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Look Inside Power and the Presidency in Kenya

Power and the Presidency in Kenya
The Jomo Kenyatta Years


Part of African Studies

  • Publication planned for: October 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108494045

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • In December 1963, Kenya formally declared its independence yet it would take a year of intense negotiations for it to transform into a presidential republic, with Jomo Kenyatta as its first president. Archival records of the independence negotiations, however, reveal that neither the British colonial authorities nor the Kenyan political elite foresaw the formation of a presidential regime that granted one man almost limitless executive powers. Even fewer expected Jomo Kenyatta to remain president until his death in 1978. Power and the Presidency in Kenya reconstructs Kenyatta's political biography, exploring the links between his ability to emerge as an uncontested leader and the deeper colonial and postcolonial history of the country. In describing Kenyatta's presidential style as discreet and distant, Angelo shows how the burning issues of land decolonisation, the increasing centralisation of executive powers and the repression of political oppositions shaped Kenyatta's politics. Telling the story of state building through political biography, Angelo reveals how historical contingency and structural developments shaped both a man and an institution - the president and the presidency.

    • Reconstructs Jomo Kenyatta's political biography to examine the links between his leadership and Kenya's deeper colonial history
    • Offers new perspectives on the origins and history of presidentialism in Kenya through the study of one man's rise to power and the presidency
    • Will appeal to historians and political scientists interested in both African and Kenyan postcolonial history, political history and biographical writing
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Power and Presidency in Kenya is an important contribution to the historiography of decolonization and of Kenya's post-colonial political landscape. But it also helps us better understand how presidential systems amass and enact power. Anaïs Angelo has written a lucid, engaging book of great interest to historians and political scientists alike.' Daniel Branch, University of Warwick

    'Anaïs Angelo combines an insightful analysis of the political imagination and political style of Jomo Kenyatta with a vivid portrayal of infighting among the elite around him. Her study provides a rare glimpse into politics at the summit of an African regime.' Frederick Cooper, New York University and author of Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present

    'In this newly researched book Dr Angelo persuasively enters into the controversies surrounding the first Kenyatta's presidency, to portray it as a power created by a political elite who had no authority other than his peculiarly enigmatic charisma and who then exploited it in their own self-interest, with an eye to insuring their privileges against the uncertain future that lay ahead without him.' John Lonsdale, University of Cambridge

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108494045
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Kenyatta's stateless political imagination
    2. From prison to party leader, an ambiguous ascension (1958–1961)
    3. Kenyatta, land and decolonisation (1961–1963)
    4. Independence and the making of a president (1963–1964)
    5. Kenyatta, Meru politics and the last Mau Mau (1961/3–1965)
    6. Taming oppositions: Kenyatta's 'secluded' politics (1964–1966)
    7. Ruling over a divided political family (1965–1969)
    8. 'Kenyatta simply will not contemplate his own death' (1970–1978)

  • Author

    Anaïs Angelo, Universität Wien, Austria
    Anaïs Angelo is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Universität Wien, Austria, where her research focuses on the history of presidentialism, political biographies and women in politics in postcolonial Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in History from the European University Institute, Florence and has conducted extensive archival research in Kenya.

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