3. Contemporary Kenya Turning to Ngugi’s writing, I would like to address the two themes identified above – historical memory and the politics of language - in the context of recent political developments in Kenya. In December of last year, Presidential and Parliamentary elections brought an end to the rule of KANU (Kenya African National Congress). This marked the end for Kenyans of their fraught relationship with a party bequeathed to them at the end of British colonial rule in 1963. Kenya’s new government has been forged out of a coalition of parties going under the title National Rainbow Coalition (NARC).
The rejection of KANU at the polls was the beginning of Kenya’s attempt to deal, at long last, with its colonial past. A number of recent developments suggest that this is an emerging theme in Kenyan political and social life. These include signals from the new government that it will consider erecting statues in memory of Mau Mau fighters, initiatives to found a museum to honour Dedan Kimathi in Nyeri and the news that a group of Mau Mau veterans are planning to use the British government for human rights abuses suffered during the uprising. All this takes place against a background of constitutional change and in the face of the vexed question of what place ethnicity and culture should have in the constitution.