Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Timeline: Kenya

I am doing a series of post on Kenya in which I am giving background information. The key to understanding present problems is looking at the past.

Here is a timeline of key events in the histroy of Kenya:

Source: BBC NEWS

Timeline: Kenya

A chronology of key events:

Evidence of some of the earliest human settlements has been found in Kenya, suggesting that it was the cradle of humanity from which descendents moved out to populate the world.

Maasai women: Once-nomadic tribes are turning to crop farming
600 - Arabs begin settling coastal areas, over the centuries developing trading stations which facilitated contact with the Arab world, Persia and India.

16th century - Portuguese try to establish foothold on Kenyan coast but are driven off by Swahili states and Omani Arabs by late 17th century.

1830s - Omani Arabs consolidate control of coast.

1895 - Formation of British East African Protectorate.

Early 1900s - White settlers move into highlands, railway built from Mombasa to Lake Victoria.
1920 - East African Protectorate becomes crown colony of Kenya - administered by a British governor.

Mau Mau
1944 - Kenyan African Union (KAU) formed to campaign for African independence. First African appointment to legislative council.

1947 - Jomo Kenyatta becomes KAU leader.

1952 - Secret Kikuyu guerrilla group known as Mau Mau begins violent campaign against white settlers. State of emergency declared. Kenyatta arrested.

1953 - Kenyatta charged with management of Mau Mau and jailed. KAU banned.

1956 - Mau Mau rebellion put down after thousands killed - mainly Africans.

1959 - Kenyatta released from jail but under house arrest.

1960 - State of emergency ends. Britain announces plans to prepare Kenya for majority African rule. Kenya African national Union (Kanu) formed by Tom Mboya and Oginga Odinga.

1961 - Kenyatta freed and assumes presidency of Kanu.

JOMO KENYATTA Independence activist, jailed by the British, became president Kenyatta talks about independence

1963 - Kenya gains independence, with Kenyatta as prime minister.

1964 - Republic of Kenya formed. Kenyatta becomes president and Odinga vice-president.

1966 - Odinga, a Luo, leaves Kanu after ideological split, forms rival Kenya People's Union (KPU).

1969 - Assassination of government minister Tom Mboya sparks ethnic unrest. KPU banned and Odinga arrested. Kanu only party to contest elections.

1974 - Kenyatta re-elected.

Moi era begins
1978 - Kenyatta dies in office, succeeded by Vice-President Daniel arap Moi.

1982 June - Kenya officially declared a one-party state by National Assembly.

1982 August - Army suppresses air force coup attempt. Private Hezekiah Ochuka rules for about six hours.

1987 - Opposition groups suppressed. International criticism of political arrests and human rights abuses.

1989 - Political prisoners freed.

1990 - Death of the foreign minister, Robert Ouko, in suspicious circumstances leads to increased dissent against government.

Multi-party elections
1991 August - Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford) formed by six opposition leaders, including Oginga Odinga. Party outlawed and members arrested. Creditors suspend aid to Kenya amid fierce international condemnation.

Daniel arap Moi, one of Africa's "Big Men" 2002: Moi's last big public appearance

1991 December - Special conference of Kanu agrees to introduce a multi-party political system.

1992 - Approximately 2,000 people killed in tribal conflict in the west of the country.

1992 August - Ford splits into two factions - Ford-Asili (led by ex-government minister Kenneth Matiba) and Ford-Kenya (led by Odinga).

1992 December - Moi re-elected in multi-party elections. Kanu wins strong majority.

1994 - Odinga dies. Opposition groups form coalition - the United National Democratic Alliance - but it is plagued by disagreements.

1995 - New opposition party - Safina - launched by palaeontologist Richard Leakey. Party refused official registration until November 1997.

1997 - Demonstrations calling for democratic reform. World Bank witholds disbursement of $5bn in structural adjustment credit.

1997 December - Moi wins further term in widely-criticised elections. His main opponents are former vice-president Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, son of Oginga Odinga.
Embassy bomb

1998 attack on US embassy in Nairobi killed 224, injured 4,500 BBC's Kate Adie reports on the aftermath

1998 August - Bomb explodes at US embassy in Nairobi, killing 224 people and injuring thousands.

1999 - Moi appoints Richard Leakey to head government drive against corruption.

2001 April - Leakey appears in court to face charges of abuse of power and perverting the course of justice.

2001 June - Parliament passes a law allowing the import and manufacture of cheap copies of anti-Aids drugs.

2001 - Ethnic tensions culminate in several violent clashes. In December thousands flee and several people are killed in rent battles involving Nubian and Luo communities in Nairobi's Kibera slum district.

2002 July - Some 200 Maasai and Samburu tribespeople accept more than $7m in compensation from the British Ministry of Defence. The tribespeople had been bereaved or maimed by British Army explosives left on their land over the last 50 years.

2002 November - 10 Kenyans, three Israelis are killed when an Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa is blown up by a car bomb. A simultaneous rocket attack on an Israeli airliner fails. A statement - purportedly from al-Qaeda - claims responsibility.

Kibaki victory

2002 December - Opposition presidential candidate Mwai Kibaki wins a landslide victory over Kanu rival Uhuru Kenyatta, ending Daniel arap Moi's 24-year rule and Kanu's four decades in power.

Moi's successor, Mwai Kibaki, promised to tackle corruption BBC's Matt Prodger on Kibaki's poll victory

2003 January - Government bill proposes anti-corruption commission. Moi critic John Githongo appointed anti-graft czar.

2003 November - International Monetary Fund (IMF) resumes lending after three-year gap, citing anti-corruption measures.

2003 December - Government decides to grant former president Daniel arap Moi immunity from prosecution on corruption charges.

2004 March-July - Long-awaited draft of new constitution completed. Document requires parliament's approval and proposes curbing president's powers and creating post of prime minister. But deadline for enactment is missed.

2004 July-August - Food crisis, caused by crop failures and drought, dubbed "national disaster" by President Kibaki. UN launches aid appeal for vulnerable rural Kenyans.

2004 October - Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

Controversy over jail conditions amid intense media coverage of inmate deaths at Meru jail in the east.

WANGARI MAATHAI Ecologist was first African woman to win Nobel Peace Prize

2005 January - Clashes over land and water rights leave more than 40 people dead.

2005 February - Corruption takes centre stage when it is claimed that graft has cost Kenya $1bn under Kibaki. Leading anti-graft official John Githongo resigns. International donors voice unease.

2005 July - Raiders kill 76 villagers, most of them women and children, in the north-east. The massacre is blamed on a rival clan.

Parliament approves a draft constitution after days of violent protests in Nairobi over aspects of the draft which demonstrators say give too much power to in the president's hands.
Constitution spurned

2005 November-December - Voters reject a proposed new constitution in what is seen as a protest against President Kibaki. The president replaces his cabinet; some nominees reject their appointments.

2006 January - Government says four million people in the north need food aid because of a drought which the president calls a "national disaster".

At least 14 people are killed and more than 100 are injured when a building collapses in Nairobi.
2006 January-February - Government ministers are linked to a corruption scandal involving contracts for a phantom company. One of them, Finance Minister David Mwiraria, resigns and says allegations against him are false.

2006 March - Armed police, acting on government orders, raid the offices and presses of the Standard group, one of Kenya's leading media companies.

2006 April - Three days of national mourning are declared after an aircraft carrying several prominent politicians crashes in the north.

2006 April - Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao signs a contract allowing China to prospect for oil off the Kenyan coast. His African tour has focused on trying to satisfy China's hunger for energy and raw materials.

2006 October - UN says some 35,000 Somalis escaping drought, Islamist rule and looming conflict have arrived in Kenyan camps since early 2006.

2006 November - December - Regional flooding renders thousands homeless. Some 100,000 Somali refugees cut off by floodwaters in the north-east are supplied by air drops.

2007 May - A Kenya Airways plane with 114 people on board crashes in Cameroon.

2007 December - Presidential and parliamentary elections. President Kibaki claims victory and a second term in office, prompting a wave of unrest.

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