List of heads of state of Kenya

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This is a list of the heads of state of Kenya, from the independence of Kenya in 1963 to the present day.

From 1963 to 1964 the head of state under the Kenya Independence Act 1963 was the Queen of Kenya, Elizabeth II, who was also the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The monarch was represented in Kenya by a Governor-General. Kenya became a republic under the Constitution of 1964 and the Monarch and Governor-General were replaced by an executive President.

Monarch (1963–1964)[edit]

The succession to the throne was the same as the succession to the British throne.

Portrait Reign Royal House Prime Minister
Reign start Reign end
1 Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Portrait Herbert James Gunn.jpg 12 December 1963 12 December 1964 Windsor Kenyatta


The Governor-General was the representative of the Monarch in Kenya and exercised most of the powers of the Monarch. The Governor-General was appointed for an indefinite term, serving at the pleasure of the Monarch. After the passage of the Statute of Westminster 1931, the Governor-General was appointed solely on the advice of the Cabinet of Kenya without the involvement of the British government. In the event of a vacancy the Chief Justice served as Officer Administering the Government.

  Denotes Chief Justice acting as Officer Administering the Government
Portrait Tenure Monarch Prime Minister
Took office Left office
1 Malcolm MacDonald
Malcolm MacDonald cropped.jpg 4 January 1963 12 December 1963 Elizabeth II Kenyatta

President of Kenya[edit]

Under the 1964 Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, the President replaced the Monarch as executive head of state. The President was elected by Parliament for a five-year term. In the event of a vacancy the Deputy President served as Acting President.

  Denotes Deputy President acting as President
Portrait Tenure Elected Political affiliation
(at time of appointment)
Prime Minister
Took office Left office
1 Jomo Kenyatta
Jomo Kenyatta.jpg 12 December 1964 22 August 1978
(died in office.)
1966, 1969, 1974 Kenya African National Union
2 Daniel arap Moi
Daniel arap Moi 1979b.jpg 22 August 1978 8 November 1978 1979, 1983, 1988, 1992, 1997 Kenya African National Union
8 November 1978 30 December 2002
3 Mwai Kibaki
Mwai Kibaki.jpg 30 December 2002 27 December 2007 2002 National Rainbow Coalition
27 December 2007 9 April 2013 2007 Party of National Unity Odinga
4 Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru Kenyatta Official.jpg 9 April 2013 Incumbent 2013 Jubilee Alliance


Living former heads of state[edit]

There are three living former Kenyan Heads of State:

Image Name Term/Reign Office Date of birth
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg Elizabeth II 1963–1964 Queen of Kenya (1926-04-21) 21 April 1926 (age 91)
Daniel arap Moi 1979b.jpg Daniel arap Moi 1978–2002 President of Kenya (1924-09-02) 2 September 1924 (age 92)
Mwai Kibaki (cropped).jpg Mwai Kibaki 2002–2013 President of Kenya (1931-11-15) 15 November 1931 (age 85)


  1. ^ until 2007

External links[edit]