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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499


GATHOGO, Julius. Mau-Mau War and the Church in Kirinyaga, Kenya: Accounting for the tension and conflict (1952-1960). Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2014, vol.40, n.2, pp.19-41. ISSN 2412-4265.

The Kenya Land and Freedom Army, otherwise called Mau-Mau, began their freedom war against British colonialism in the late 1940s by first administering a binding oath to its recruits. In turn, the guerrilla war, which was mainly waged by the people of Central and Eastern Kenya, reached its climax in the mid-fifties. The injustices that its leadership cited as justification for their military activities can be explained in various ways: Firstly, the five million Africans who lived in the British colony of Kenya failed to gain any meaningful form of political representation. Secondly, the war was caused by other issues that dominated African politics since 1903 to 1952, such as land alienation, racial discrimination and the low level of African wages, among others. Thirdly, the heavy taxation was used by the European settlers as a weapon to execute their plan. Fourthly, the forced carrying of the Kipande - an identity card. During the war, three types of oaths were administered: umemba oath for recruitment, the batuni-oath for those who were sent to the forest and the atongoria oath that was administered to the leaders of the movement at all levels. The tension and conflict between the Anglican Church and the Mau-Mau rebellion were clear in the Kirinyaga County, particularly when the revolutionary rebels began to bum churches, schools and killed church leaders in early 1950s. In view of this, this article sets out to unveil the problem that caused the conflict between the church and Mau-Mau rebels and the way in which it was addressed. The article is based on the premise that the Anglican Church was a "British church" automatically means that mistrust was bound to set in. Hence, it is critical to address the nature of mistrust between the revolutionary rebels and the church. The materials in this presentation are largely gathered through interviews and archival sources.

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