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Causes of the Scramble For East Africa

  1. The rise of Nationalism in Europe.
    • The Unification of Germany, after the Franco- Prussian war (1870-71) upset the balance of power in Europe and there was need to rebalance out through acquisition of colonies in Africa including east Africa. The Germans also felt that the only way their nation could gain recognition among other European powers was through securing colonial possession.
  2. Strategic location of East Africa in relation to Egypt.
    • Europeans were concerned with the source of the river Nile in East Africa and control of the Suez Canal. Therefore, the ownership of East Africa was crucial to the Egyptian affairs. East Africa, had, from the days of the Portuguese conquest in the 15th century, proved to be a strategic location for fresh supplies. That is why the Germans and the British competed for possessions in the region.
  3. The need to speed up economic development of the European countries.
    • The industrialized nations were rushing for colonies to tap raw materials to keep their factories running.
    • There was also a popular believe that East Africa contained pockets of precious metals awaiting exploitation.
    • They were also driven by the search for market for European produced goods.
    • The Europeans were also looking for places to invest their capital.

  4. The rise of Public opinion in Europe.
    • There was growth of public support towards the acquisition of colonies. E.g., the Daily Press in London spoke well about acquiring colonies.
  5. Social factors.
    • East Africa was to be occupied as a means of stamping out slave trade and replacing it with legitimate trade.
    • The Europeans were keen on spreading their culture to east Africa.
    • They wanted to protect their missionaries who were already operating in east Africa

The Process of Partition

The Berlin conference failed to fully resolve the rivalry between the Germans and the British in East Africa.

The activities of Karl Peters and Harry Johnstone for the Germans and the British respectively in the Mount Kilimanjaro region depicted intense rivalry which almost led to war.

The two signed treaties with local chiefs as a way of legalizing their arbitrary declaration of their spheres of influence. Karl peters even declared german protectorate over Ungulu, Uzigua, Usagara and Ukami.

These activities together with those of Sir William Mackinnon of the Imperial British East Africa Company became the immediate cause of the partition of east Africa. The partition of East Africa was sealed through the following two treaties.

The Anglo-German Agreement of 1886

The agreement facilitated peaceful settlement of the german and British claims on east Africa as follows;

  1. The Sultan was given the 16 KM (10mile) coastal strip from Vanga to Lamu. He also acquired islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, mafia, Lamu, pate and Towns like Lamu, Kisimayu, Mogadishu, Merca, and Brava.
  2. Germany acquired the coastline of Witu the region between river Umba in the North and river Ruvuma in the south.
  3. The British got the territory north of river Umba up to river Juba in the north.

However, the treaty failed to determine the western boundary, thus leaving Uganda up for grab to any power that got there first. Uganda therefore became a theatre of intense rivalry between Karl Peters who even secured a treaty with Kabaka Mwanga in 1890 and Fredrick Lugard who tried in vain to sign a treaty with Kabaka Mwanga.

This tension is what led to the Heligoland Treaty of 1890.

Terms of the Heligoland Treaty of 1890

  1. Germany officially recognized Uganda as a British sphere of influence/protectorate.
  2. Germany abandoned her claim over the territory of Witu for British in exchange for Heligoland island in the North sea
  3. Germany accepted British protectorate over Zanzibar and Pemba.
  4. Germany acquired a strip of land on Lake Tanganyika from Britain and the Coastal region of Tanganyika from the Sultan of Zanzibar.
  5. The Sultan of Zanzibar retained a 16km (10 miles) Coastal strip.

This treaty thus ended the scramble for and partition of East Africa.

British Occupation of Kenya

Methods used by the British to Occupy Kenya.

  1. Signing of treaties. The following treaties were signed either by the British or on behalf of the British to facilitate their occupation of Kenya;
    • A treaty by Sir William Mackinnon and the Sultan of Zanzibar Barghash in 1887 which effectively put Zanzibar under the British for 50 years.
    • The Maasai Agreements of 1904 and 1911 between Oloibon Lenana and the British
    • The Anglo-Germany Treaties of 1886 and 1890.
  2. Collaboration. The British collaborated with communities like the Wanga and Maasai who were later used as bases to extend British Authority over other areas.
  3. Establishing operational bases. The British built Forts like Fort Smith (Kabete) and Fort Hall (Murang’a) to enhance their political control.
  4. Use of company Rule. In the initial stages, due to the fear of the enormous costs of effective occupation and administration, the British mandated the IBEA. Company to administer the Kenyan protectorate. The Imperial British East Africa Company of Sir William Mackinnon was given the royal charter in 1888 and thus had the following new powers;
    • Levying and collecting taxes and institute custom duties in the area.
    • Establishing political authority and Maintain of law and order in the British East Africa.
    • Promoting legitimate trade and Eradicate slave trade
    • Developing and civilizing the indigenous peoples with the assistance of the imperial consul based in Zanzibar.

Achievements of the IBEAC

  1. The company succeeded in quelling local aggression in the British spheres of influence from communities such as the Nandi, Maasai and Akamba.
  2. The company established a series of Forts at Kibwezi, Machakos, Smith and Dagoretti, which laid the basis for colonial administration in Kenya.
  3. The company improved transport and communication in the protectorate by pioneering road construction in Kenya. For example the Sclater’s Road between Kibwezi and Busia in 1894 which assisted in transportation of railway building materials.
  4. The company succeeded in eradicating slavery to some extend and securing freedom for many slaves.
  5. The company also developed a rubber industry along the coast and the interior.

Reasons why Britain used the IBEA Company to Administer her Possession

  1. Absence of a clear policy on the administration of colonial possessions. This gave room to the use of the company to administer the colony.
  2. The company could provide cheap administrative capital that Britain had failed to raise for colonial governance. The colonies were not yet economically viable
  3. There was a problem of inadequate personnel to be used in the administration of the colonies.
  4. I.B.E.A.Co’s long experience in the region. The company had invested heavily in east Africa, hence making its participation in the administration of the colony inevitable.

Why Company Rule had Failed by 1895

  1. The region lacked strategic natural resources for export thus making the IBEACO, a trading company, to operate at a loss and narrow its revenue base. Minerals like Gold, copper and Diamond were not existent.
  2. The company lacked sufficient capital to carry out the day- to- day administrative operations. The company had spent the little funds available in the construction of fortified trading stations, with little reward.
  3. Transportation of goods in the region proved expensive and slow as the region did not have any navigable rivers
  4. The company faced the problem of poor coordination of its activities caused by lack of proper channels of communication between the head office in Europe and the offices in the colony.
  5. Some of the company officials were corrupt and therefore misappropriated funds.
  6. The company faced numerous resistances especially in the Nandi country thus disrupting their operation. At one time, Fort Smith was set on fire by African resisters.
  7. Some of the company officials lacked experience in administrative matters since most of them came merely as traders.
  8. The company officials also were affected by the harsh tropical climate and diseases like malaria and sleeping sickness that killed many.

The company thus surrendered the Charter in 1895 to the British government for a compensation of 250,000 dollars

Factors Facilitated the Establishment of the British Control over Kenya during the 19th Century

  1. The Christian missionary factor. They created an atmosphere of friendship with Africans, which was important for colonization. They also occasionally called home for protection against hostile communities.
  2. Presence of trading company (IBEACO. The companies through their agents signed treaties with African rulers and among themselves as a means of initiating effective occupation of Kenya.
  3. Superior military power/good army. The European armies were more efficient than he African ones. This was witnessed in the ability to quell the numerous wars of resistance like the Nandi resistance.
  4. Disunity among African communities. By the time the British came to East Africa, the Wanga were up against the neighboring communities in western Kenya, the Nandi and the Maasaiwere at war and the Mijikenda against the coastal Arabs over land. This was of advantage to the British.
  5. Signing of treaties. There was Collaboration of some communities with the British. The Maasai signed the Maasai Agreement of 1900. The Wanga also signed various treaties with the British.
  6. The British policy of indirect rule was readily acceptable, thus reducing the chances of resistance.
  7. Financial support from the home government.

Kenya People's Responses to the British Invasion of Kenya

Africans in Kenya offered varied responses to the British intrusion into their country. Some resisted while other collaborated.The communities that resisted actively included the Nandi, Agiryama, Bukusu, Somali and sections of the Agikuyu

The Nandi Resistance (1895-1906)

Reasons why the Nandi resisted British occupation of their land

  1. The Nandi had gained a lot of pride, having subdued their neighbours E.g the Luo, Maasai, Abagusii and Abaluhyia. At that time, they were enjoying a sense of superiority that gave them confidence to take the British Intruders head-on.
  2. The Nandi military superiority made them feel equal if not superior to the whites. Their warriors were well- trained and equipped and had gained a lot of experience through the numerous cattle raids the conducted against their neighbours.
  3. The Nandi detested the physical appearance of the white people which they considered as evil and must be expelled from their community.
  4. The Nandi were opposed to Land alienation by the British. They disliked the grabbing of their land for railway construction/white settlement.
  5. Kimnyole’s prophecy that foreigners would dominate the Nandi motivated them to fight against the Europeans.
  6. The Nandi had a long history of resisting and fighting intruders. They had successfully warded off the Arab and Swahili traders in the 1850s.
  7. The Nandi resisted as a means of safeguarding their independence which they had enjoyed for a long time.
  8. The Nandi also enjoyed unity under the leadership of Koitalel Arap Samoei between 1895 and 1905. This had helped them to register numerous victories against neighbouring communities. They therefore felt strong enough to resist the British.

Course of the Nandi rebellion

The Nandi wars of resistance began in 1895. The Nandi mainly employed guerilla warfare ambushing the caravan traders and mail carriers who passed in their territory.

When two Nandi warriors strayed into the Guasa Mesa administrative camp headed by Andrew Dick in 1895, he murdered them as a response to the attacks by the Nandi on foreigners passing in their territory. The Nandi retaliated through the murder of a British trader, Peter West and thirty of his workers. This sparked off British punitive expeditions against the Nandi with the first in 1897 which however failed to stop the Nandi raids.

When the railway reached the Nandi territory, they refused to cooperate with the railway builders and even kept stealing building materials to make weapons and ornaments. They even ambushed and murdered railway builders.

In 1900, the British sent three punitive expeditions under Colonel Evatt, the commander of the Uganda Rifles reinforced by the Maasai, Baganda, Swahili and Indian mercenaries. The Nandi were supported by the Kipsigis enabling them to resist for so long causing high death toll on the British and the Nandi as well.

The year 1901 witnessed a temporary truce worked out by the British administrator, Walter Mayes (1901-1905), after realizing the heavy causalities both sides were experiencing.

The war was re-ignited when the Nandi realized that the British had started settling and farming on their land. They destroyed the railway in protest. The British reacted by destroying crops and villages and stealing cattle for the next three years.

The Nandi war of resistance only ended when the British officer in Nandi, Captain Meinertzhagen, hatched a plan to have Koitalel, the chief coordinator of the résistance, killed. He and his advisers were killed in October 1905, during a “peace” meeting convened by Meinertzhagen.

The Nandi finally sought for peace in December 1905 ending the ten year long resistance.

Why the Nandi offered the longest and strongest ever resistance to the British intrusion in Kenya.

  1. The British intrusion into their territory happened when the Nandi were at the best of their power and superiority.
  2. Existence of a superior military organization based on the age set system. The Nandi army was strong and could match any foreign force. The regimental age-set system supplied the Nandi with young men who were experienced in battle, disciplined, organized and were effective.
  3. The Nandi also possessed knowledge of weapon manufacture and repair through their local ironsmiths and using stolen railway material.
  4. The Nandi enjoyed regular supply of food and war equipment which sustained the fighters for a long period. This was mainly aided by the Nandi mixed economy enabling them to turn livestock for food when the British destroyed crops.
  5. The Nandi had good knowledge of the terrain in which they were fighting the intruders thus having an advantage over the British who were not familiar with the terrain. The difficulties faced by the British as posed by the terrain disadvantaged them durin g the resistance
  6. The Nandi knowledge of Guerilla tactics. This enabled them to organize many surprise attacks while vandalizing key British installations like the telegraph lines.
  7. The existence of strong leadership. The Nandi leadership was religiously inspired and therefore very strong. The Orkoiyot was their symbol of unity and strength and was believed to possess some supernatural powers that gave courage to the fighters.
  8. Their enemies, the British troops, were slowed down in their advance by problems like respiratory disease due to the wet and cold climate. The Nandi were accustomed to these conditions
  9. The Nandi received assistance from the Kipsigis fighters – the Elgeyo, Lembus and Nyangori which enabled them to hold off the British for Six weeks in 1900.

Why the Nandi were defeated in the hands of the British

  1. The British obtained support, against the Nandi, from the collaborating communities like the Somali and the Maasai.
  2. The British military strength remained superior to that of the Nandi especially in terms of the weapons. Their guns were superior to the Nandi spears.
  3. There was an outbreak of smallpox in the Nandi country 1890. This weakened them by killing many and rendering others unable to fight on.
  4. They Nandi failed to get support from the neighboring Kenyan communities like the Luo and the Abaluhyia who were not friendly to them.
  5. The treachery employed by Captain Meinertzhagen, the British commander who lured Nandi Orkoiyot Koitalel Arap Samoei to a meeting where he was killed.
  6. The death of Koitalel Arap Samoei demoralized the Nandi into even signing for peace.
  7. The British used Scorched Earth Policy, which seemed more punitive to the Nandi since their houses were burnt and livestock confiscated.

Results of the Nandi resistance

  1. The Nandi country was colonized by the British after 1906. The Nandi lost their independence.
  2. There was massive loss of life. Koitalel Arap Samoei, his entire council of elders and over 1000 warriors were killed. The British also experienced casualties on the part of their forces.
  3. There was destruction of property through burning and looting. E.g the British confiscated at least 5000 herds of cattle and burnt more than 5000 huts and grain stores.
  4. There was massive land alienation. The Nandi were pushed into reserves where they experienced impoverishment due to drought and cattle diseases. The Nandi lot their territory and traditional salt licks at Kapchekendi and Kamelilo that were now inhabited by the whites.
  5. The Nandi military organization disintegrated thus making them lose their dignity and authority in the region.
  6. The Nandi were separated from their close cousins and allies the Kipsigis through the creation of the Nandi Reserves where they were confined. Their economic lifestyle of grazing animals freely was also disrupted.
  7. Many Nandi warriors were recruited into the colonial police.

Agiriama Resistance

A Bantu speaking group inhabiting the coastal region, their reaction to the British invasion was motivated by the reaction of the Mazrui Arabs and the Swahili who rose up against the British in 1895.

The Agiriama reaction began as an offer of support to the Mazrui Arabs, with whom they had long trading links, during their conflict with the British over succession to the Takaungu Sheikhdom.

The Agiriama was also hitting back against the Busaidi Arabs who were encroaching on their territory. The British had supported the Al Busaidi collaborators throughout succession conflict.

The British reacted by bombarding Rashid’s Headquarters at Mweli forcing the Agiriama and the Mazrui to resort to guerilla warfare. While the Mazrui Arabs later surrendered, the Agiriama now resorted to full scale résistance against the British encroachment in 1914.

Causes of the Agiriama resistance

  1. They did not want to pay taxes, especially hut tax that was hurting to traditionally polygamous group,   to the British. The British also were forcing them to pay it in terms of labour instead of allowing them to sell their grains and livestock to pay.
  2. They had lost their independence/the British replaced the Agiriama traditional rulers with their own appointees
  3. They were opposed to forced labour on British plantations for little or no pay especially on land that had been snatched from them.
  4. The British did not respect their culture. The British policemen at Kitengani insulted the Agiriama culture by raping their women.
  5. The Agiriama were reacting against forced conscription into the King’s African Rifles. They were forced to produce 1000 able-bodied men within a month, join the British army
  6. They lost their land to the British due to the massive land alienation for settler farming. They were forced to offer paid labour on their own former land to the chagrin of the elders.
  7. The British, who were seeking to take over the Agiriama role as middlemen, disrupted their trade in ivory and food stuffs
  8. They disliked the British-appointed headmen whose duties included collection of taxes and recruitment of labour.

Course of the resistance

The Agiriama resistance was inspired by a Giriama prophetess, Mekatilili WA Menza. She was joined by an Elder, Wanje wa Madorika in mobilizing people to a mass resistance against the British rule.

The immediate course of their reaction was the forced military recruitment into the KAR. To provoke the British to war, they barred their young men from moving outside their villages to work.Mekatilili and Wanje called on the people to return to their ancestral shrine at Kaya Fungo and offer sacrifices and denounced all appointed puppet rulers in favour of the traditional council of elders.

The two administered traditional oaths to unite and inspire the people to war. I.e. the Mukushekushe oath for women and the Fisi oath for men. When a state of emergency was declared by the British over the Agiriama, they resorted to Hit and-run warfare. They attacked the homes of loyalists, Europeans and collaborators forcing the missionaries to seeker refuge at Rabai.

The British countered the hit-and-run warfare with burning villages and crops and driving away livestock. The resistance only subsided when Mekatilili and Wanje were arrested and deported to Kisii. The Arabs, under Fadhili bin Omari, mediated between the Agiriama and the British, marking the end of the war under the following terms;

  1. The Agiriama to offer a specific number of labourers for European settlers and public works.
  2. They would also offer a certain number of able-bodied men to serve in the King’s African Rifles.
  3. The British would occupy all the land to the north of River Sabaki.

Role of Mekatilili in the Agiriama resistance.

  1. She encouraged the Agiriama to face the British by administering the Mukushekushe and Fisi oaths to unite the people to war.
  2. She presented the grievances of the Agiriama, some of which the British later addressed.
  3. She rallied the people together against a common enemy thus laying the basis for nationalistic struggles for independence.

Results of the Agiriama resistance to the British

  1. Many people lost their lives some as fighters while others were caught in the crossfire.
  2. The Agiriama lost their independence to the British
  3. There was Rampant destruction of property i.e. food stores at home, food crops in the fields and cattle. Some property was lost through confiscation.
  4. The community’s economic activities were disrupted, especially the lucrative trade at Takaungu, where they had been acting as middlemen.
  5. The Agiriama were prohibited from brewing traditional liquor.
  6. The British withdrew their order demanding Agiriama to move out of their homes.
  7. For the first time women took up the leadership of the rebellion e.g. Mekatilili

Bukusu Resistance

Reasons why the Bukusu resisted the British rule

  1. They wanted to safeguard their independence and culture i.e. circumcision.
  2. They were being compelled to recognize Nabongo Mumia as the overall leader of Abaluhyia.
  3. The Bukusu did not like the idea of paying taxes to the British through force.
  4. They resented the British demand in 1894, that the Bukusu warriors surrender guns they possessed.
  5. The British invasion had happened when the Bukusu were enjoying immense military power.

Course of the resistance

The Bukusu resistance began with the ambush of a trade caravan heading to Ravine through bukusuland. The Bukusu stole all the rifles. When they were commanded to surrender all the guns in 1894 and declined, the British sent a punitive expedition which however was defeated. The British administrator at Elureko, Charles Hobley sought for reinforcement from Major William Grant of the Ugandan protectorate.

In 1895, at the battles of Lumboka and Chetambe, the Bukusu were summarily defeated.

Methods used by the Bukusu to resist the British.

  1. Use of Warfare. They directly fought the British troops led by Major William Grant, at Lumboka and Chetambe hills.
  2. Ambushes. The Bukusu ambushed a caravan of traders, sent by the commanding officer at Kavirondo to the Ravine Station.
  3. Revolting against rule by Wanga agents. The Bukusu Murdered a Wanga agent, Hamisi, who had been sent, to administer the area. `

Effects of the Bukusu resistance

  1. The Bukusu lost most of their land through massive land alienation
  2. They lost their independence as bukusuland was declared part of the British East Africa Protectorate
  3. There was massive loss of life within the Bukusu and the British forces.
  4. There was loss of property and disruption of Bukusu economy. The Bukusu lost their cattle and sheep.
  5. Bukusu women and children were taken prisoners by the British.

The Somali Resistance

The Somali resistance was a reaction to the British declaration that Jubaland was a British protectorate. They were led by their leader Ahmad bin Murgan.

causes of Somali resistance

  1. The Somali were opposed to the division of Somaliland into the British and Italian spheres of influence, which separated the clans.
  2. They were opposed to punitive expedition sent against them by the British.
  3. The Somali people being Muslims were opposed to being controlled by the British who were Christians.
  4. The British attempted to stop the Somali raiding activities against their neighbors.
  5. The Somali were against British control of their pastureland and watering points.
  6. The British wanted the Somali to drop their nomadic way of life.

Course of the resistance

The British initially reacted minimally to the Somali aggression on their Kisimayu neighbourhood in 1898 due to the following reasons;

  1. They viewed such an undertaking as to expensive in terms of the arms and military personnel that would have been involved.
  2. The Somali were a nomadic group therefore it was very hard and time consuming to suppress them.
  3. There was no economic justification for waging such a war on a highly unproductive territory. However, when the Somali murdered the British sub-commissioner for Jubaland, Mr Jenner, in 1900, the British dispatched a punitive expedition of Indian regiments against them.The Somali rose up again in 1905 against the British after they had procured Firearms. The Somali skirmishes continued into 1914 with the change of boundaries and finally ended in 1925 when Jubaland was put under the Italian Somaliland.

Results of the Somali resistance

  1. There was massive loss of life, as many Somalis were killed. Sub-commissioner Jenner was also killed.
  2. The British divide the Darod and Hawiye clans through the boundary changes of 1914.
  3. The Somali cattle were confiscated.
  4. Somali lost their independence through the declaration of the protectorate status.
  5. The process of colonization by Europeans was delayed considerably.
  6. There was favorable boundary change that saw Ogaden being placed under Italian Somaliland.

In Kenya, the Maasai, Wanga and a section of the Agikuyu, Akamba, and Luo collaborated.

The Maasai Collaboration

In the 19th century, the Maasai community changed from a once feared community to one marred by succession disputes and natural calamities. The Disputes between Lenana and Sendeyo over succession of Mbatian after he died weakened the Maasai community to the level of merely collaborating with the British intruders. Sendeyo moved with his followers to northern Tanzania leaving behind Lenana’s group who chose the path of collaboration.

Reasons for the Maasai collaboration with the British

  1. Losses of the Maasai military supremacy. At the time the British came to Kenya, the Nandi had overtaken the Maasai in terms of military superiority. They therefore sought for foreignsupport against their aggressors.
  2. Internal feuds. There were a series of succession disputes in the period between 1850 and 1890 caused by differences in economic activities. In one of the disputes, when Lenana seemed to be losing to Sendeyo, he appealed to the British for support.
  3. Natural calamities/disasters. The Maasai country witnessed severe hunger, livestock and human diseases in the 1850s. These weakened them more making them unable to resist.
  4. Threat and wars from the Agikuyu. When the Maasai went to reclaim their women and children at the end of the hunger period, they were met with outright threat of attacks from the Agikuyu. They therefore sought British support.
  5. Prophecy of Mbatian. He prophesized the coming of a white man who was more powerful and that the Maasai should not bother to resist him.
  6. Lenana personally chose the path of collaboration because he wanted to consolidate his position and that of his kingdom. He was looking for the much needed military support to overcome his sibling, Sendeyo of the Loita Maasai.

The process of Maasai collaboration.

The attempt by Lenana to secure assistance against Sendeyo was the beginning of his collaboration with the British. The Kedong massacre incident (Maasai warriors attacked a caravan of Swahili and Agikuyu traders travelling from Ravine) and the resultant death of 100 Maasai at the hands of three white men (Andrew Dick and two French companions) made the Maasai the immediately seek for collaboration with the British.

They cooperated with the British in establishment of colonial administration. The provided mercenaries in the British punitive expedition against the Nandi, Kipsigis and Kikuyu. Maasai were rewarded with cattle acquired from uncooperative peoples e.g. The Nandi and Agikuyu

They exchanged gifts and used British manufactured goods. Lenana was made a paramount chief. Between 1904 and 1923, a fair proportion of the Maasai agreed to be moved from one grazing land to another to pave way for British settlement.

They signed the first Maasai agreement in 1904 by which they moved into two reserves, one to the south of Ngong and the railway and the other up on the Laikipia plateau. A corridor of five kilometres was set aside in Kinangop for the Eunoto ceremony that accompanied circumcision. The second Maasai agreement of 1911 implied the Maasai abandon the Laikipia plateau to rejoin others in the enlarged southern reserve.

Results of the Maasai collaboration

  1. Lenana was made a paramount chief of the Maasai in 1901.
  2. The collaboration led to the separation of the Maasai related clans. The Purko Maasai were divided into the Loita and Ngong Maasai.
  3. There was massive land alienation with the Maasai being moved to the Ngong and Laikipia reserves and later the southern reserve.
  4. Maasai freedom in conducting rituals was curtailed with their confinement to a five –square-mile reserve for initiation rites.
  5. The Maasai lost their independence. Just like any other part of kenya, Maasailand became part of the British protectorate.
  6. There was total disruption of their territorial integrity. Even their cattle economy was disrupted as the number of livestock was reduced. There was an attempt to cause them to abandon their nomadic habit.
  7. The Maasai gained material reward in form of cattle and grains looted from resisting communities like the Nandi and Luo of Ugenya.
  8. Their age old custom of livestock cross- breeding with their Samburu neighbours was disrupted with the curtailing of their migratory behaviour. Their stock was therefore weakened.
  9. Some Maasai were hired as mercenaries against the resisting communities such as the Nandi and Agikuyu.

Wanga Collaboration

Nabongo Mumia, the Wanga leader from 1880, was an ambitious and shrewd leader who had the desire to expand his Kingdom through collaboration with British intruders and soliciting their military assistance.

Reasons for Wanga Collaboration

  1. Nabongo Mumia hoped that by collaborating, he would be made a paramount Chief of the entire western region.
  2. There was family rivalry over leadership. This compelled Mumia to seek help against his brother Sakwa. He wanted to safeguard his position at home.
  3. He wanted British protection against the Nandi, who were by then enjoying military superiority, the Bukusu and the Luo of Ugenya
  4. He wanted to revive a disintegrating kingdom.
  5. He wanted to take advantage of the British western civilization particularly education and religion. He also wanted material gains from the British.
  6. He aimed at achieving territorial expansion. Mumia aimed at ruling up to Kabras, Kimilili, Marama, Butsotso, Ugenya and Samia.
  7. He realized that his community was very small and it was futile to resist the militarily superior Europeans.
  8. Having realized that the British declaration of western Kenya as their sphere of influence was inevitable, he chose to become their ally at the earliest opportunity ever.

Process of Wanga Collaboration

Mumia’s contact with the outside world began when he befriended the Swahili and Arab caravan traders and later the IBEA Company merchants when they visited wangaland. They built a fort and a trading station at Elureko, his capital, which was to remain the headquarters of the British administration in western Kenya until 1920.

Ways in which Nabongo of Wanga collaborate with the British.

  1. He offered his seat-elureko to become an operational base of the British expeditions.
  2. He offered his men to fight alongside the British in their expeditions against other communities.
  3. He provided Wanga agents to aid the British in administering the conquered areas.
  4. The Wanga provided food, water and shelter to the British invading forces.
  5. They gave the British free passage through their territory and offered them hiding places during the battles.
  6. Mumia signed treaties of friendship with the British.

Results of the Wanga collaboration with the British.

  1. Wanga kingdom was strengthened using military support from the British. Wanga kingdom was expanded. Nabongo gained more territories e.g. Samia, Bunyala and Busoko
  2. Their king Mumia was declared a paramount Chief thus raising his prestige. He ruled as a British paramount chief ruling as far as Bunyala, Gem , Ugenya and Alego, upto 1926, when he officially retired
  3. Mumia warriors became agents of the British colonialism. The warriors were used to subdue the Luo, Bukusu and Nandi.
  4. The Wanga Princes became agents of British rule over western Kenya. For example, Mumia’s half-brother Murunga was appointed chief of the Isukha and Idakho.
  5. Mumias headquarters at Elureko became the seat of British administration in western Kenya upto 1920 when it was moved to Kakamega.
  6. Mumia and his people gained material benefits from the British through trade, western education and religion.
  7. Nabongo Mumia became an important ally of the British administration in western ken\ya, providing them with vital information over the appointment of chiefs and Headmen in western Kenya.
  8. Due to the Wanga Collaboration, there was intensified enmity and hostility between the Wanga people and other Abaluhyia subsections who viewed the Wanga as traitors.
  9. However, The Wanga, just like any other collaborator or resister lost their independence when Kenya was declared a British Colony in 1920.

The communities that exhibited mixed reaction were the Akamba, Agikuyu and Luo.

The Akamba Reaction

The arrival of the British traders threatened to destabilize the prominence enjoyed by the Akamba as middlemen during the long distance trade. The British even tried to stop the Akamba from organizing raids on their Oromo, Agikuyu and Maasai neighbours.

Why did the Akamba decide to resist British administration?

  1. The British failed to respect Akamba traditions and customs. For example, the cutting down of the ithembo (shrine) tree for a flag post at Mutituni in 1891.
  2. When the Akamba attacked the Agikuyu, The British intervened against them. This was not taken kindly.
  3. The Akamba were protesting the misconduct of Company officials based at Machakos who stole from the local people and raped Akamba women.
  4. The establishment of colonial administration disrupted the long distance trade, which was the Akamba lifeline.
  5. The establishment of British rule meant loss of independence for the Akamba.
  6. The establishment of military posts in Ukambani without their consent. The British built a fort at Masaku in 1890.
  7. The British kept on disrupting their peace by sending military expeditions that resulted in death and massive destruction of property.
  8. The Akamba were also resisting forced labour.

Course of the Akamba resistance.

In 1890, Nzibu Mweu led he Akamba in boycotting to sell goods to the company agents.

Prophetess Syonguu also ordered the Iveti Warriors to attack the Masaku fort in the same year as a reaction to the cutting down of the ithembo tree for a flagpole.The British agents were defeated during this surprise attack.When the British tried to stop the Akamba raids on their neighbours in 1894, a Warrior, Mwatu wa Ngoma ordered the Akamba warriors, who had been inspired by medicinemen, to attack the British.

The British responded with devastating consequences on the side of the Akamba forcing them into collaboration with the British District Commissioner, John Ainsworth. Mwatu wa Ngoma became a collaborator.Later, another gallant fighter, Mwanamuka, led the Kangundo people to attack the colonial police at Mukuyuni and Mwala, killing six. With the assistance of Maasai mercenaries, the British sent a punitive expedition against the Akamba and even confiscated their livestock.When Mwanamuka tried to blockade the Lukenya area to cut off communication between Fort Smith and Masaku, he was met with devastating consequences that forced him to also petition for peace.

Why a section of the Akamba collaborated with the British

  1. They had lost heavily during the Akamba-British war of 1894 causing them to fear the British.
  2. The ruthlessness with which the British attacked the Akamba scared many warriors into collaborating. For example, the Machakos station superintendent, Leith dispatched troops to deal with Syonguu’s forces in 1891, causing merciless killings and looting of property.
  3. Some especially the trades collaborated expecting material gains.
  4. Collaborators wanted to gain prestige.
  5. They wanted to get guns to be used in robbing for wealth.
  6. The Akamba had been weakened by the 1899 famine and were therefore unable to effectively tackle the British.

Reasons for the Akamba defeat

  1. Some of the Akamba were not patriotic to the resistance course. Some self-serving opportunists allied with the colonial agents with the aim of enriching themselves thereby resulting in the Akamba defeat.
  2. Internally, the Akamba lacked territorial cohesion. It was therefore very difficult to coordinate a strong resistance to British rule among a highly segmented society lacking in a centralized system of government.
  3. Sections of The Akamba community experienced severe famine in 1899. They were weakened to the level of being unable to stage a gainful resistance to the British.
  4. The role of missionaries who pacified some sections to the level of collaborating with the intruders. The missionaries actively undermined their religious practices and traditional beliefs.
  5. When the Akamba caravan trade and raiding activities were disrupted, they had lost a significant source of livelihood and thus became weakened more.

Consequences of the Akamba reaction

  1. The Akamba lost their independence as their territory was declared a British protectorate.
  2. There was massive alienation of Kamba land to pave way for white settlement.
  3. Many people, especially the Akamba warriors lost their lives during the confrontations with the British soldiers.
  4. The British interfered with the Akamba culture by cutting down the Ithembo tree and raping their women.
  5. The Akamba were subjected to heavy taxation in order to raise revenue for the colonial administration.
  6. Many of the Akamba men were forcefully conscripted into the King’s African Rifles to fight in World War I.

The Agikuyu Reaction

The Agikuyu was also a highly segmented nature lacking in territorial unity. This explains why they had mixed reaction against the British.

causes of Agikuyu resistance.

  1. The British failed to respect Agikuyu traditions and customs. The missionaries campaignedagainst female circumcision and Kikuyu forms of worship.
  2. Misconduct of company officials. They stole from the local people, killing some of them, and raped Agikuyu women.
  3. The Agikuyu were revolting against the forced supply of grains and water, by their women, to the British soldiers.
  4. There was massive land alienation, which had left many landless or pushed to unproductive land.
  5. Harassment of the Agikuyu, by British punitive expeditions. To enforce their policies, the British usually applied excessive force.
  6. The British had begun meddling in the Agikuyu internal affairs making them suspicious of their intentions.
  7. Fear of Loss of independence by some leaders like Waiyaki wa Hinga.
  8. The Agikuyu were reacting against the punishment meted on them by the British for raiding Fort Smith in 1892.

Reasons why some Agikuyu collaborated.

  1. Agikuyu leaders like Kinyanjui wa Gathirimu and Karuri wa Gakure wanted to derive personal wealth and prestige through collaboration.
  2. Kinyanjui wa Gathirimu and Karuri wa Gakure hoped that by collaborating, they would be made paramount Chiefs among the Agikuyu.
  3. The collaborators wanted British protection against their enemies amongst the Agikuyu and other neighbouring communities.
  4. They wanted to take advantage of the British western civilization particularly education and religion.
  5. They also wanted material gains from the British through trading with them.
  6. The Agikuyu of Nyeri realized that it was futile to resist the militarily superior Europeans. They therefore chose to collaborate.

Organization of the Agikuyu reaction

When captain Lugard established a fort at Dagoretti in 1890, he began relating with Waiyaki WA Hinga who was in charge of the area. Wayaki’s people supplied Lugard’s men with food.

However, when Wilson took over from Lugard who had left for Uganda, his soldiers began looting food and livestock from the Agikuyu. The Agikuyu reacted by setting the Dagoretti fort on fire. Waiyaki was arrested by the forces sent by Sub-commissioner Ainsworth, and died enroute to Mombasa. It is alleged that he was buried alive at Kibwezi after provoking his captors.

Kinyanjui WA Gathirimu, a collaborator, succeeded Waiyaki at Dagoretti. In 1899, Fort Dagoretti was closed down due to a series of raids. Francis Hall opened another Fort at Murang’a (renamed Fort Hall after his death in 1901) after the locals were subdued and forced to accept the British Colonial rule.

British trader John Boyes forged an alliance with Karuri WA Gakure, the Agikuyu leader at Fort Hall, which enabled him to subdue the resisting Agikuyu groups. He also made contacts with Wang’ombe of Gaki (Nyeri) who together with Gakure supplied the British with mercenaries in exchange for confiscated loots from resisting groups.

Meinertzhagen, who succeeded Francis Hall in 1902, subdued the Muruku and Tetu section (led by Chief Gakere) of the Agikuyu. Chief Gakere was murdered and his associates deported to the coast after they wiped out the entire Asian caravan on the slopes of the Aberdares.

The Agikuyu of Iriani (Nyeri) were defeated in 1904 and their Aembu and Ameru allies sought for peace in 1906, having seen the effects of resisting.By 1910, British rule had been established in the entire Mount Kenya region. With the Agikuyu settling peacefully in the reserves upto 1920s when they began to agitate again.


Results of the Agikuyu mixed reaction.

  1. The reactions fuelled mistrust, hatred and animosity in most of Kikuyuland. Such feelings of mistrust continue among the Agikuyu of Murang’a, Kiambu and Nyeri up-to-date.
  2. There was massive alienation of Agikuyu land by the British with the help of the collaborators like Wang’ombe WA Ihura and Gathirimu who gave land to the British for construction.
  3. Some Agikuyu leaders amassed a lot of wealth and rose to prominence. For example, Karuri wa Gakure and Wang’ombe of Nyeri,
  4. The collaborators like Kinyanjui wa Gathirimu and his people received western education and were converted to Christianity.
  5. There was massive loss of lives for the resisters. For example Waiyaki wa Hinga and many Agikuyu fighters were killed.
  6. The Agikuyu, both collaborators and Resisters lost their independence when their territory was declared a British protectorate.
  7. The Agikuyu wars of resistance forced the British to shift their administrative base from Fort Dagoretti to Fort Hall.
  8. There was massive destruction of property. The Agikuyu razed down Fort Dagoretti. The Agikuyu villages were burnt by the British.

The Luo Reaction

The resisters were the Luo of Sakwa, seme, Uyoma, Ugenya and Kisumu. The collaborators were the Luo of Gem and Asembo, led by Chief (Ruoth) Odera Akang’o.

Reasons for the resistance against the British by the Luo of Ugenya.

  1. To protect their land and national heritage.
  2. To protect their freedom and independence
  3. Protect their livestock, grains and fish from being taken by the British soldiers who were undisciplined
  4. The Luo had become a formidable nation in the area and did not entertain any intruder.
  5. They were also provoked by the punitive expedition sent against them by Mumia and the British.

Why the Gem and Asembo Luos collaborated.

  1. Their chief, Odera Akang’o had been influenced by the Wanga Neighbours who had gained materially from their collaboration.
  2. Odera also needed British assistance to subdue the Luo of Seme, Uyoma, Sakwa and Ugenya, and the Nandi, who were a threat to his people.
  3. He realized the futility of resisting the British through the experience of his neighbours.

Course of the Luo Resistance.

- The Luo of Ugenya set off the resistance by attacking the Wanga in an attempt to expand. They vandalized British key installations like the telegraph wires and administrative stations. In 1896, the British sent an expedition against them and 200 people were killed.
- When the British attacked the Seme Luo for cattle and Grains, they were provoked into revolting. They attacked the Asembo Luo who had collaborated with the British. The British invaded them in 1898 with devastating effects in terms of property and life loss.
- The Luo of Kisumu rose up in 1898 attacking a British Canoe party on Winam Gulf for taking their fish without paying. They were however overcome. The Gem and Asembo Luos led by Ruoth Odera Akang’o supported the British throughout all these confrontations.

Results of the Luo reaction

  1. Both collaborators and resisters lost their independence to the British.
  2. The Luo lost their property through burning and looting.
  3. There was massive loss of lives, especially among the Ugenya Luo.
  4. It Bred hatred between the collaborators and resisters
  5. The collaborating communities were able to gain western education and religion as the British established schools and missions in their areas.
  6. The African leadership was replaced with the British administration, thereby undermining traditional political systems.
  7. The Luo were alienated from their land to pave way for the British occupation and settlement.

Colonial System of Administration in Kenya

In their administration of Kenya, the British employed both central government and local government as the basic administrative framework.

Central Government

The protectorate was divided into provinces headed by Provincial commissioners, who acted as representatives of the Governor. The governor was answerable to the colonial secretary in Britain.

Hierarchy of colonial administration in Kenya

  1. Colonial secretary. Based in London, he was the political head of the British colonial administration and overall coordinator of the colonial policies as passed by the British parliament.
  2. Governor. Reporting to the colonial secretary, he was the representative of the British government in the Kenyan colony. He headed the executive council which effected colonial policies and programmee he gave assent to laws from the LEGCO before they were implemented.
  3. Provincial Commissioners. They represented the governor at provincial level and implemented the policies and laws that were enacted by the legislative council that was established in 1907. They supervised the work of DCs, Dos and the entire provincial administration on behalf of the governor.
  4. District commissioners. They implemented policies and maintained law and order and security in their districts. They headed the District Advisory Committees. They coordinated the work of DOs and Chiefs.
  5. District Officers. They implemented orders from the DCs and coordinated the work of the chiefs. They maintained law and order in their divisions.
  6. Chiefs. They acted as a link between the people and the Governor at local levels. They maintained law and order at the locations and coordinated the work of headmen.
  7. Headmen. They were a link between the government and the people at the grassroots level. They mobilized people for development within their villages.
  8. The principal function of Chiefs and Headmen under the Headman’s Ordinance and Chiefs Authority Act was tax Collection and labour recruitment for public works and European settlers. Their duties were confined in the African reserves.

The advisory and Executive Councils guide the governor and effected the colonial policies.

Local Government

The British introduced the Local Government in colonial Kenya because;

  1. They wanted to involve the local communities in administration of the region. This would reduce the costs of administration.
  2. They wanted to mobilize local people in resources exploitation in order to stir up development
  3. Local Government was a means of providing a legal forum for the local people to make decisions about their day to day affairs
  4. The Local Government would provide an important link between the Central government and the locals.
  5. The Local Government would provide a means through which the government would understand Africans better.
  6. It also originated from the desire by European settlers to safeguard a number of privileges for themselves by getting directly involved in local administrative units

Local Native Councils

- They were established in 1922 after the passing of the Native Authority Ordinance.
- In 1924, the District Advisory Councils (DACs) were renamed Local Native Councils (LNCs)

Objectives of the LNCs

  1. To encourage and develop a sense of responsibility and duty among the Africans.
  2. To provide a mechanism through which educated Africans could articulate their grievances at District level.
  3. To ensure proper restriction of the Africans in their reserves.
  4. To provide a means through which the government would understand the Africans better so that to contain them.

Achievements of the Local Native councils

  1. The councils succeeded in restriction African political Agitations and other activities to their reserves.
  2. The LNCs provided basic social needs like water, cattle Dips, Public Health, Education and Markets.
  3. They succeeded in maintaining basic infrastructure in their areas of jurisdiction.
  4. They succeeded in collecting taxes to finance their operations.

NB; in 1948, the LNCs were renamed African Native Councils. Pascal Nabwane became the first African chairmen of the ADCs in 1958. The ADCs operated as local authorities for Africans until 1963.

Impact of Local government

  1. It exploited local resources and initiated development.
  2. It created a link between the central government and the local people.
  3. It helped maintain law and order using the small police force set up in 1896.
  4. It promoted infrastructural development and general welfare of Africans. It used the levied taxes to improve social services such as schools and hospitals.
  5. It helped in the arbitration of African disputes through the District African Courts. E.g, Land disputes were settled by the LNCs.

Factors that undermined the local Government

  1. Shortage of trained personnel to work in the LNCs and ADCs.
  2. Poor transport and communication leading to poor coordination of their activities.
  3. Lack of adequate revenue to finance their operations as the colony lacked strategic mineral resources.
  4. There was a lot of rivalry between the settlers and the locals, later becoming the freedom struggles. This hampered the operations of the councils.
  5. Racial discrimination was so pronounced that basic services were absent in African areas. Many Africans survived through self-help schemes.
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