Two Paths Ahead: The Ideological Struggle between Capitalism and Socialism in Kenya, 1960-1970

Two Paths Ahead: The Ideological Struggle between Capitalism and Socialism in Kenya, 1960-1970

by Shiraz Durrani

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The struggle between socialism and capitalism in Kenya has been long, bitter and violent. Capitalism won with the active support of USA and UK governments at the time of independence in 1963. Yet the original (1960) Kenya African National Union (KANU) Party was in favour of socialism. It was Presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Arap Moi who used violence to suppress those advocating socialism. They used their power to massacre, assassinate, exile, imprison and disappear people and created a state of terror to silence their opponents. Capitalism became the unstated state policy. Thus, imperialism won and the aims of Mau Mau were brutally suppressed. However, the desire for socialism never died. Resistance movements and opposition parties made socialism their aim, reflecting people's desire for justice, equality and empowerment. Many studies on Kenya focus on personalities or 'tribes' or race as driver of events, ignoring the all-important class and ideological positions of leaders and their Parties. Two Paths Aheadreproduces and comments on the documents from the opposing sides in the battles between capitalism and socialism - the original Kenya African National Union (KANU), its successor, KANU-B, and the Kenya People's Union (KPU) on economy, land, labour, and social policy. It also touches upon the demands of the organisers of the 1982 Coup and traces the political stand of key leaders as proponents of capitalism or socialism. The final section reproduces some of the documents on this ideological struggle. The book exposes the hidden hand of imperialism in the country's rush to capitalism. It fills a gap in understanding the real contradictions that divide Kenya to this day.