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Constitutional Convention of 1960

On January 12, 1960, a seven-year-old emergency was brought to an end as a prelude to discussions in London concerning a constitution for Kenya.

Members of the Kenyan Legislative Council and British Secretary of State for the Colonies Iain Macleod began their discussions on January 18. African political leaders attempted to obtain the views of Jomo Kenyatta on the country's constitutional future, since he himself had been refused permission to attend the London conference.

Opening of the Kenya Constitutional Conference. Iain Macleod is shown standing at the center of the table to the right.

The objective of the African-elected members was universal suffrage on a common roll with no minority safeguards beyond those to be enjoyed by every individual in the country. They also hoped for self-government within the year. The European-elected members, however, favored retention of British responsibility and advocated safeguards for minority groups.

The constitution proposed by Macleod established a legislature with 65 members, of whom 33 would be elected on a common roll with a fairly wide franchise, while 12 (4 Africans, 4 Europeans, and 4 Asians) would be elected by the rest of the legislature. The other 20 seats would be reserved for minorities, 10 for Europeans, 8 for Asians, and 2 for Arabs. The governor would retain his power to nominate additional members. The council of ministers would consist of 4 official and 8 unofficial (4 Africans, 3 Europeans, and 1 Asian) ministers. Macleod's proposal was accepted by the African representatives and the multiracial New Kenya group, but the all-European United Party regarded it as disastrous.

In March Governor Sir Patrick Renison invited African elected members of the legislative council to join the ministry. The Africans at first refused but finally, on the understanding that they were joining a caretaker government, agreed to accept three ministries and one assistant ministerial post.

See Also

In the Year 1960
Jomo Kenyatta

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This page was last updated on 09/05/2018.