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1963: Kenyatta to be Kenya's first premier

AUDIO : Kenyatta's speech to the nation

Jomo Kenyatta is certain to become prime minister after his party, Kenya African Nation Union, won the country's first general election.

Thousands of Kenyans ran through the rain-drenched streets of Nairobi tonight cheering at news of the results.


"Let there be forgiveness"

Jomo Kenyatta

Latest figures show KANU has a majority in the House of Representatives - with 58 seats - over Ronald Ngala's Kenya African Democratic Union which has 28 seats. The only white candidate, Edward Hawkins, has lost his deposit.

In an address to the nation, Mr Kenyatta, aged 73 and known by his fellow Kikuyu as "Burning Spear", called for tribal and racial differences to be buried in favour of national unity under "the principles of democratic African socialism".

He said although his government aimed to free itself from British colonialism, it would not try to avenge past injustices.

"We are not to look to the past - racial bitterness, the denial of fundamental rights, the suppression of our culture... Let there be forgiveness," he said.

Tomorrow, he will be summoned by the British Governor, Malcolm MacDonald, to form a government in Government House.

"Leader to darkness and death"

It was here just three years ago that Mr Kenyatta was described by former governor Sir Patrick Renison as "the African leader to darkness and death".

Ten years ago, Mr Kenyatta, was jailed and later sent into internal exile by the British for his alleged involvement in the Mau Mau movement, a secret society of the Kikuyu tribe bent on achieving independence from Britain.

More than 14,000 Africans and Asians and 95 whites died between 1952 and 1957 during the Mau Mau rebellion.

The pressure of other African states for independence led to Mr Kenyatta's release in 1961 after which he discussed a new constitution for Kenya with the British.

In Context
Kenya was granted full independence in December 1963 and made a republic, with Jomo Kenyatta as its president, in 1964.

That year, the Kenya African Democratic Union merged with KANU and created what was in effect a one-party state.

Also in 1964, Kenya and fellow African states Tanganyika and Uganda had to ask for British military help to put down mutinies in their own armed forces.

As a result, Kenyatta became increasingly less tolerant of dissent, but continued to attack all forms of imperialism and apartheid.

He died in office and was succeeded in 1978 by President Daniel arap Moi. He ruled the country right up until December 2002 when democratic elections heralded a new era for Kenya and the arrival of Mwai Kibaki as president.


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