OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Kenya
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 582,646 Sq Km (224,961 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 34,728,100
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Kenya is located in East Africa.
It is bound by Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west,
Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to
the northeast and the Indian Ocean to the east. The country
can be divided into seven topographical regions. (1.) the
coastal strip or Temborari. (2.) The Nyika and Tana Plains
which are thorn scrub bush lands with the latter containing
the Lorian Swamp. (3.) The eastern plateau which includes
the Amboseli, Serengeti and the Aruba Plains as well as
the Chyulu Range and Taita Hills. (4.) The vast northern
plains that account for 60% of the land area and are a series
of arid plains, it also includes Kenya's only true desert,
the Chalbi Desert. (5.) The Kenya Highlands or White Highlands.
This region includes Mt. Kenya, Mt. Niandarawa, Mt. Elgon
and the Aberdare Range. (6.) The Rift Valley with the basin
consisting of a series of extinct volcanoes and the lakes
of Naivasha, Elmenteita, Nakuri, Hannington or Bogoria and
Magadi. (7.) The western plateau which descends into Lake
Victoria. The principal rivers are the Tana and Galana or
Athi. Major Cities (pop. est.); Nairobi 1,500,000, Mombasa
465,000, Kisumu 185,100, Nakuru 162,800 (1989). Land Use;
forested 30%, pastures 37%, agricultural-cultivated 8%,
other 25% (1993).
CLIMATE: Kenya's climate varies from a tropical climate on the
coast characterized by hot and humid conditions to a temperate climate
inland and to a dry climate in the north. Over 70% of the country is arid
receiving less than 510 mm (20 inches) of annual precipitation while rainfall
is greatest in the highlands. Altitude is a major factor in variations
in temperature between the different regions of the country. Average temperature
ranges in Nairobi are from 11 to 21 degrees Celsius (52 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit)
in July to 13 to 26 degrees Celsius (55 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit) in February.
PEOPLE: Kenya has 32 major indigenous African groups, of which
the five largest constitute 70% of the population and are the Kikuyu, Luo,
Luhya, Kamba and the Kalenjin. The principal ethnic minorities are the
Arabs and Asians.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 45 persons per sq km (117
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 25.3% urban, 74.7% rural (1991).
Sex Distribution; 49.9% male, 50.1% female (1991). Life Expectancy at Birth;
56.5 years male, 60.5 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 51% under 15,
26% 15 to 29, 13% 30 to 44, 6.5% 45 to 59, 3% 60 to 74, 0.5% 75 and over
(1991). Birth Rate; 47.0 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 11.3 per 1,000 (1990).
Increase Rate; 35.7 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 72.0 per 1,000
live births (1990).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 27% of the population Protestant
while 26% are Roman Catholic. Around 19% of the population follow local
native tribal beliefs and 6% are Muslims.
LANGUAGES: The official languages are English and Swahili. Although
over 30 distinct languages and dialects are spoken throughout the territory,
with the Bantu family of languages spoken by 65% of the population.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
58.6%, primary 32.2%, incomplete secondary 7.9%, secondary and higher 1.3%
(1979). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 5,758,000 or 59.2%
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1952 the Mau Mau or the Land
and Freedom Army was formed at the peak of African rebellion against colonial
rule. The Mau Mau, largely a Kikuyuled campaign, began launching attacks
on the White Highlanders or Europeans and a State of Emergency was declared.
Many of the leaders were jailed while the guerrilla leader Dedan Kimathi
was hung. By 1960 around 80,000 Kikuyu were imprisoned in concentration
camps and in 1960 Jomo Kenyatta was elected President of the Kenya African
National Union (KANU). In 1961 Kenyatta demanded Kenya's independence after
leading a delegation to London. On Dec. 12, 1963 Kenya gained independence
from Britain and its new constitution provided for a constitutional monarchy.
In 1964 Kenya became a republic and Kenyatta was elected President. In
1966 the Kenya People's Union (KPU) was formed under the leadership of
Oginga Odinga the former Vice President, although it was banned in 1969.
In 1967 Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda formed the East African Community to
promote trade among the three nations, although in June 1977 the East African
Community broke up. In 1978 Kenyatta died and Vice President Daniel Arap
Moi assumed power until he was elected in Nov. 1979. Pres. Moi embarked
on a program of anti-corruption and anti-tribalism. In Aug. 1982 the Air
Force attempted an unsuccessful coup while in 1985 and 1987 student riots
erupted resulting in the closure of Nairobi University. In 1987 Muslims
rioted in Mombasa and in 1988 Moi was re-elected as President. Upon his
reelection he amended the constitution, gave himself power to dismiss judges
and widened police powers. On New Years Day 1990, Rev. Timothy Njhoya called
on all Africans to demand a multiparty system of government. In Feb. 1990
anti-government riots erupted after the murder of Foreign Affairs Minister
Robert Ouko, which resulted in the government banning all demonstrations.
Several days of skirmishing followed and around 20 people were killed.
In Nov. 1990 Pres. Moi ordered that a bill be drafted to restore the security
of tenure to judges, the auditor-general and the controller, all of which
had been withdrawn some year earlier. In Jan. 1991 the executive committee
of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) adopted George Saitoti, the
country's Vice President, recommendation that critics of the party not
be expelled but suspended for one or two years. In March 1991 Gitobu Imanyara,
the editor of The Nairobi Law Monthly, was arrested for suggesting that
member's of Pres. Moi's own Kalenjin tribe were given a disproportionate
number of public jobs. In July 1991 the boys of a coed boarding school
attacked the girls for refusing to join in a protest against the schools
administration with 71 being raped and 19 killed. On Nov. 26, 1991 Pres.
Moi dismissed a public inquiry into Foreign Affairs Minister Ouko's murder
in which two of Moi's close associates had been charged and later dropped
due to lack of evidence. On Dec. 3, 1991 a multiparty system of government
was approved by Pres. Moi who also in late Dec. 1991 dismissed the KANU
Chairman, Peter Oloo Aringo, who called for further reforms. By the end
of 1991 five ministers had also resigned from the government in protest
claiming the government rigged elections and had badly mismanaged the economy.
On Jan. 8, 1992 Mwai Kibaki one of the five ministers who resigned in Dec.
1991 formed the Democratic Party. Also in Jan. 1992 the Forum for Restoration
of Democracy (FORD), led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, held a mass meeting
in Nairobi with some 100,000 people attending and called for Pres. Moi
to dissolve the National Assembly and to hold elections immediately. In
Mar. 1992 riots erupted after police attempted to break up a hunger strike
held by the mothers of political prisoners. In April 1992 US-based Lawyers
Committee for Human Rights called on the Kenyan government to end the harassment
of lawyers and urged that periodicals be allowed to circulate freely in
accordance with the constitution. In May 1992 full diplomatic relations
were opened with South Africa and Pres. Moi became the first African head-of-state
to visit the country in 21 years. In June 1992 Pres. Moi called for international
assistance in feeding the country's drought victims as well as the tens
of thousands of refugees from Somalia, The Sudan and Ethiopia with the
UN responding with airdrops of wheat to the affected areas. On Oct. 28,
1992 Pres. Moi dissolved the National Assembly and announced legislative
and presidential elections for Dec. 29, 1992 that resulted in his re-election
as President and his KANU party in legislative elections. Also during 1992
there was an insurgence of fighting in the west of the country between
the Kalenjin, Kisii and Luo groups. On Feb. 12, 1993 the government agreed
as a precondition to the resumption of foreign financial aid, to implement
a number of drastic austerity measures that included the devaluation of
the currency by 25%. In March 1993 Pres. Moi requested its foreign creditors
to resume monthly payments of their aid package, although it was denied.
In response, Pres. Moi scrapped the austerity measures citing they had
caused further economic hardship. In May 1993 a national strike demanding
the release of union leaders led to serious rioting in the capital while
in the same month the government announced a new set of austerity measures
including the further devaluation of the currency and removal of import
restrictions to facilitate the offer of 57 million pounds sterling from
the World Bank and the IMF. In Aug. 1993 following the resignation of the
governor of the central bank and allegations of financial scandals the
Finance Minister, Musalia Mudavadi announced an inquiry into the operations
of the central bank and other institutions. In Oct. 1993 both Germany and
Japan announced additional aid grants. During 1993 spasmodic fighting between
the Kalenjin, allegedly with government support, and Kikuyus and other
groups continued, resulting in the death of some 2,000 people.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Shilling (KSh) divided
into 100 Cents.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $6,743,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $5,121,000,000 (1993). Imports; K Pound 5,056,420,000 (1993).
Exports; K Pound 3,678,250,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $413,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; KSh -16,738,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 10,633,000 or 41.1% of total population (1992). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the UK,
Japan, Germany, Iran, the USA, Tanzania, Zambia, the Netherlands and Saudi
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Beans, Cattle, Cassava, Coffee, Cotton, Maize,
Millet, Potatoes, Pyrethrum, Sisal, Sugar, Sweet Potatoes, Tea.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Beer, Cement, Food Processing, Light
Manufacturing, Oil Refining, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Cement, Chemicals, Coffee, Fruit and Vegetables, Hides
and Skins, Petroleum Products, Soda Ash, Sugar, Tea, Wattle Extracts.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 2,733 km (1,885 mi) (1987),
passenger-km 752,000,000 (467,271,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km
1,910,000,000 (1,308,000,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 54,700
km (33,989 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 133,000 (1989), trucks and buses
149,000 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 26 (1990), deadweight tonnage
4,218 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 2,108,675,000 (1,310,269,000
passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 250,831,000 (171,794,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 5 with a total circulation
for 4 of 324,000 (1993). Radio; receivers 2,200,000 (1994). Television;
receivers 260,000 (1994). Telephones; units 214,800 (1993).
MILITARY: 24,200 (1995) total active duty personnel with 84.7%
army, 5.0% navy and 10.3% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 3.5% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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