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 Political Developments and the Struggle for Independence in Kenya (1919-1963)

The trade-union movement in Kenya and reasons why there existed no African trade union in Kenya

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Answer Text:
The trade-union movement in Kenya
The early trade Unions in Kenya were formed along racial lines though all form them aimed at addressing labour problems that faced workers. The first trade union in Kenya was the Indian Trade Union formed in 1914 in Mombasa.
Upto 1914, there existed no African trade union in Kenya because of the following reasons;
a) Artisans and farm labourers were not allowed to join or form associations since it was feared they would organize sudden and unofficial strikes.
b) Majority of the Kenyans were illiterate and lacked the knowledge to run workers’ unions.
c) The migrant labour system militated against the establishment of such unions.
d) The colonial government fought attempts by Africans to form workers’ organizations.
-For this reason, in the 1920s, African political organizations doubled up as also defenders of workers welfare. These trade unions acted as the
voice of the Asian and the African labourers.