Kenya: Political Parties Material

Scope and Content

Manifestos, speeches, pamphlets, leaflets, letters, newsletters, journals, posters and miscellaneous election material issued by the Capricorn Africa Society, the Democratic Party of Kenya, the European Elected Members' Organization, the Electors' Union (Kenya), the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya, the Independent Group of Members of Legislative Council (Kenya), the Kenya African Democratic Union, the Kenya African National Union, the Kenya Coalition, the Kenya Empire Party, the Kenya Indian Congress, the Kenya Party, the Kenya People's Union, Muungano wa Wazalendo Wa Kukomboa Kenya, the New Kenya Party, the Northern Province People's Progressive Party (Kenya), the Progressive Local Government Party (Kenya), the Reform Party (Kenya), UKENYA, the Voice of Kenya and a variety of independent candidates.

Administrative / Biographical History

The majority of materials in the collection here date from the period between the founding of the first pan-Kenyan nationalist movement in 1944 and the the granting of independence in 1963 following the election victory of Jomo Kenyatta's Kenya African National Union (KANU). Both the major African and colonialist parties are represented, with the issues covered including the proposed East African Federation, the border dispute with Somalia and of course the Mau Mau uprising of 1952-1960. Of particular interest is the debate concerning the future constitution of the country as it became clear that the days of rule from Britain were numbered. The predominantly white parties hoped to secure the representation of minorities in government, while the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) promoted a federal structure in the hope that this would prevent the strongly Kikuyu KANU from using their likely control of central government to dominate other tribal groupings. A smaller number of items also cover Kenya's consolidation as a pro-Western one-party state after 1963 and the opposition first to Kenyetta and later to his successor Daniel Arap Moi.


Alphabetically by party, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies


The Political Archives Project was a 2.5 year project to catalogue political archive material held in the libraries of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas to the University and present it as a cohesive virtual collection. The project was successfully completed in July 2005. Descriptions of all the documents may be found by searching the library catalogue at, or via the Political Archives website:

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The ICS political parties collection was begun in 1960-1961, with special emphasis being placed on primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos. Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Kenya: Pressure Groups and Trades Unions Material (PG.KE) and Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.

Geographical Names