Abstract

At a book launch in Nairobi in April 2006, Kenya’s most famous historian, Prof. Bethwel A. Ogot stood up and declared that Project Kenya was dead. The ideals that the nationalists had stood for were bankrupt. Kenya, he said, had never been more distant an idea than it was now at the beginning of the 21st century. Nationhood no longer existed. It had been replaced by sub-nationalism: the different ethnic groups, in effect, had eaten up the country. These declarations were a terrible indictment on leadership in Kenya, especially since they were coming from a man who had devoted over 50 years of his life to writing Kenya into being. At a time when the study of African history was considered primarily to be the study of Europeans in Africa, Ogot had defended the notion that the 43 African communities that fell within the colonial construction that was Kenya Colony were people, distinct nations.

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