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Military decolonisation and Africanisation the first African officers in the Kenyan army 1957 1964.pdf (1.69 MB)

Military decolonisation and Africanisation: the first African officers in the Kenyan Army, 1957-1964

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-17, 13:41 authored by Poppy CullenPoppy Cullen

On 15 July 1961, the first eight African officers were commissioned into the King’s African Rifles in Kenya. This was very late to begin Africanising the colonial military force. The colonial army, even more than other institutions, was neither anticipating nor preparing for independence until it was imminent. Then, Africanisation was dramatically sped up to try and match political progress. This article explores how the first African officer corps was created in Kenya. Using lists of commissions published in The Kenya Gazette, it shows what types of people were commissioned, focusing on ethnicity, age, experience, training, education, and promotion. Three types of servicemen were commissioned: effendis, with years of colonial experience; non-commissioned officers, who were briefly trained in Britain and rapidly promoted; and direct-entry officers, better educated, younger, and trained in Britain. The article argues that the opportunities that military decolonisation and Africanisation offered to these varied groups of men had an impact which lasted for decades, as these first commissioned officers became and remained the leaders of Kenya’s military. Understanding the process of Africanisation therefore helps to explain the trajectory of Kenya’s military after independence.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • International Relations, Politics and History

Published in

Journal of Eastern African Studies

Volume

17

Issue

3

Pages

515-533

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author(s)

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Acceptance date

2023-09-06

Publication date

2023-09-16

Copyright date

2023

ISSN

1753-1055

eISSN

1753-1063

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Poppy Cullen. Deposit date: 12 September 2023

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