Kenya People's Union

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Kenya People's Union
Leader Oginga Odinga
Founder Oginga Odinga
Founded 1966
Dissolved 1969 (banned)
Split from Kanu
Ideology Socialism

Kenya People's Union was a socialist political party in Kenya led by Oginga Odinga. The party was banned in 1969.


In March 1966 a left-wing faction of the governing Kenya African National Union (KANU) instigated a mass defection from the party and formed the KPU.[1] KANU responded by amending Kenya's constitution to force a 'little general election' in which KPU was only able to win parliamentary seats among the Luo people in Nyanza province, whereas its candidates in then Kikuyu-dominated Central province were trounced by KANU.[2] There followed three years of political harassment and detention of party leaders that finally brought about the end of the party when the New Nyanza General Hospital was opened on October 25, 1969. The president Jomo Kenyatta was not excited about the hospital, since it was built with Soviet money and seen as Odinga's project. Kenyatta did, however, lead the opening ceremonies of the hospital to boost his popularity in Nyanza Province. The Luo's were generally hostile towards as Tom Mboya had been murdered few months earlier, with many fingers pointing at Kenyatta. Riots opened at the opening ceremonies, when KPU supporters attacked Kenyatta's entourage. Over 10 people were killed as Kenyatta's security personnel opened a fire against the demonstrators. Odinga and several other KPU officials were arrested two days after the incident. KPU was banned on October 30, 1969, transforming Kenya into a de facto one-party state.[3]

KPU politicians[edit]

The following politicians were affiliated with KPU. In the parenthesis is the constituency they represented.[3][4]


  1. ^ Bethwell A. Ogot, William Robert Ochieng': Decolonization and independence in Kenya. 1995
  2. ^ Abner Cohen: Urban Ethnicity. Routledge, 2004. ISBN 0-415-32982-5
  3. ^ a b Daily Nation, October 23, 2009: The incident that transformed Kenya into a de facto one-party state
  4. ^ Center for Multiparty Democracy: Politics and Parliamentarians in Kenya 1944–2007