) The Anti-slavery Society later confirms that between 300-1400 Degodia were killed, some through burning or being hacked to death by security forces, while 7000 others were left destitute. At least 400 members of the security forces were involved. (Reuters, 8/21/1984) [1]

An underground political movement called Iriria (Somali for tribal confederation) is blamed for violence and banditry in some northeastern districts. The government denies that it was engaged in a campaign to eliminate Kenya's Somali minority en masse. (BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), 3/29/1984) [1]


The Moi regime harasses family members of exiled politicians. After 1986, the country's political situation rapidly deteriorates. As political arrests continued, many university lecturers, journalists, students, and former parliament members go into exile. Moi accuses a left-wing group, called Mwakenya (the Union of Nationalists to Liberate Kenya), of being run by fanatic socialists and, by 1987, arrests over 100 people connected to this movement. Mwakenya, allegedly consisting of Kikuyus and Luos, appears to be an ethnic and ideological threat to Moi. [1]

July - Moi prohibits Kenyan journalists from reporting arrests and trials. [1]


Mwakenya is technically disbanded. [1]

February - As the sole KANU candidate, Moi begins his third five-year term as President. [1]

September - Seven months after being released from a six year prison term, Raila Odinga, the son of Oginga Odinga and the leader of the unpublicized Kenya Revolutionary Movement (KRM), is again detained. [1]


Trials and imprisonments of alleged dissidents continues. Those associated with the clandestine opposition movement Mwakenya, and two other unpublicized groups, the KRM and the Kenya Patriotic Front (KPF) are among those target. [1]

Moi bans newspapers and magazines including Beyond, Financial Review, Development Agenda, and the Daily Nation. [1]


June - In response to international pressure, Moi releases all political prisoners who were being detained without trial and offered amnesty to dissidents living in exile. [1]

August - Somali rebels seize a major crossing point to Kenya while some 6000 Somalis camped on the border. (Reuters, 8/16/1989) [1]

November - More than 350 Somalis cross the border into Tanzania after Kenya starts a nation-wide screening of the Somalis community. The government announces that all Somalis over age 18, whether Kenyan citizens or not, will have to appear before a special screening team to verify their right to be in the country. (Xinhua, 11/13/1989) The Tanzanian government later says it will expel the Somalis. There is a significant Somali community in East Africa, but most of them do not have the proper immigration documents to legalize their stay in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. (Xinhua, 12/5/1989 and12/11/1989) [1]


Moi resists growing demands for a multi-party system, threatening that multipartyism would revive inter-tribal violence. [1]

February 10 - The Kenyan government says it will repatriate more than 400 Somalis living illegally in the country. (Xinhua 2/10/1990) Somalis continue to flee Kenya citing discrimination and persecution (Inter Press Service (IPS (Interpress Service)), 3/16/1990) [1]

February 13 - The murder of Robert Ouko, a former foreign minister who had criticized the Moi regime, provokes widespread anti-government protests by students claiming that the government is covering up the circumstances of his death. The government bans demonstrations. [1]

July 7 - Security forces brutally disperse the pro-multipartyism rally at Kamakunji, Nairobi, led by the Law Society of Kenya and the churches. It is attended by thousands of supporters and triggers three days of rioting known as the Saba Saba (meaning seven seven, i.e., July 7) uprising. [1]

July - Two leading opposition figures are arrested and 20 people died in subsequent protests. President Moi continues to oppose political reform. By 1990, most key positions in the government, the military, and state-owned companies are taken by the Kalenjin. [1]


February - Garissa District Officer Peter Baraz Kusimba warns against anyone found housing Somali refugees. He says the refugees would stay at Garissa Baraza Park where they would be registered with the UNHCR. [1]

March - The Kenyan Red Cross decides to increase its aid to Somali and Ethiopian refugees, currently numbering more than 29,000, in the country. Refugees are arriving at a daily rate of about 200. (BBC, 3/16/1991) The UNHCR agrees to investigate the causes of complaints by some Somali refugees in Mombasa. (Xinhua, 3/18/1991) [1]

May - Police in Garissa launch a crackdown on local residents housing illegal immigrants. At least 110 residents are arrested and police say they will be charged with criminal offenses and the refugees will be sent to designated refugee camps. (BBC, 5/8/1991) The move to round up hundreds of refugees not confined to camps continues into June. [1]

July - An Africa Rights Watch report states that abuses in Kenya include violence in the northeast, discrimination against Somalis, and ill treatment of refugees. (IPS, 7/30/1991) The U.S. State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1991 also states that discrimination against Somalis is a major concern. It is the only ethnic group in Kenya whose members are required to carry identification stating they are Kenyan citizens. [1]

August - Odinga and other opposition leaders establish a coalition group called the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), calling for greater political pluralism. The government break up their demonstrations and arrest their leaders. [1]

November - The suspension of aid by the World Bank and bilateral donor nations pending economic and political reforms forces Moi to announce the introduction of a multi-party system in Kenya. [1]

December - The Kenyan parliament repeals Section 2(A) of the Constitution which prohibits opposition parties. Tribal fighting, tacitly encouraged by the Moi government, spreads to large parts of the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza areas. The Luhya, Kikuyu, and Kisii are greatly affected, but the Kalenjin are also victimized in retaliatory attacks by the Luhya, Luo and Kikuyu. [1]


March - Reports of ethnic violence become commonplace in the press. The Kalenjin Assistant Minister Kipkalia Kones declares Kericho District a KANU zone and states that the Kalenjin youth in the area have declared war on the Luo community in retaliation for several Kalenjins killed in earlier violence. [1]

The government accuses the opposition parties of fueling the violence through Libyan-trained recruits and opposition leaders accuse the government of orchestrating ethnic violence in order to weaken moves towards multipartyism. [1]

Moi prohibits all political rallies, citing the threat of tribal violence. [1]

May - Northeastern Kenya, populated mainly by pastoralists including Somalis, is hard hit by drought. Aid agencies report that a million people are threatened with starvation while a large number have already died. The situation in the northeast has been exacerbated by the influx of Somali and Ethiopian refugees. (IPS, 5/21/1992) The government issues a statement denying that hundreds of thousands of Kenyans are dying of starvation in the northeast. The government says relief workers are active in the area. (BBC, 5/29/1992) [1]

June - The World Food Program begins airlifting emergency food relief to northeastern Kenya. Moi appeals to international donors to provide food aid for a million Kenyans and 400,000, 300,000 of whom are Somalis, refugees in the area facing starvation. (Xinhua, 6/12/1992) [1]

July-August - The government and international relief agencies are concerned over insecurity in refugee camps. In July, Medicins sans Frontieres withdraws from the northeast, and there have been attacks by bandits on food supplies, aid workers, and police. (BBC, 7/23/1992 and 8/1/1992) [1]

September - According to a parliamentary committee report, senior government officials have been involved in training and arming Kalenjin warriors to attack villages and drive away non-Kalenjin ethnic groups from the Rift Valley, Western, and Nyanza Provinces. [1]

October - The UNHCR begins voluntarily repatriating Somali refugees in Kenya. (Reuters, 10/19/1992) [1]

December 29 - Moi and the KANU retain power with only 36% of the popular vote in the country's first multi-party elections since independence. Division was apparent within the three major opposition parties, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya (FORD-K), the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Asili (FORD-A), and the Democratic Party (DP). Ford-A and Ford-K were split from the original FORD coalition, contributing to the victory of the KANU. The opposition alleges the elections have been rigged and fraudulent. Thousands of Kenyans were unable to vote as a result of the displacement and destruction caused by the pre-election ethnic fighting. [1]


The violence in the Rift Valley continues unabated throughout 1993. The Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, and Nakuru Districts are the most affected. Fighting in the Burnt Forest area in Uasin Gishu pits the Kalenjin against the Kikuyu community. [1]

January 1 - UNHCR representative Panos Moumtzi says the commission is concerned over the government's apparent desire to forcefully repatriate refugees. A statement coming from President Moi's office calls on the UNHCR to immediately repatriate all refugees in Kenya, but Moumtzi says the UNHCR would not be party to any forced repatriations. (BBC, 1/22/1993) [1]

January 4 - Moi begins his fourth successive term in office. Moi's Kalenjin group and that of Vice-President George Saitoti's Maasai dominate the 25 member cabinet while the Kikuyu and Luo are given one representative each in the cabinet. [1]

October - The UNHCR seeks funds for Somali women who have been raped while in Kenyan refugee camps. Most were raped by roaming bandits, but some were raped by Kenyan security forces. (Agence France Presse (AFP), 10/4/1993) [1]


January - New violence occurs in the Rift Valley area, destroying the property of some 4,000 persons. Ten people are reported killed. [1]

August - Poor rains in the East for the third straight year will bring hunger to the region bordering Somalia. During the past three years of fighting, food production has been disrupted because of the displacement of Kikuyu who were primarily farmers. [1]

September - Of the 250,000-300,000 displaced from the Rift Valley Province since 1991, 175,000 remain displaced. [1]

October - The government is in the process of closing all refugee camps in Coast Province and relocating refugees to the north because the camps were threatening Kenya's tourist industry. Eighty percent of Kenya's 280,000 remaining refugees are Somalis (BBC, 10/7/1994) [1]

The government also assures the UNHCR that refugees will not be forcefully repatriated, but want the pace of voluntary repatriation to be stepped up. (BBC, 11/24/1994) [1]


January - An Amnesty International report Attacks on Human Rights Through the Misuse of Criminal Charges is published. In it, Kenya is criticized for its human rights abuses and lack of commitment to democratic reform. The report states, although opposition political parties operate openly and freely, opposition members of parliament, human rights activists, journalists and other government critics have been arrested in connection with peaceful demonstrations, speeches, publications or investigations into human rights abuses. [1]

A new development in Kenya is the government's decision to use capital criminal charges (which are not bailable) against people whose only offense is that they are non-violent critics of the Kenyan government. AI holds up the trial of Koigi Wamwere as a case in point. AI considers him and his fellow detainees to be prisoners of conscience arrested on trumped up charges and imprisoned for their non-violent beliefs. [1]

January 19 - The European Community allocates 170,000 ecu to aid a group of Kenyan Somalis who have lost all their livestock to drought prevalent in the northeast since 1992. The pastoralists fled their traditional land because of the drought and ethnic conflict in the region. (Commission of the European Communities) [1]

June 20 - Richard Leakey, a white paleontologist, registers a new opposition party, called the SAFINA, in order to forge a national alliance capable of challenging President Moi. Moi immediately goes on the offensive against Leakey, denouncing him a foreigner, traitor, and atheist who would find it "extremely difficult to relate to God-fearing Kenyans" and vows that "Kenya would never again be ruled by a white man." Leakey served as the Moi-appointed director at the Kenya Wildlife Service from 1989 to 1994. [1]

July - Human Rights Watch publishes Old Habits Die Hard: Rights Abuses Follow Renewed Foreign Aid Commitments. HRW reports that since the renewal of aid commitments in 1994 ($800 million in aid was pledged to Kenya by foreign donors at a December 1994 meeting), human rights conditions in Kenya have deteriorated. The report finds that resettlement of refugees in Kenya by the government and UNDP is failing; the government banned organizations and the media in 1995; there were attacks against human rights organizations and media offices; there were numerous complaints by opposition members that their meetings were disrupted by police or local authorities and that they were denied permits to hold meetings; and that from January-March 1995 there were arrests and/or detentions of about a dozen opposition MPs. In addition, the report states, multipartyism has not been accompanied by the requisite institutional and legal reform essential to genuine democratization. [1]

December 15 - The ruling KANU party outlines a five-point strategy aimed at strengthening the party in preparation for the upcoming 1997 elections. It will launch a national youth development program to coordinate and mobilize youth while assisting them in project identification. [1]

Party spokesman Taikwen Kamotho issues a stern warning to leaders who engage in tribal talks saying the party will no longer tolerate leaders who engage in tribal comments. [1]


January - There were several reported incidents of ethnic violence. Violence is reported January 6 in Thessalia, a camp for displaced persons and January 11 in Longonot where 10 people were killed. In addition, displaced persons from Maela camp who were forcibly dispersed by the government in December 1994 are again forcibly moved by the district administrator. Those remaining in the camp are subjected to nightly attacks by administrative police. [1]

February - The introduction of new identity cards leads to fears that the government might be planning to rig the 1997 election. Voters must identify their ancestral constituency on the application form rather than their current place of residence which has analysts speculating that voters might have to vote in their place of birth which would be impossible for many. The Electoral Commission, whose members are presidential appointees, has also recently created new districts and constituencies along ethnic lines. [1]

The police continue to harass refugees, even those with legitimate papers, in constant crackdowns against foreigners. (IPS, 2/21/1996) [1]

27-28 March - About 40 local and international NGOs based in Kenya, individuals and religious bodies' representatives meet to discuss the situation of peace in Kenya. The meeting is an outgrowth of Peace Net, founded in September 1993 as the Ethnic Clashes Network, as a response to ethnic violence. The leaders express their fear of renewed clashes, concern over the culture of violence taking over the country, and the need for “concerted effort to restore peace and stability to Kenya.” They warn that the “level of violence-political and otherwise-appears to escalate as we approach the 1997 election year.” [1]

9 April - KANU parliamentarian Kipruto arap Kirwa, who launched a verbal attack against President Moi two weeks ago, has disappeared fueling suspicions that he has been arrested for his outspokenness. Kirwa had accused Moi of stifling alternative views in KANU and of being undemocratic. Dissatisfaction within the Kalenjin community has been most evident among the Nandi, the sub-group to which Kirwa belongs, but other members of the KANU alliance have also shown their impatience with Moi. [1]

10 April - Police assault voters who turn out at a by-election in the Nairobi constituency of Starehe. The opposition claims it was an attempt to intimidate supporters in an anti-KANU stronghold. [1]

29 September - Opposition and religious leaders are calling for a new constitution that will change the electoral system. KANU officials flatly refuse to consider changing the electoral rules, much less replace the constitution. For the past 15 months, Moi has refused to register Safina as a political party. [1]

6 December - According to police spokesmen, more than 50 people are killed in northwestern Kenya when Samburu and Pokot tribesmen armed with rifles attack Turkana settlements. [1]


February - The State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996 states that, though the human rights situation improved slightly over 1995, Kenya is far from a champion of human rights. The government of Daniel arap Moi continues to harass and jail critics, including politicians, clergy, journalists and activists, of his government. It also continues to block access of the opposition to their supporters and the media. Though there were few reports of ethnic violence in 1996, the government has not yet addressed the root causes of the 1991-1994 violence in the Rift Valley Province and governmental discrimination against Kikuyus in the Province continues. [1]

The government has also warned white Kenyans against participating in political activities and it has singled out Somalis as the only group that must carry two identity cards to produce upon request. The continued presence of Somali refugees has increased the difficulties faced by Kenyan Somalis. There is also societal and official discrimination against Asian Kenyans. [1]

April - The World Food Program extends its aid to refugees in northern Kenya. More than half the refugees who had fled to Kenya since 1991 have returned home. The majority of Somali refugees are located in the Dadaab area camps in Garissa district. [1]

11 June - Calls for a constitutional convention have revitalized the middle class who are weary of the declining economy and rampant corruption within Moi's regime. The question for the country is whether the opposition can unite and turn this issue into the main issue of the upcoming presidential elections. Reformers have been pushing for an amendment which would require the winner to gain a majority of votes cast rather than the current system of a quarter of votes in only 5 of 8 districts. The opposition is also pushing for the constitution to allow for a coalition government instead of the current winner-take-all system. [1]

7 July - Police crack down on pro-democracy demonstrators killing at least nine across the nation (other reports estimated up to 15 killed). The international response was muted. [1]

31 July - The IMF announces that it is suspending a $205 million loan to Kenya because of the government's failure to provide proper transparency and accountability. [1]

20 September - The government announces it will mobilize up to 20,000 police in a crackdown in the Coastal region. Over the past five weeks, at least 62 people have died and 73 been injured in the violence. The violence is aimed mainly at “upcountry” people. Reports indicate that “marauding gangs” are perpetrating the violence, but there is no indication from which ethnic group they originate-only that they are “indigenous” coastal people. [1]

November - Flooding in the northeast has turned refugee camps in Dadaab into islands with virtually no access. There are fears that starvation and disease in the camps are on the horizon. (BBC, 11/25/1997) The World Food Program begins food airdrops to the islands in December. (Xinhua, 12/24/1997) [1]

31 December - Election results indicate that Moi has won the presidency with about 40% of the vote. Kibaki of the Democratic Party gains 30% of the vote, and Odinga of FORD-Kenya receives about 11%. KANU maintains a small majority in parliament with 106 of 210 seats. The DP wins 39 seats, the National Development Party 21, and the Social Democratic Party 14. Most observers note electoral violence and irregularities, including bribing and intimidation of voters, and bias of presiding and returning election officers. Opposition groups protest that outright fraud, including vote-rigging, took place. [1]


8 January - DP chairman Mwai Kibaki says he will use the courts to challenge Moi's election victory. He says vote-rigging occurred throughout Kenya, but there were glaring violations in the Coast and northeastern provinces. [1]

March - Supplies for refugees are dwindling, and food rations have to be cut in half. There is limited funding available, and the roads to refugee camps in the northeast were still impassable since November flooding.(ANS (African News Service), 3/17/1998) [1]

August - Bomb explodes at US embassy in Nairobi, killing more than 200 people and injuring thousands. [3]

December - Moi orders police to crack down on illegal immigrants in Kenya. Over five hundred are arrested, and many complain of abuse, including rape and extortion, while in custody. (ANS, 12/6/1998) [1]


February - Somalis are one of about a dozen groups of pastoralists in Kenya. The pastoralists are concerned that the constitutional review process will not adequately and effectively address their needs. They would like remedial developmental measures to allow them to catch up with the rest of the country, as well as improvements in health care, educational opportunities, more watering holes, and land rights. (ANS, 2/23/1999) Somalis are also concerned that they are demonized by the government as “bandits” behind cattle rustling and other criminal activity in the north. [1]

April - Former members of Kenyan Mau Mau movement announce they are suing British government for human rights atrocities committed in 1950s. [2] [5] [6]

June - More than 300 Somalis cross into Kenya in search of asylum. They are fleeing fighting in the town of Kismaayo and drought in Somalia. (IRIN (integrated regional information network), 6/28/1999) [1]

Moi appoints Richard Leakey to head government drive against corruption. [3]


April - Leakey appears in court to face charges of abuse of power and perverting the course of justice. [3]

June - Parliament passes law allowing the import and manufacture of cheap copies of drugs against Aids. [3]

October - Moi appoints Kenyatta's son Uhuru to parliament and to a cabinet post in November, apparently to rejuvenate the Kanu leadership before the 2003 election. [3]

Ethnic tensions culminate in several violent clashes. In December thousands flee and several people are killed in rent battles involving Nubian and Luo communities in Nairobi's Kibera slum district. [3]


July - Britain's Ministry of Defence agrees to pay more than $7m (£4.5m) plus costs, following two days of talks in London aimed at settling the case without going to court. Hundreds of Masai and Samburu tribespeople - many of them children - are said to have been killed or maimed by unexploded bombs left by the British army at practice ranges in central Kenya over the past 50 year. [4]

November - Ten Kenyans, three Israelis are killed when an Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa is blown up by a car bomb. A simultaneous rocket attack on an Israeli airliner fails. A statement - purportedly from al-Qaeda - claims responsibility. [3]

December - Opposition presidential candidate Mwai Kibaki wins a landslide victory over Kanu rival Uhuru Kenyatta, ending Daniel arap Moi's 24-year rule and Kanu's four decades in power. [3]


January - Government bill proposes anti-corruption commission. Moi critic John Githongo appointed anti-graft czar. [3]

November - International Monetary Fund (IMF) resumes lending after three-year gap, citing anti-corruption measures. [3]

December - Government decides to grant former president Daniel arap Moi immunity from prosecution on corruption charges. [3]


March-July - Long-awaited draft of new constitution completed. Document requires parliament's approval and proposes curbing president's powers and creating post of prime minister. But deadline for enactment is missed. [3]

July-August - Food crisis, caused by crop failures and drought, dubbed "national disaster" by President Kibaki. UN launches aid appeal for vulnerable rural Kenyans. [3]

October - Ecologist Wangari Maathai wins Nobel Peace Prize. [3]

Controversy over jail conditions amid intense media coverage of inmate deaths at Meru jail in the east. [3]