Kenya African National Union

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Kenya African National Union
Chairman Gideon Moi
Secretary-General Nick Salat
Founder James Gichuru
Oginga Odinga
Tom Mboya
Founded 14 May 1960 (14 May 1960)
Headquarters Chania Avenue, off Ring Road, Kilimani, Nairobi
Ideology Kenyan Nationalism
Political position Centre-right to Right-wing
National affiliation Amani Alliance
National Assembly
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The Kenya African National Union, better known as KANU, is a Kenyan political party that ruled for nearly 40 years after Kenya's independence from British colonial rule in 1963 until its electoral loss in 2002. It was known as Kenya African Union (KAU) before being renamed on 14 May 1960.


From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule. During this period, African participation in the political process increased rapidly.

The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957.

The Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) was founded in 1960, to challenge KANU. KADU's aim was to defend the interests of the tribes so-called KAMATUSA (an acronym for Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana and Samburu), against the dominance of the larger Luo and Kĩkũyũ tribes that comprised the majority of KANU's membership (Kenyatta himself being a Kikuyu). KANU was in favour of centralism. Despite the numerical advantage lying with the numerically stronger KANU, a form of Federalism involving Kenya's 8 provinces was adopted in Kenya's independence. After independence KANU nonetheless decided to remove all provisions of a federal nature from the constitution.[1]


Upon its inception in 1960, KANU included politicians of various ideologies. However, with the adoption of Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 in Kenya's parliament and the resignation of left leaning politicians allied to Oginga Odinga, it pursued a mixed market economic policy, with state intervention in the form of parastatals. It steered Kenya to side with the west during the cold war, with both Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi using apparent links to the Soviet Union as pretexts to crush political dissent.


KANU's leadership structure consists of a national chairman, a secretary general and several national vice chairmen. All these officials are elected at a national delegates conference (The last full election was in 2005 and it saw Uhuru Kenyatta, who has since quit the party, confirmed as party chairman).[2]

Delegates who participate at the national elections are selected through the party's constituency level branches.

Past Holders of the Chairman Position


External links