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The Social Structure of the National Assembly in Kenya, 1963–83

  • Charles Hornsby (a1)

The study of elections and parliamentary behaviour in Africa has become a neglected topic. Whilst the emergence of political élites during and after the colonial period has been examined carefully, little attention has been paid to the structure and functioning of the modern one-party state. Emphasis has tended to shift towards the analysis of political economy and of the nature of class relations, partly as a consequence of the close linkages between economic and political relations within developing states. However, studies of post-1969 politics in Kenya are now scarce, and basic knowledge of the operation of the political system is often absent. In order to help redress the balance, this article presents and analyses data about the socio-economic background of the Members of Parliament.

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page 275 note 1 See, for example, Langdon, Steven W., Multinational Corporations in the Political Economy of Kenya (London and New York, 1981),Anon., (In) Dependent Kenya (London, 1982);Hunt, Diana, The Impending Crisis in Kenya: the case for land reform (Aldershot, 1984),Leo, Christopher, Land and Class in Kenya (Toronto, 1984),Kitching, Gavin, Class and Economic Change in Kenya: the making of an African petite bourgeoisie, 1905–1970 (New Haven and London, 1980), and Swainson, Nicola, The Development of Corporate Capitalism in Kenya, 1918–77 (London, 1980).

page 276 note 1 Hornsby, Charles P. W., ‘The Member of Parliament in Kenya, 1969–83’, D.Phil. dissertation, Oxford University, 1986, ch. 5.

page 276 note 2 Mueller, Susanne D., ‘Government and Opposition in Kenya, 1966–9’, in The Journal of Modern African Studies (Cambridge), 22, 3, 09 1984, pp. 399427.

page 276 note 3 On the growing power of the Presidency during the 1960s, see Ghai, Yash P. and McAuslan, J. P. W. B., Public Law and Political Change in Kenya: a study of the legal framework of government from colonial times to the present (Nairobi, 1970), ch. VI.

page 276 note 4 The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) (No. 2), Act No. 45 of 1968.

page 278 note 1 Hornsby, op. cit. chs. 4 and 8.

page 279 note 1 The most significant biographical sources are Who is Who in Kenya, 1982–3 (Nairobi, 1982);Who's Who in East Africa, 1963–64 (Nairobi, 1964),1965–66 (Nairobi, 1966), and 1967–68 (Nairobi, 1968); African Yearbook and Who's Who, 1977 (London, 1976),Africa Who's Who (London, 1981); and J., Dickie and Rake, Alan (eds.), Who's Who in Africa (London, 1973).

page 279 note 2 Rouyer, A. B., ‘Political Recruitment and Political Change in Kenya’, in Journal of Developing Areas (Macomb. III.), 9, 4, 1975, pp. 543–4.

page 280 note 1 Hornsby, op. cit. ch. 7.

page 280 note 2 Kenya has probably the highest population growth rate in the world. See the Kenya Population Census, 1979 (Nairobi, 1981).

page 281 note 1 Charles P. W. Hornsby, ‘Regional Variations in Socio-Economic Background Amongst M.P.s in Independent Kenya’, typescript. For information on regional imbalances, see Court, David and Prewitt, Ken, ‘Nation versus Region in Kenya: a note on political learning’, in British Journal of Political Science (Cambridge), 4, 1970, pp. 109–20, and Rothchild, Donald, ‘Ethnic Inequalities in Kenya’, in The Journal of Modern African Studies, 7, 412 1969, pp. 689711.

page 281 note 2 Jomo Kenyatta, James Gichuru, Tom Mboya, Mbiya Koinange, Clement Argwings-Kodhek, Ronald Ngala, and Bruce McKenzie are all dead. Bildad Kaggia, Oginga Odinga, Julius Kiano, John Konchellah, Ramogi Achieng-Oneko, Joseph Otiende, Joe Murumbi, Dawson Mwanyumba, Eliud Mwendwa, James Nyamweya, Lawrence Sagini, and now Charles Njonjo have either lost their parliamentary positions (and most of their power), or have retired from politics.

page note 1 For an example of this, see Mutiso, G. C. M., Kenya Politics, Policy and Society (Nairobi, 1975), ch. 13.

page note 2 See Rasmussen, J. S., ‘Women's Role in Contemporary British Politics: impediments to parliamentary candidature’, in Parliamentary Affairs (London), 36, 3, 1983, pp. 300–15, and Elizabeth Vallance, ‘Women Candidates in the 1983 General Election’, in Ibid. 37, 3, 1984, p. 303.

page note 1 During this period only 15 per cent of the students of the University College of Nairobi were females, according to the annual reports of that institution and the Ministry of Education.

page note 2 See Butterfield, Cynthia, Women in the Modern Wage Sector (Nairobi, 1977), I. D. S. Discussion Paper No. 256.

page note 3 This was independently shown by Berg-Schlosser, Richard, ‘Modes and Meaning of Political Participation in Kenya’, in Comparative Politics (New York) 14, 4, 07 1982, pp. 402–3, and by Ross, Marc Howard, Grass Roots in an African City: political behavior in Nairobi (Cambridge, Mass, and London, 1975), Appendix A.

page note 1 Kim, Chong L., Barkan, Joel D. et al. , The Legislative Connection: the Politics of representation in Kenya, Korea and Turkey (Durham, N.C., 1984), p. 54, Table 4.1.

page note 2 Hornsby, ‘The Member of Parliament in Kenya’, ch. 7 and Appendix 13, Table 2.

page note 3 An idea of the important work done in this area can be gained in Barkan, Joel D. (ed.), Politics and Public Policy in Kenya and Tanzania (New York, 1984 edn.).

page note 1 See, for example, Hornsby, ‘The Member of Parliament in Kenya’, ch. 9, section 4, and Khapoya, Vincent B., ‘Kenya Under Moi: continuity or change?’, in Africa Today (Denver), 27, 1, 1980, pp. 1732.

page note 2 Kjekshus, Helge, The Elected Elite: a socio-economic profile of candidates in Tanzania's parliamentary election, 1970 (Uppsala, 1975), S.I.A.S. Research Report No. 29, pp. 1213.

page note 3 Two came from Kakamega, one from Machakos, one from Kirinyaga, three from Nyeri, two from Fort Hall (now Murang'a), and five from Kiambu.

page note 1 Kipkorir, Benjamin E., ‘The Inheritors and Successors: the traditional background to the modern Kenyan African élite. Kenya c. 1890–1930, in Kenya Historical Review (Nairobi), 2, 2, 1974.

page note 2 Hornsby, ‘Regional Variations in Socio-Economic Background Amongst M.P.s in Independent Kenya’.

page note 3 A more detailed breakdown of all these results can be found in Hornsby, ‘The Member of Parliament in Kenya’, Appendix 14.

page note 1 Kjekshus, op. cit. p. 15.

page note 1 Kenya Population Census, 1979, Vol. I, p. 229, Table 4.

page note 2 See Photograph of Waweru Ng'ethe in The Standard (Nairobi), 6 11 1979, p. 2.

page note 3 Hornsby, ‘Regional Variations in Socio-Economic Background Amongst M.P.s in Independent Kenya’.

page note 1 The categories reflect the self-descriptions of occupation used by politicians, aggregated together to form the following categories: ‘professionals’ include teachers; ‘administration’ consists of those who are in senior or junior positions, either provincial or local, plus chiefs; ‘business’ is an aggregation of senior/managerial and junior/own businessmen, plus individuals combining business and agriculture.

page note 1 See Dove, L. A., ‘Teachers in Politics in Ex-Colonial Countries’, in Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics (London), 17, 2, 07 1979, pp. 176–91, on the importance of teachers in early assemblies in Africa, including Kenya.

page note 1 See East African Standard (Nairobi), 4 05 1966, p. 1, and Kenya Gazette (Nairobi), 11 05, 1966, G.N. 1611.

page note 1 Rouyer, loc. cit. pp. 558–60.

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