This book details the devastating Mau Mau civil war fought in Kenya during the 1950s and the legacies of that conflict for the post-colonial state. As many Kikuyu fought with the colonial government as loyalists joined the Mau Mau rebellion. Focusing on the role of those loyalists, the book examines the ways in which residents of the country's Central Highlands sought to navigate a path through the bloodshed and uncertainty of civil war. It explores the instrumental use of violence, changes to allegiances, and the ways in which cleavages created by the war informed local politics for decades after the conflict's conclusion. Moreover, the book moves toward a more nuanced understanding of the realities and effects of counterinsurgency warfare. Based on archival research in Kenya and the United Kingdom and insights from literature from across the social sciences, the book reconstructs the dilemmas facing members of society at war with itself and its colonial ruler.
Daniel Branch is currently an Assistant Professor in African History at the University of Warwick. Previously, he taught at the University of Exeter and was a Fellow of the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. His articles have appeared in a number of journals, including African Affairs, The Journal of African History, Africa Today, and the Review of African Political Economy. He is currently working on two forthcoming book projects and co-editing (with Nicholas Cheeseman) a volume on Kenyan politics since 1950.
Introduction: understanding loyalism in Kenya's civil war; 1. Vomiting the oath: the origins of loyalism in the growth of Mau Mau; 2. Terror and counter-terror: March 1953-April 1954; 3. From Mau Mau to home guard: the defeat of the insurgency; 4. Loyalism, land and labour: the path to self-mastery; 5. Loyalism in the age of decolonisation; 6. Eating the fruits of Uhuru: loyalists, Mau Mau and the post-colonial state; Conclusion: loyalism, decolonisation and civil war.