Power and the Presidency in Kenya

Anaïs Angelo (Author)


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.

Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
December 12, 2019
7.34 X 0.81 X 9.38 inches | 1.2 pounds
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About the Author

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.