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Kenyan Leaders Since Independence

A list of the leaders of Kenya since gaining independence on 12 December 1963

Kenya has had only three presidents since gaining independence. Both Jomo Kenyatta and his successor Daniel arap Moi represented the Kenya African National Union, KANU, whilst the most recent incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, won a majority with the National Rainbow Coalition, NaRC.


Kenya achieved independence within the Commonwealth on 12 December 1963.

Governor-general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state)

12 Dec 1963 -- 11 Dec 1964 Malcolm John MacDonald

Prime Minister

1 Jun 1963 -- 11 Dec 1964 Jomo Kenyatta

Kenya declared a republic on 12 December 1964

Presidents of the Republic of Kenya

12 Dec 1964 -- 21 Aug 1978 Jomo Kenyatta
22 Aug 1978 -- 29 Dec 2002 Daniel arap Moi
30 Dec 2002 -- present Mwai Kibaki

Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978 and he was succeeded by Vice-President Daniel arap Moi. (His expected replacement, Tom Mboya, had been assassinated in 1969.) From 1982, until the general multi-party election in 1992, Kanya was ruled by Moi as a one party state. In 2001 Moi brought Uhuru Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta's son, into parliment as a potential successor, but in the 2002 election Mwai Kibaki, the opposition presidential candidate, won a landslide victory and brought 40 years of KANU rule to an end.

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