Kenya is a country found in East Africa. Its government is a presidential representative democratic republic. The president is elected directly by a popular vote. Before the election, the presidential candidates are required by law to nominate a running mate who will serve as the deputy president. The president heads both the state and the government. He or she is the Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defense Force and the leader of the executive arm of the government. The president presides over a cabinet meeting, grants pardon to convicts, preside over state functions, appoints state and government officials, and maintains Kenya’s foreign relations. Some of the notable presidents of the Republic of Kenya are looked at below.
Presidents of Kenya
Jomo Kenyatta, born in 1891, was Kenya’s first president, and the leader of the country from 1963 until his death in 1978. Before venturing into politics, Kenyatta worked as a carpenter on a sisal farm, an interpreter in Nairobi High Court, and a shop attendant in the city. He joined politics in 1924 as a member of the Kikuyu Central Association becoming its secretary general in 1928. He went to London in 1929 to champion for the Kikuyu land rights enrolling in several colleges and publishing several articles in the process. He returned to Kenya in 1946 and 1951 he led the Mau Mau Rebellion to fight the British colonists. Jomo Kenyatta together with five others was arrested in October 1952 and detained until 1961. Jomo’s party, Kanu, won the 1963 election with Kenyatta becoming the first Prime Minister of Kenya and the following year he became the country’s first president with Kenya declared a republic. He remained president until his death in 1978. He is famously referred to as the father of the nation because of his role in the fight for independence.
Daniel Arap Moi
Daniel Arap Moi, born in 1924, served as Kenya’s second president. He was a teacher before joining politics in 1955 when he was elected member of Legislative Council. He formed Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) in 1960 to challenge the then president, Jomo Kenyatta. After independence, KADU was dissolved, with Moi joining the new Kenya African National Union (KANU). He was appointed the country’s vice president in 1967. When Jomo died in 1978, Moi took over the presidency and quickly became popular across the country. In 1982, Moi survived an attempted coup by a section of the military. After the failed coup, Moi consolidated power and declared the country a de jure one-party state. Moi won the subsequent elections until 2002 when he was constitutionally barred from running for presidential election. He retired to his home in Nakuru County after handing over power to Mwai Kibaki on December 30, 2002.
Mwai Kibaki, born in 1931, joined politics in 1960, becoming an executive officer of the Kenya African National Union. After the independence, he was elected a Member of Parliament and later served as a permanent secretary and an assistant minister before becoming Kenya’s fourth vice president in 1978. Kibaki fell out of favor with then president, Moi, in 1988 when he was demoted from the Vice President’s position and resigned from KANU in 1991. In 2002, Kibaki clinched the presidency after two previous attempts in 1992 and 1997. He was a highly intelligent and competitive president. He introduced free primary education and turned around the country’s economy which had stagnated over the years. He also oversaw the passage of 2010 constitution. However, his tenure was marked by failures to tame corruption and post-election violence in 2007/2008 which left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. He retired from politics in 2013.
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta
The incumbent president, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, is the son of Jomo Kenyatta. Before becoming the president, he served in various government positions including Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. He was elected president of the Republic of Kenya in 2013. He is expected to defend his seat in 2017 general election