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 Form 3 History and Government Lessons on Colonial Administration

British rule in kenya and problems faced by selected chiefs

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Answer Text:
British rule in Kenya.
In Kenya, the British lacked both funds and experienced personnel to facilitate their administration. Kenya also did not have a reference model of an administrative system –like that in Buganda Kingdom.
Where the institution of chieftainship did not exist as the case of the Agikuyu, the British appointed chiefs
(men with ability to communicate in Kiswahili and organize porters) like Kinyanjui wa Gathirimu in Kiambu, Karuri wa Gakure in Murang’a and Wang’ombe wa Ihura in Nyeri.
The 1912 0rdinance increased the powers of the chiefs and their assistants (headmen); they were now
allowed to employ other persons to assist them.
The selected colonial chiefs however faced two problems;
a) Most of them lacked legitimacy and were therefore rejected not only by the African elders who regarded them as nonentities, but also by the young generation who saw
them as tools of colonial oppression and exploitation.
b) Many of the colonial chiefs were young and inexperienced.
c) Many of the chiefs also became unpopular since they used their positions to amass riches in terms of large tracts of land, livestock and wives. E.g Chief Musau wa Mwanza and Nthiwa wa Tama acquired 8000 herds
of cattle and 15 wives respectively in kambaland.


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