1. TRADE

Definition of trade.

Methods of trade: (a) Barter (b) Currency.

Types of Trade


Definitions of transport and communication.

Traditional forms of transport: land and water.

Developments in modern means of transport

Impact of modern means of transport.

Traditional forms of communication

Development in modern means of communication


Early sources of energy: Wood, wind, water.

Uses of metal in Africa: Bronze, Gold, Copper, Iron.

The Industrial Revolution in Europe.

The Scientific Revolution

Emergence of selected World industrial powers: USA, Germany, Japan.


Meaning of urbanization.

Early Urbanization in Africa and Europe

Emergency of modern urban centers in Africa: Nairobi and Johannesburg

Impact of agrarian and industrial development on Urbanization


The Baganda

The Shona

The Ashanti/Asante.


Types of constitutions: Written and Unwritten.

Constitution making process.

Aspects of independence constitution

Constitutional changes since independence upto 2010

Features of the constitution of Kenya.


Definition of terms ’Democracy’ and ‘Human Rights’;

Types of democracy;

Principles of democracy;

Importance of the UN Charter on human rights

The Kenyan Bill of Rights

Application of the Kenyan Bill of Rights to specific groups of people in Kenya

Functions of Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission

  1. TRADE


It can be defined as the exchange of goods and services between people or countries


It may not be known exactly when trade begun. However this may be traced to the New Stone Age. Several factors could have led to the beginning of trade

  1. Different environmental and climatic conditions. People from drier areas could obtain items from fertile areas.
  2. The need to satisfy human needs and wants e.g. housing, food, clothing entertainment etc.
  • Agriculture which led to the production of surplus which was sold/exchanged leading to trade.
  1. Agriculture also led to specialization e.g. in basketry, weaving or tool making. People therefore had to acquire what they did not produce through trade.
  2. Development of transport to carry goods.

Methods of trade

There are two main methods of trade, barter and currency methods.

Barter trade

This is the exchange of goods for goods. It is the oldest method of trade.

In pre-colonial Kenya, the Maasai who were pastoralists acquired grains and other food stuffs from the Agikuyu who were agriculturalists. The agikuyu received livestock and livestock products.

Barter trade was also known as silent trade. This was in areas where communities could not communicate in the same language. Morocco and Carthage practiced silent trade around 400 BC. However silent trade did not go on for a long time as the communities soon mastered a language to use.

This method of trade is still practiced by developing countries e.g. Uganda bartered her coffee, hides and skins for Libya’s petroleum in 1986. In 1985 Brazil exchanged her tyres, sugar, steel and other goods for Nigerian petroleum.

Advantages of barter trade

  1. It is cheap as it does not require the making of money.
  2. It was good for illiterate people who were not conversant with the money economy.
  3. People were able to exchange goods for other goods and acquire what they didn’t have when currency had not developed.

Disadvantages/problems of Barter trade

  1. Some of the agricultural products were perishable and could easily be ruined if not properly stored, e.g. fresh food and grains.
  2. It was not suitable for bulky goods as they were difficult to transport.
  3. In some cases there was lack of proper measure of value. This made the transactions longer where traders did not speak same language.
  4. At times the traders would be stranded whenever they lacked “double coincidence of wants”, where the needs of the two traders did not match.
  5. Some of the products were not easily divisible into smaller quantities, e.g. where one could not buy a whole animal.
  6. There was lack of common language making trade difficult.

Currency method of trade

This involves the use of money. Money can be defined as an item that is mutually recognized as a medium of exchange or as a measure of value.

Among the items used as currency in pre-colonial Africa included gold dust, cloth, copper rods, iron and cowrie shells. These items were usually scarce but durable.

Uses of money

  • As a medium of exchange
  • As a measure of value As a store of value
  • Can be saved and spent any time
  • As a standard for delayed payments e.g. loans.

The advantages of use of money over barter trade

  1. Since it is a store of wealth it is possible to store ones wealth acquired over many years without losing it unlike barter where diseases, pest etc can destroy livestock and other agricultural products.
  2. It is a convenient medium of exchange as it is not bulky. It is easy to transport.
  3. Money is easily divisible into smaller units
  4. It has made it easier to determine the value of both goods and services.
  5. It can be saved for later use.
  6. It is a standard for settling delayed payments e.g. debts
  7. It has intrinsic value as currencies are made from precious and rare metals such as silver.

Disadvantages of money

  1. The value of a currency may fluctuate depending on the strength of a countries economy

Major world currencies

U.S.A – Dollar ($) U.K – Sterling Pound (£) Germany – Deutsche Mark (DM)

France – French Frank (FF) Japan – Japanese Yen (¥) Sweden, Norway, Denmark – Kroner

Canada – Canadian dollar (C$) European Union – Euro (€)\

Currency trade has greatly benefited from technological revolution. Electronic cards are used to make payments for goods and services. Business transactions are also being carried out on the internet.


There are three types of trade

1)Local trade 2)Regional trade 3) International trade

1.Local trade

This is the exchange of goods at the village level. It also expanded to include trade with neighbouring villages and communities.

Characteristics of local trade

  1. It covers a limited area
  2. The number of traders and items are few
  3. It was conducted in specific areas e.g. near a river
  4. It was conducted on specific days
  5. The producers sold their goods directly
  6. A chief or a king controlled the trade
  7. Local trade expanded to boost regional trade

Local trade was mostly determined by environmental differences, e.g. people from fertile areas who were mainly cultivators exchanged goods with those from drier parts who practiced pastoralism, and e.g. the Akamba of Machakos supplied farm produce to those of Kitui in exchange for animal products. The Abagusii acquired hides, milk, snake poison and pottery items from Luo neighbours. The Luos acquired hoes, arrowheads and grains from the Abagusii.

Impact of local trade

  1. It led to the development of markets which specialized in certain items
  2. It helped strengthen the bond between the people in the same locality with neighbouring communities. This was enhanced through intermarriages etc.
  3. It satisfied the requirements of the communities e.g. tools, medicines and food.
  4. It also enhanced the acquisition of new products. A community that did not produce certain product could be able to get them
  5. There was an improvement of transport routes. Some markets were located on such.
  6. It strengthened centralized governments e.g. Buganda, Ghana, Mali, Bunyoro-Kitara etc. In Bunyoro, there were royal markets where the king had officers who collected taxes. These were important sources of revenue for the kingdom.
  7. It encouraged communities to expand production. This contributed to the improvement of peoples living conditions.

2.Regional Trade

This refers to trade between two or more countries in a given region.

Characteristics of regional trade

  • It involves a larger geographical area and a long distance
  • The goods involved were of a larger variety.
  • It also involves people who specialize in trade as their means of livelihood.
  • There are traders who act as middlemen between the producers and the buyers.
  • It had no set market days and goods were sold on arrival

Examples of regional trade

The long distance trade, which was carried out between the people of East Africa coast and the interior e.g. the Arabs and Swahili, Akamba, Nyamwezi, Yao etc.

The Trans-Saharan trade. This was carried out between the people of the Sudan belt and North Africa.

3.Trans-Saharan Trade

The term ‘trans’ means across. The Trans Saharan trade therefore refers to the trade that was conducted across the Sahara between North Africa and West Africa/Western Sudan.

It is not clear when this trade started, however historical evidence suggests that even before the Sahara dried up, traders on chariots travelled between North and West Africa.

During the 8th Century AD, the volume of trade increased due to Arab settlement in North Africa (1100-1500 AD peak)

Factors that led to the development of the Trans-Saharan trade

  1. Existence of oasis for water acted as resting points
  2. Availability of trade commodities e.g. gold and salt
  3. Demand for goods. There was high demand for goods from the south by the North Africans. Similarly there was a high demand of North Africa goods in West Sudan.
  4. The existence of local trade in the region which provided a foundation for the trans Saharan trade
  5. Settlement of Arabs in north Africa in the 8th Century provided capital
  6. The Tuaregs who provided security and protected the oases in the Sahara.
  7. Existence of pack animals e.g. horses and camels. The introduction of the camels in 1st century AD especially facilitated transportation across the Sahara desert.
  8. The trade was also boosted by the emergency of strong and able rulers e.g. Mansa Musa of Mali, Askia Mohammed of Songhai, who provided security.
  9. Existence of well established trade routes facilitated the trade. These made it easy for the traders to travel
  10. Presence of a strong economy based on agriculture and mining.

Trade Goods

From western Sudan

  1. This was the most important commodity. It originated from Ashanti, Wangara, Bornu, Upper Senegal and Upper Niger.
  2. Slaves who were forcefully captured and sold in Arab world.
  3. Kola nuts and feathers. These were mainly from the Kano region.
  4. Hides and skins which also came from Hausaland. They were used for making cloth.
  5. Ivory from Cot d’Ivoire
  6. Mostly came from Mauritania and Senegal
  7. Dyed cloth and pepper.

From North Africa

  1. Salt which was obtained from Taghaza, Taodeni, Bilma and Ghadames
  2. Horses from Tripoli which were used in expanding the military
  3. Glassware, beads, mirrors, needles, perfumes, spices, dried fruits e.g. dates, firearms, daggers and cowrie shells.

Organization of the trade

The trade involved people of the western Sudan, the Tuaregs, the Berbers and the Arabs of Northern Africa

The rich North African merchants provided the capital for buying the goods and also loaned camels.

The traders travelled in caravans, involving hundreds of camels, traders to boost their security.

The Tuaregs played the following roles

  1. They acted as guides and guards for the caravan across the Sahara.
  2. They protected and maintained the oases
  3. They provided food and accommodation for the traders
  4. They acted as interpreters
  5. At times they acted as middlemen

The caravans usually departed from the North after the rainy season when sandstorms would subside. The traders normally carried gifts for the leaders of the communities along the trade routes. Normally it took three months to cross the desert.

Once in West Africa, the traders gave their goods to the agents on credit. The barter method of trade was used.

The rulers of West Africa provided security to the traders and regulated the supply of gold by keeping the nuggets and releasing the gold dust.

The major trading centres were Sijilimasa, Tunis, Ghadames, Tuat and Timbuktu.

How the trade led to the development of kingdoms

  1. It was a source of revenue and brought wealth to the kingdom
  2. Kings acquired horses and firearms which they used to expand the kingdom
  3. Islamic law (sharia) was introduced by traders and it was used in administration of kingdoms.
  4. Kings were able to acquire personal wealth through trade and they became powerful and commanded respect.
  5. Muslim personnel were used by the kings as advisors and secretaries. This led to effective administration
  6. It stimulated local trade which generated state of wealth.
  7. Trade motivated kings to acquire more benefits.

Trade routes

  1. From Sijilmasa in Morocco through Taghaza to Audoghost in the Western Sudan. Sijilmasa was an oasis where the traders and animals could rest and replenish their water and other supplies. Taghaza produced salt.
  2. From Sijilmasa through Timbuktu to Gao.
  3. From Tunis through Ghadames, Ghat, Agades and Gao to Hausaland and Yorubaland in Nigeria
  4. From Tripoli through Fezzan to Bornu in the Western Sudan.

Problems/Challenges experienced by the Trans-Saharan traders

  1. The journey was long and stressful. In normal circumstances it took at least three months to cross the Sahara desert.
  2. The desert temperatures were too hot during the day and extremely cold at night.
  3. There was insecurity. They were attacked by hostile desert communities and robbers.
  4. Others got lost in the desert and ended up dying from dehydration.
  5. There was scarcity of food and water.
  6. Many were killed by frequent sandstorms that buried many people and animals alive.
  7. They were attacked by dangerous desert animals e.g. scorpions and poisonous snakes.
  8. There was language barrier due to lack of a common language.
  9. Disruption of their journeys during inter-community wars in the north and in western Sudan. This led to frequent change of routes.
  10. Rivalry between caravans sometimes led to war
  11. Sometimes goods could get exhausted e.g. Gold

Impact/effects of the Trans Saharan trade (positive and negative impact)

  1. It led to the growth of urban centres along the trade routes e.g. Taghaza, Gao, Timbuktu, Kumbi Saleh, Kano etc.
  2. It led to the development of industries e.g. leather making, wood carving, cotton weaving etc. Gold smithing technology spread to many places.
  3. Profits from the trade led to the growth of strong empires e.g. Ghana, Mali, Songhai. The introduction of horses also led to the strengthening of armies.
  4. It led to the growth of a class of professionals e.g. traders, builders, smiths etc.
  5. It led to the growth of a class of wealthy merchants
  6. It led to the spread of Islamic religion and Arabic culture e.g. language, mode of dressing, eating habits etc. Hausa traders were some of the converts.
  7. It resulted in the introduction of new items into West Africa e.g. rice, sheep etc.
  8. The trade led to the introduction of Arabic architecture.
  9. Introduction of formal education in West Africa based on the Koran (Madrassa). University of Timbuktu.
  10. Led to intermarriage between the people of West Africa and North Africa.
  11. The trade led to the introduction of iron tools in wider areas of west Sudan. This boosted agricultural production.
  12. There was population increase in Western Sudan due to increase in food production.
  13. Shariah law was introduced in the states in western Sudan.
  14. The demand for Ivory led to the destruction of wildlife in the Western Sudan.
  15. There was increased warfare in the region due to the increased supply of fire arms, daggers, and horses.
  16. It encouraged slavery and slave trade in West Africa.
  17. It led to religious conflicts between the Muslims and non Muslims. This was intensified during the Islamic Holy wars (Jihadi)
  18. Trade attracted the attention of Europeans which led to colonization

Factors which contributed to the decline of the Trans-Saharan trade

  1. Exhaustion of the main trading commodities. Some of the trade items therefore became scarce e.g. goldmines got exhausted, salt etc.
  2. Insecurity in the region. The Tuaregs and Berbers changed from guides and guards to attackers and robbers. The collapse of kingdoms such as Mali, Ghana Songhai further accelerated insecurity.
  3. The Moroccan invasion of Northern Sudan in the 18th Century also created further insecurity.
  4. The invasion of Moroccan ports along the Mediterranean Sea by the Portugal and Spain between 1471 and 1505 AD disrupted the trade, as Morocco could not import, access her goods.
  5. The Ottoman Turks’ invasion and colonization of North Africa further worsened the already bad situation. Their presence sparked more wars that discouraged trade
  6. The growth of the Trans-Atlantic trade, which attracted many traders away from the Trans-Saharan trade.
  7. The building of commercial ports along the Western African coast and the use of navigable rivers. Traders used the vessels rather than animal transport across the Sahara
  8. The anti-slavery crusade that was waged by the abolitionists and the subsequent abolition of the trade by British led to the decline of the Trans-Saharan trade. Slaves which were one of the most important item of trade were no longer available.
  9. European penetration of the interior impacted negatively on the role of middlemen in the trade. Many of them lost their value as Europeans dealt directly with the producers.
  10. Colonization of Africa. Europeans restricted African commercial activities.


This involves the exchange of goods between different countries in one or different continents. Examples of international trade include

1)The Indian Ocean trade 2)The Trans Atlantic trade

The Trans-Atlantic trade

This trade involved Europe (Britain, Portugal, Spain and Holland), Africa and the Americas. This formed triangular routes.


The beginning of the trade can be traced to 1441 AD when a Portuguese sailor Ahtam Goncalvez captured area and a woman on the Western Sahara coast. He presented the ‘gifts’ to Prince Henry the navigator.

In 1445 the Portuguese built a port on Arguin Island on the coast of Mauritania. The port was used as a base for buying slaves and gold. Fort Elmina (present day Ghana) was built in 1482.

From 1500 AD the Portuguese had established sugar plantations on the Island of Sao Tome near Gambia. Slave labour to cultivate the plantations was obtained from Gambia.


The discovery of the Americas by explorers such as Christopher Columbus led to the colonization of huge parts of North, South and Central America by the British, French, Portuguese and Spaniard.

Factors leading to development of trade

  • Increased demand for goods both in West Africa, Europe and America
  • Accessibility of West African coast through the ocean – ships and deep harbor
  • Protection given to traders by European and local chiefs.
  • War in North Africa made people to divert their interest in trade to the Europeans along the coast of West Africa.
  • Establishment of trading forts along the coast of West Africa.
  • Development of industries in Europe led to the development of plantations in America that needed slave labour.
  • Europeans had links with West Africa coast for a long time.
  • Availability of trade goods.
  • Enterprising merchants who were willing to invest in trade.

From around 1532 AD slaves were being exported directly to the Americas (New World)

The American Indians could not be used to provide slave labour for various reasons

  1. They were infected with new diseases that were introduced by the Spanish colonialists e.g. small pox and measles
  2. Many had also died in battle while fighting the Europeans

African slaves were in high demand for the following reasons

They were available in large numbers

They were cheaper than European and Indian labourers

They were thought to be immune to both European and tropical diseases

They appeared stronger and therefore suitable for manual labour.

The Portuguese were joined by French, Dutch and British. The Dutch captured fort Elmina from the Portuguese in 1630 and Luanda in 1641.

The British and the French used companies to conduct the slave trade, e.g. The Royal African Company that took slaves to Jamaica. Slaves were also taken to Haiti etc. The Spaniards took slaves to South America to mine gold and other minerals. Many slaves were also shipped to the U.S.A where they worked in the plantations.

Organization of the Trade

The trans-Atlantic trade is also known as the triangular trade. It operated along triangular routes i.e. Europe to West Africa, West Africa to Americas/New World, and then to Europe.

The trade involved European traders, African middlemen and plantation owners.

Europeans brought manufactured goods to Africa e.g. cloth, guns, ammunition, knives, enamel bowls metal bars, spirits, glassware, Jewellery, sugar etc.

They bartered them for slaves and then shipped them to the Americas. From the Americas, they obtained rum, cotton, tobacco, coffee etc.

The European countries involved included Britain, Spain, France, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Portugal etc. European ports such as Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow in Britain, Nantes, Bordeaux in France and Amsterdam.

Slaves were the major item of trade from Africa. They were obtained from the interior of West Africa.

Other items from West Africa included gold, hides and skins, pepper, bees wax etc.

Ways of acquiring slaves

  1. Through exchange. They were exchanged for European manufactured goods
  2. Through kidnapping. Lonely travelers were kidnapped.
  • Some leaders sold their suspects to slave dealers. These were mostly criminals, adulterers etc.
  1. Slaves were acquired through raids on African villages where the captives were sold.
  2. The weak in the society such as the widows, orphans were sold into slavery.
  3. Prisoners of war were also sold to the slave dealers.
  • Some slave dealers enticed the locals particularly children and sold them into slavery.
  • People who were unable to pay their debts would be taken as slaves. This was known as panyarring.

From the interior the slaves were yoked and tied together and marched over a long distances to the coast for sale.

African middle men discouraged European traders from going into the interior. Africans in the interior would also be dissuaded from going to the coast e.g. by being warned that Europeans were cannibals.

At the coast they were oiled and fed and then exchanged for European manufactured goods such as guns, alcohol, cloth etc. Before shipment, they were branded and then locked in warehouses called baracoons.

The major ports along the West African coast were Lagos, Badagri, Quidah, Accra, Almina, Komenda, Sekandi, Winneba and Dakar.

The slaves were tightly packed and shackled in ships and then shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. The health conditions on the ship were poor resulting in the death of many slaves. Due to the high mortality rates on the ships some African communities referred to them as tubeiros (Portuguese word for coffin)

In the Americas the slaves were sold to plantation owners through public auction. They worked in the sugarcane, cotton or tobacco plantations or became domestic servants.

Impact of the Trans Atlantic trade

Social Impact

  1. It resulted in depopulation. A historian, Philip Curtin estimates that between 1600 and 1850 AD, the population of Africa reduced by 50million. Among the regions that suffered massive depopulation was Angola, Congo and the coastal areas of West Africa.
  2. The trade exposed West Africa to new diseases. These included tuberculosis and bacillary pneumonia, syphilis and a more violent form of small pox.
  3. It resulted in the settling of people of African descent in the Americas, giving rise to African-American communities in the region. Their descendants currently live in the U.S.A, parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
  4. The trade gave rise to the mullato population e.g. in Senegal and other parts of West Africa. This was as a result of intermarriage between the European traders and the African women. They are mainly found in Goree and Dakar of present day Senegal.
  5. It resulted in the displacement and separation of family members as some were captured and sold into slavery. The activities of the slave traders caused untold human suffering to those enslaved and their relatives and communities.
  6. The methods used to capture slaves, that is, frequent raids on villages created fear and insecurity.
  7. It created a lot of enmity and rivalry between communities. In some cases some rulers turned against their own subjects and sold them into slavery.
  8. Roles changed in the communities which were affected by the trade. The women started performing tasks that were traditionally meant for men since most had already been sold into slavery.
  9. It resulted in deafricanisation and deculturalisation as people were displaced by the slave trade.
  10. Some African cultures spread to the America e.g. Samba, Jazz, Vodoo etc.

Political impact

  1. It led to the growth of some West African states e.g. Dahomey, Asante and Fante.
  2. It also resulted in the rise of a class of wealthy merchants who became leaders e.g. Nana Itsekiri, Jaja of Opobo, Samori Toure etc
  3. On the other hand, the trade weakened many other African communities making them unable to resist colonial rule e.g. Kongo in Central Africa and Oyo in West Africa.
  4. The triangular trade created European interest in West Africa resulting in its colonization
  5. The trade changed the map of West Africa especially after its abolition. New states e.g. Liberia and Sierra Leone were established.

Economic Impact

  1. It led to the decline of economic development because the young and productive members of the society were taken away (Usually those between 15 to 35 years)
  2. It led to a decline as local industries e.g. iron smelting with the introduction of European manufactured goods. Some of the young who were being taken away were also apprentices on the local industries
  3. In some cases, the trade stimulated traditional industries e.g. Benin where the sculptors used imported Bronze to produce more works of art.
  4. The trade brought in European manufactured goods e.g. clothes, rum, glassware.
  5. It contributed to the decline of the trans-Saharan trade. The traders were attracted to the coast and away from the Saharan desert.
  6. There was destruction of African property e.g. livestock, farms etc. during the slave raids.
  7. It led to the development of European economies. European countries e.g. Britain, Holland and other countries e.g. the USA accumulated a lot of wealth from the trade.
  8. It influenced the industrialization of Europe. Raw materials from the Americas e.g. cotton, tobacco were taken to factories in Europe.
  9. Some slave dealers accumulated a lot of wealth e.g. Barclay brothers and Lloyds, a Shipping company.
  10. It also encouraged the growth of plantation farming in the U.S.A. Cotton and sugar plantation relied on slave labour.

Decline of Trans-Atlantic trade

  • The development of industrial revolution in Europe shifted the demand from slave labour to agriculture produce by use of machines.
  • There was need to retain Africans in their homeland to produce raw materials for Europeans
  • Independence of USA from Britain in 1776. This persuaded Britain to seek for raw materials elsewhere especially Africa. The slave trade was therefore abolished to ensure that Africans remained in Africa to produce the raw materials.
  • Humanitarians and parliamentarians in Britain were against slavery, e.g. William Wilberforce, Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson etc.
  • The development of legitimate trade which was more profitable replaced slave trade.
  • The work of missionaries. They preached against the trade and enlightened the public in Europe on its evils.
  • Britain abolished the trade in 1807. This influenced other European countries to stop slavery.
  • Leading economists Adam Smith argued that free men worked better than slaves.
  • French revolution in 1789 spread ideas of liberty, equality and brotherhood of all mankind. Many people therefore questioned slave trade and slavery.
  • Closure of the American slave markets after a defeat of South American states at the American civil war of 1865. This left the slave dealer with no market.

Transport is the movement of people and goods from one place to another.Transport can be categorized into traditional and modern means of transport. Traditional forms of transport include human portage, animal transport and some means of water transport.

Traditional forms of transport

Land Transport

This includes either people walking or by using domestic animals.

Human transport

This includes walking, carrying goods on heads, backs and shoulders, e.g. during the slave trade, Africans were used as porters carrying loads on their heads and backs. Today it is still used by many people.

Advantages of human porterage

  • It is the easiest method/convenient
  • It is the most reliable
  • One can travel through difficult passages e.g. mountainous areas and narrow paths
  • It also offers door to door service
  • It is flexible and can carry fragile goods.
  • It does not have fixed routes
  • Convenient for short distances.

Disadvantages of human porterage

  • It was cumbersome
  • It was slow and tiresome
  • The quantity of goods carried at a particular time was also limited

Animal transport

Animals such as ox, donkey, horse, mule, Asian Elephant, Camel, Llama, Reindeer, water buffalo, dog etc were used to pull and to carry loads on their backs.

Animals used for transport are referred to as pack animals.

Donkeys were probably the first animal to be used for transport. They were used in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Southern Sudan among other areas.

Horses were domesticated by 3500 and were used for pulling wagons etc.

Camels (ship of the desert) have unique ability to survive for long without water and food. It is suitable in desert areas. Double-humped camel can carry upto 200kgs.

Elephants have been used to carry people and heavy loads in India, and carrying logs in Burma.

Advantages of animal transport

  1. The animals can be used in inaccessible areas e.g. the Ilama is used in mountainous areas with narrow and meandering paths while the camel is adapted to the desert.
  2. They are cheap to maintain
  3. Pack animals are safe as accidents are rare since they do not speed
  4. They help to maintain ecological balance since they do not interfere with the environment.
  5. Some pack animals are capable of sensing danger e.g. Horses, dogs etc that can sniff out an enemy.
  6. They are flexible and can offer door to door service. They have no fixed time for departure and arrival.
  7. Can be used for social occasions
  8. Supplement diet meat, milk and blood
  9. Transport fairly bulky or heavy goods

Disadvantages of animal transport

  1. It is slow and tedious. Animals need to stop and feed and drink along the way
  2. They can be attacked by wild animals or by insects e.g. tsetse fly or bees.
  3. Their movement is limited to the day and cannot travel at night.
  4. They carry small loads compared to vehicles.
  5. Some pack animals like donkeys are stubborn when tired and overloaded
  6. Their travel is suited for short distances as they get tired
  7. Require continuous supply of food and water along the way.

The Wheel

The Sumerians of Mesopotamia are believed to have invented the wheel by 3000 BC. This was a solid wooded wheel. In 2500 B.C they invented the spoked wheel. From Mesopotamia the use of the wheel spread to Egypt, Persia, Rome, China, Africa and Europe.

Effects of the development of the wheel

  1. It led to the development of roads due to the use of wagons and carts
  2. It made transportation easier as man could travel over long distances faster. This also encouraged the transportation of goods and increased goods
  3. It revolutionalised warfare as it was used to make chariots.
  4. In Mesopotamia it led to the manufacture of high quality pottery.
  5. The wheel helped in irrigation (shadoof)

Water Transport

Early forms of water transport


A raft is a simple floating structure usually made by tying together floating materials e.g. papyrus, logs etc. Catamaran raft was used in Australia. Logs were tied together and long poles were used to drive the raft.

However rafts sunk easily, especially where there were strong currents and storms. They also required a lot on manpower to move upstream.


The earliest canoes were bark canoes. These were made by stripping the back from trees. Later dug-out canoes were made. These were from a log that was hollowed.

It could be propelled by one or more paddles. A paddle is a short wooden pole with a flat end.

Oar driven boats

These are improvements on canoes. By 3000BC the Egyptians had replaced paddles with oars. An oar is a longer wooden pole that is fastened to the side of the boat. Oar driven boats were also used by the Phoenicians, The Greeks and the Romans.

Sailing ships

These harnesses wind by use of a piece of cloth called a sail.

The Egyptians used sailing ships by 3000BC. The Greeks used sailing ship called galleys. War galleys were called triremes

The Arabs introduced the lateen sail. This was a triangular sail which could be turned like a door. It was used to harness the monsoon winds (discovered by Hippalus) to come to East Africa.

During the 14th Century AD the Portuguese invented the caravel. This was used by Christopher Columbus and other explorers to sail to South America.

The Carrack was an improvement and was used by Vasco Da Gama and other explorers to East Africa.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus reached the New World and Ferdinand Magellan became the first to circumnavigate the world using a sailing ship.

In the 1840s fast sailing ships called clippers were made in the U.S.A. These were narrow and long. The development of sailing was also accompanied by advances in navigation. Astrolabes were used to determine position of ship at sea. This was replaced by the octant and later the sextant in 1757. During the 15th century, maps were also developed and mainly used by the explorers.


They include road, rail, water and air transport and space exploration, pipeline transport.

Road Transport

The development of roads was enhanced with the invention of the wheel. The earliest road builders were the Romans. They were mostly built by Roman soldiers using gangs of local forced labour.

Characteristics of Roman roads

  1. They had strong foundations
  2. It comprised of several layers. It was built by digging a trench 1.5m deep which was then packed by heavy stones or rocks, rough and fine concrete were then added. This was followed by layers of gravel, chalk and cement.
  • The road was convex shaped and had deep trenches on the sides to facilitate drainage.
  1. There were bridges across rivers and tunnels through hills.
  2. Most were straight and narrow.

Roman roads enhanced trade, travel administration and military conquest. The roads decline with the fall of the Roman Empire.

In 18th century, better roads were built in Europe. The notable engineers were George Wade (1673-1748) and John Metcalfe (1717-1810).

However more progress made by a Scottish engineer John Mc Adam (1756-1836)

Roads made by Mc Adam were called McAdamic roads

Characteristics of Macdemised roads

  1. It consisted of three layers of small broken stones.
  2. The surface composed of stone clippings tightly packed together
  • A layer of gravel was added on top making them have a smooth surface
  1. They were all weather roads
  2. They were straight and water drained easily
  3. Macadamised roads were improved by adding tar to make them water proof and more durable. They are called tarmac roads
  • They were quicker to construct and provided good monitoring surface.

Modern roads have been constructed. They include motorways, flyovers and underways

The Bicycle

This was and still is the cheapest means of modern transport

The development of the bicycle has been attributed to many people

  1. De Divrac made a bicycle that was pushed with the feet thus the name walkalong
  2. Baron Karl Drais invented the draisine which had a steering bar. Similar bicycles were introduced in England in 1818 and were called hoppy-horses, dandy –horses and swift walks.
  3. In 1860, Ernest Michaux a French locksmith invented a bicycle. It has two wheels with pedals attached to the Front wheel.
  4. Pierre Allement a French man was given the first patent on a bicycle – boneshaker in 1866. In 1873 the highwheeler was introduced in England.
  5. Kirk Patrick Macmillan of Scotland made the first bicycle in Britain.
  6. James Starley invented the safety bicycle. He invented a tension spoked wheel in which the rim and the hub were connected with the Pneumatic tyre filled with compresses air.

Uses of a bicycle

  1. It is used for transport – boda boda
  2. For sporting and for leisure.


  • It is cheap and convenient for short distances
  • It can be used easily on narrow paths
  • It is flexible
  • It provides door to door delivery

The motor vehicle

These are power driven. They include motocycles, trucks, cars and buses

The development of the motor vehicle was also the effort of several engineers

  1. In 1760, J.H Genevois a Swiss clergyman suggested the use of wind springs that could move wheels on the road
  2. Jacques de Vaucauzon demonstrated in Paris a carriage propelled by a large clockwork engine.
  3. The use of steam to drive an engine was first utilized by a French army engineer Joseph Cugnot (1725 – 1804) He built a three wheeled steam driven vehicle in 1769.
  4. In 1883 Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900) produced a high speed petrol engine. In 1885 he fitted this engine to a wooden cycle.
  5. In the same year, Karl Benz, another German (1844-1929) fitted this petrol engine to a tricycle.
  6. In 1886 Daimler Made the first petrol driven car with four wheels. Benz made the first four wheeled Benz car in 1893.
  7. In the same year Charles Duryea of U.S.A built the first gasoline powered automobile.
  8. In 1888 the pneumatic tyres made by Dunlop made cars move comfortably.
  9. In 1903 Henry Ford started mass production of motor vehicles. He founded the Ford motor company in Detroit in 1903.

The first practical motor cycle was built by Daimler in 1885. Motor cycles are used by police and army men in some countries, sports and leisure and also in congested cities. They are used in Kenya for Boda boda transport and courier services.

Impact of road transport

  1. Roads have promoted trade within and between countries
  2. It has facilitated industrialization. They are used for the transportation of raw materials to the industries and movement of manufactured goods to the markets.
  3. Agricultural development has also been enhanced. It transports farm inputs to the farms and the agricultural products to the markets.
  4. Mineral exploitation has also been facilitated.
  5. Towns and urban centers have also developed as a result of improved transport.
  6. From the sale of motor vehicles countries with motor vehicle industries e.g. Japan earn a lot of foreign exchange
  7. Employment opportunities have also been created e.g. during road construction and maintenance and in the motor vehicle industry.

Advantages of road transport

  1. It is the easiest and the commonest form of transport. This has reduced the cost of transport.
  2. Roads are easier to construct and maintain
  3. They are found in areas where other forms of transport e.g. railways cannot be used
  4. It is faster compared to water and rail transport except where electric trains are used.
  5. Roads are flexible and link with other forms of transport such as water, railway and air transport.

Disadvantages of road transport

  1. The high number of accidents on roads lead to the loss of lives
  2. Pollution from exhaust fumes from vehicles causes environmental degradation.
  3. Due to increase number of vehicles on roads, traffic congestion is a major problem in major towns and cities.
  4. Roads cannot carry bulky goods compared to the railway
  5. Roads that are not all weather become impassable during poor weather.
  6. The use of roads is limited to specific areas. It cannot go beyond land e.g. across the lakes
  7. Construction of all weather roads is expensive.

Poor road network

  1. Causes delays in marketing of goods
  2. Causes delays in supply of industrial raw materials
  3. It brings about high transport costs leading to high food prices.
  4. Lead to increase in accidents and poor delivery of essential services
  5. It can discourage farmers to produce more due to wastage as a result of delays.
  6. It undermines effectiveness of agricultural extension officers.


(Video) Kcse Kiswahili Revision | Sarufi na isimu Jamii | Maswali na Majibu

The earliest locomotive was designed by Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) A British engineer. He designed a steam engine that was able to move on a truck. More improvements were made on his steam engine e.g.

Fenton, Murray and Wood of leads built the John Blenkinsop locomotive in 1812.

William Hedley built the Puffing Billy in 1813.

George Stephenson (1781-1845) a British engineer invented a locomotive called the Blucher. He also built the first public railway between Stockton and Darlington. He also built the Manchester to Liverpool railway between 1826 and 1832.

He also built and improved another engines called the Rocket which could travel at 48km/h, the Northumbrian and the Planet were also built.

Steam engine was replaced by the diesel engines. In 1892 a German called Rudolf Diesel invented heavy oil driven engine. It was cheaper and more efficient than the steam engine.

Diesel engines were also later replaced by electric engines. Electric engines were invented by the Siemens brothers and John Hopkinson in 1883.

The first railway lines were built of iron. However it was less durable and does rust easily. It was therefore replaced by steel.

Examples of world’s great railway lines

  • Trans Siberian railway line in Russia
  • Great American line in USA
  • Canadian-Pacific line in Canada
  • The Kenya-Uganda railway in E. Africa
  • The Tanzam railway in Tanzania and Zambia.

Results of railway transport

  1. It has promoted movement of people. This has increased social and cultural interaction.
  2. Railway transport has also encouraged the migration of peopleg. rural-urban migration
  3. It has promoted trade as goods are transported easily to the markets
  4. Industrial development has been boosted by railway transport. Raw materials, workers are transported to the industrial centres more efficiently as well as the finished products to the markets.
  5. It has led to the growth and expansion of towns and cities in the world e.g. Nairobi, Kisumu which developed along the railway.
  6. It facilitated the spread of religious faiths e.g. Christianity was spread more quickly following the construction of Kenya-Uganda railway.
  7. It also ensured effective administration especially during the colonial period as it enabled the quick transportation of colonial officers and soldiers.
  8. It boosted agricultural production. Farm inputs and agricultural products were transported much faster and easily.
  9. People have also acquired gainful employment from railway transport. This is during construction and maintenance. Others are employed as drivers etc.
  10. Exploitation of natural resources such as mining fisheries or forestry have also been facilitated by railway transport.
  11. It has also stimulated economic growth through revenue collection from railway services

Disadvantages of railway transport

  1. Railway transport is expensive to construct. The wagons are expensive to buy and maintain.
  2. They are less flexible as they cannot easily pass through a mountainous landscape. They require a relatively flat surface.
  3. Smoke emitted by trains leads to environmental pollution
  4. Though accidents are rare they are fatal when they occur e.g. in Kenya the 1998 train accident led to the death of over 200 people.
  5. It is not self sufficient. It has to be supplemented by other means of transport.


These include sailing, canal vessels, river boats, steam ships etc.


This is an artificial (man-made) river that is used to transport people and goods.

It links a river and a lake, a river and the sea or sea with sea.

Uses of canals

To shorten sea routes

To speed up supply of raw materials/transport of finished products to the factories and markets

They are used to provide water for irrigation

To supply water to urban areas

To control flooding

The earliest canal was built by the Egyptians around 4000 BC to link the Nile river and the Red Sea.

Another canal is the Grand Canal in China which is the longest- 1900km long. It linked the Yangtse and the Yellow rivers.

In America, the Erie canal which is 845km long was built between 1817 and 1825. It connects Hudson River with Lake Erie. Today it is called the New York State barge

Suez canal is a ship canal. It’s deeper and connects Red Sea to Mediterranean Ocean. It is 195kms long. It was built by Ferdinand Lesseps between 1859 and 1869.

  • It shortened the route to India by 5000kms for European countries
  • It helped the movement of bulky goods hence increased the volume of trade
  • It led to the occupation of Egypt by Britain because Egypt became bankrupt after construction of the canal and sold her shares to Britain
  • Occupation of Egypt by Britain led to the scramble and partition of Africa by other European countries.

Panama Canal (1904 – 1914) built by America joins Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The Saint Lawrence Seaway (1855-1895) is the most important canal in America. It joins St Lawrence River to The Great Lakes. It is 3,800kms long.

The Kiel Canal links the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. These are the most important canals in the world.

The Romans were also great canal builders.

Steam ships

Sailing ships had major disadvantages. They relied on winds which were unreliable.

The invention of steam engine led to the development of the steam ship.

The invention of the steamship was the effort of several engineers.

  1. Denis Papin of France who fitted a steam engine into a boat and sailed along river Fulda in Hanover.
  2. In 1736 Jonathan Holls of Gloucestershire patented a steam tugboat but it was never tried.
  3. In 1774 J.B d’Auxiron of France experimented with a steam boat.
  4. In 1775, C Perier managed to move a small boat by steam power on River Seine in Paris.
  5. In 1783 Marquis de Jouffrey made the first successful steam boat.
  6. An American John Fitch built a steam boat in 1787 that was driven by oars. Later in the same year James Rumsey drove a boat on the Potomac River using a power pump.
  7. William Symington and Pat Miller also built a steam ship which they named charlotte Dundas. They had got assistance from Lord Dundas.
  8. In 1807 an American inventor Robert Fulton designed a double-paddle wheeled steamship boat known as Clermont that operated on the Hudson River.
  9. In 1819 the savannah became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
  10. In 1853, the Himalaya built by Oriental Line was the first biggest vessel weighing 3,435 tonnes.
  11. John elder invented a compound engine with two cylinders which reduced fuel consumption
  12. Benjamin Normand of the Le Havre ship builders invented the triple expansion machinery. He received a patent in 1871

By the end of the 19th century the quadruple expansion engine was invented.

In ship building steel replaced iron. In 1836 Francis Pettit Smith an Englishman and John Ericcson a Swede patented screw propellers. More improvements were made on the steamships.

Motor driven ships

More developments in the shipping industry were realized with the invention of the internal combustion engine. Oil replaced coal in driving machines.

The Caspian steamer Wanal built in 1903 was the first sizable ship with an internal combustion engine.

In the 20th century Nuclear/Atomic energy was developed. It was first used in an American submarine called the Nautilus in 1956. The American merchant ship, MS Savannah propelled by nuclear power was launched in 1961.These were faster and more efficient.

Modern ships can be classified into

  1. Passenger liners which include cruise ship. It is a specially designed luxurious vessel with a 200 passenger capacity.
  2. Cargo (freight) ships are designed for carrying large amounts of cargo.
  3. Military vessels are boats and ships used in warfare.
  4. Hydrofoils and hovercraft. Hydrofoils have a small wing like foils which is attached to the bottom of its hull. The foils act like small aircraft wings lifting the hull out of water as the vessel accelerates. Hovercraft is lifted off the water surface by a cushion of air. It is propelled by giant air propellers. They can move on land and are used in rescue missions.
  5. Ferries are used to transport people, animals and vehicles over water in areas where bridges would be inconvenient or impossible to construct.
  6. Motorboats and personal craft are mostly used for recreation.

Shipping industry has enabled man to explore, transport bulky cargo, promoted trade and reduced the cost of transport.

Advantages of Steam engines

  • Were used on trains and helped in the movement of people and goods
  • Steam engines were used in boats and ships which improved water transport. It was no longer necessary to rely on wind for water transport
  • Steam engines were more efficient and increased speed in the transport industry

Pipeline transport

This is the use of pipes to transport liquids, gases over long distances.

They are mostly used to transport water, oil and gas to industrial centres, refineries and shipping ports.

They are also used to transport solid liquid mixtures e.g. coal suspended in water.

However, pipelines are used largely to transport crude oil.


The development of the airplane or air plane was a gradual process. Several people contributed to this process.

In 1783 through French brothers Jacques and Joseph Montgolfier successfully launched a hot air balloon.

In the same year another French man Jacques A Charles made a successful trial of a hydrogen-filled balloon.

Sir George Cayley an English scholar/inventor built model gliders.

Gliders were improved on by Otto Lilienthal a German who made many successful flights. Later Pilcher added wheels to the gliders. By 1850, power driven planes were being built. John Sting an English engineer designed and built power driven planes.

Samuel Langley, an American also built an airplane called the Aerodrome. However he was unsuccessful as it crashed into the Potomac river before launch.

On 17th December 1903 the Wright Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful airplane. This was at Kitty Hawk North Carolina in the USA. This was a wooden glider fitted with a petrol engine.

More improvements were made on the airplane.

1906 the first official European flight was made by a Brazilian born aviator

1909 Louis Bleriot of France became the first man to fly across the English Channel.

During the World War I the Germans used the first monoplane.

In 1919 John Alcock and Arthur W. Brown flew across the Atlantic from New Foundland to Ireland.

Other improvements were the replacement of wood and cloth with aluminum and stainless steel. The invention of the retractable gear improved streamlining in planes. Speed increased by1920, the world record being 303km/h. By 1940 the speed was 755 km per hour.

The best known aviator of the 1920s was Charles Linburgh who made a nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927. This was in a single engine monoplane called The Spirit of St Louis. The flight took 33 hrs.

Passenger planes were also improved. Safety devises were introduced e.g. de-icers, fire extinguishers, radios etc.

During World War II speed was improved. The greatest invention was the Jet engines which were done simultaneously by German engineers and an English engineer Frank Whittle of the Royal air force in 1939.

By 1945 Jet engines were put to commercial use. These were made by Boeing 707,

Douglas aircraft co. and Airbus.

The supersonic speed was developed in the 1970s. These fly at speeds of over 1180 km/hr e.g. the Russian TU-144 and French Concorde.

The invention of the Helicopter was another important step. This was by a Russian engineer Igor Sirkesky.

They are used for commercial and military purposes. They are also used in emergency situations and to reach difficult areas e.g. oil platforms mountainous regions etc.

Rocket engines also revolutionized air transport leading to space exploration.

A rocket engine carries chemicals which enable it to burn its fuel without air supply.

The modern rocket is a product of work by Fritz Von Opel, a German (1930) and RH Goddard, an American.

Results of Air transport

  1. It has led to the fastest means of transport for both passengers and goods. This has led to increased social and cultural exchange
  2. It has also contributed to emergency servicesg. health e.g. AAR (African Air rescue and distribution of relief food and medical supplies.
  3. It has led to the growth of international tradeg. trade in perishable goods, and the movement of business people.
  4. It has provided employment for those who work in the air ports and aircrafts e.g. pilots, hostesses, engineers etc.
  5. Aircrafts have promoted agriculture. Planes are used to spray insecticide and fertilizers. They also ensure faster transportation of farm produce.
  6. They are used in cartography – for aerial surveys, photography and mapping the ground.
  7. It has enhanced wildlife management and conservation e.g. in the counting of wildlife, prevention of poaching and to drive migrating animals to a desired direction.
  8. The aircraft manufacturing industry is a source of revenue to many countries.
  9. It has boosted the tourism industry as it has made the movement of people faster and easier.
  10. It has greatly improved weather forecasting leading to more regular and accurate forecasts.
  11. It provides transport to inaccessible areas where other forms of transport cannot reach e.g. mountain tops and flooded areas.
  12. It helps in fire fighting, inspecting fences and power cables. In some cases they are used to police borders.
  13. Space exploration has been improved due to air transport. Satellites are used to study objects in space and collect scientific information.
  14. It has promoted international co-operation and understanding. International leaders are able to meet and discuss various issues.
  15. Aeroplanes are used to break hails in order to cause rainfall thus saving crops from destruction.
  16. Planes are used in sporting and entertainmentg. during national holidays, Kenya air force stage fighter plane shows.
  17. Warfare has been revolutionized through the use of aircraft. They are used to transport soldiers and drop bombs.
  18. Air transport has led to increased cases of terrorism. Terrorists hijack planes and cause deaths to passengers e.g. Sept 11th 2001 in New York.
  19. It contributes to environmental pollution due to discharge of burning fuel, noise pollution etc.
  20. Fatal accidents have also occurred leading to the deaths of many people e.g. KQ in Cote d’Ivoire. January 2003 Busia plane crash that killed the then Minister for Labour Mr. Mohammed Khalif.


Space exploration refers to an organized trip to beyond the earth’s atmosphere. The space age refers to the period in which exploration of space became possible.

The space age begun with the launch of the first artificial satellite in October 1957. It was a Soviet satellite called sputnik.

In April 1961 Yuri Gagarin using Vostok I became the first human to go to space.

In the same year an American John Glenn also went into space.

In July 1969 Neil Armstrong, an American became the first man to land on the moon. He was accompanied by Edwin E. Aldrin Jr and Michael Collins. Their spacecraft was called Apollo II.

Many more Astronauts and cosmonauts have gone to space for longer periods of time. Robotic explorers have also visited the other solar systems. These have led to more information about space and technological advancements.

Another important development was the invention of the space shuttle. This is designed to make more flights. The first shuttle was called Columbia launched in 1981. It carried American astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Cripens. In 1983 the space shuttle challenger was launched. One of the crew was Sally K. Ride, the first woman astronaut to go to space. In 1984, Kathryn D. Sullivan became the first woman to walk in space.

Challenges encountered in Space exploration

  1. Hostile space environment. It has a vacuum which means that the spacecraft has to carry its own air. This is expensive.
  2. There are hazards such as solar and cosmic radiation and snow, bits of rocks and dust (micro meteorites) which can puncture the spacecraft or an astronaut’s pressure suit.
  3. Extreme temperatures and light ranging from extreme dark conditions to bright sunlight.

Results of space exploration

  1. It has facilitated scientific and technological development
  2. New discoveries have been made increasing our human understanding of the universe
  3. It has led to advanced airforce weapons systems
  4. It has promoted scientific research especially in America and Europe. This has been undertaken by NASA and ESA.


More advances have been made in transportation to ensure faster speed, safety and efficiency of carrying more cargo for less money.

Latest electronic and computer systems have also been introduced e.g. use of computerized maps and the use of the global positioning systems (GPS) to monitor the position of vehicles.

Better materials that are lighter, stronger and durable are also being developed for vehicle construction. Research for alternative fuels is also going on.

Effects of modern forms of transport


  1. It has encouraged migration and settlement of people all over the world e.g. rural-urban migration
  2. The diffusion of ideas on science, technology, religion and culture has been promoted due to increased interaction between people.
  3. It has made it easy to travel all over the world making the world become a global village.
  4. Social developments such as schools and hospitals have been influenced by good transport networks e.g. schools and hospitals are located along roads.
  5. Transport systems have promoted humanitarian assistance e.g. provision of relief food, medical supplies, evacuation etc.


  1. Transport systems have led to increased local and international trade.
  2. It has boosted agricultural development/production since farmers can transport farm products and imports more effectively.
  3. Has influenced industrialization. Raw materials, manufactured goods and finished products have been transported faster.
  4. Countries all over the world earn a lot of revenue from the different types of transport e.g. fuel levies
  5. Transport systems have enhanced the exploitation of mineral/natural resources.
  6. Led to the development of tourism due to good transport systems.
  7. They have led to the growth of urban centres e.g. London, Nairobi etc.
  8. Expansion of transport systems has led to the creation of employment opportunities.
  9. It has led to the growth of the service sector e.g. banking and insurance, Banks provide finance for investment while the insurance provide compensation for losses e.g. accidents, fires, diseases etc.

Political effects

  1. Transport systems have enhanced national security and political stability, as they ensure the security forces reach even areas that are inaccessible.
  2. Led to effective colonization of Africa and Asia. European colonizers used roads and railway to suppress local resistance and to facilitate easy administration.

Negative effects

  1. Transport systems have led to a number of accidents where many lives have been lost e.g. 1994 The Mtongwe ferry accident where 257 people died, 2003 Busia plane crash, 1986 space shuttle challenger exploded and 7 astronauts were killed, The 2007 June KQ crash in Doula Cameroon killing all the passengers.
  2. Environmental pollution. Different forms of transport emit poisonous gases, oil leakages from tankers cause oil spills leading to marine pollution, vehicles and plane cause noise pollution.
  3. Modern forms of transport have led to the growth of international terrorism. The September 11th 2001 hijacked planes crashed into the world trade centre and the Pentagon killing thousands of people.

Communication is the exchange of ideas, information and messages with others in a particular time and place.

Traditional forms of communication

These include gesture, language, physical marks, smoke signals, drum beats, messengers, screams and shouts/cries and written messages (on scrolls and stone tablets)

Verbal communication

In verbal communication, words are either sung or spoken.

Early language systems combined vocal sounds with gestures to express messages.

There are over 6000 distinct languages in the world today. Some languages grow while others become extinct.


These are signals or body movements that intend to pass a message.

The use of gestures is also known as sign language. The person to whom the gesture is directed must know the meaning of the gesture in order to interpret it correctly.

Gestures also emphasize where silence is required e.g. in hospitals, traffic control etc.

The deaf use sign language for communication.


  1. Fire and smoke signals

They were used to send messages quickly. A fire was lit and the rising smoke was seen by neighbours

Fire and smoke signals were coded so that strangers could not interpret them easily.

They were used to warn people of impending danger e.g. an attack.

Various communities in the world used fire and smoke signals to pass important information e.g. the Jews used fire torches to proclaim their feast days on the Mount of Olives.

The American Indians were also known as the greatest fire and smoke signalers.

Advantages of fire and smoke signals

  1. They could be used to send confidential messages outsiders could not easily understand the message
  2. Fire and smoke signals conveyed messages faster
  3. It was a cheaper method of passing information.

Limitations of fire and smoke signals

  1. Messages could only be sent over short distances
  2. Range of messages passed were limited
  3. The use of fire and smoke signals was restricted to weather conditions. During wet weather, it was difficult to start a fire. It was also difficult to send fire or smoke signals during cloudy or misty days.
  4. They were of little use if there was no one on the lookout.
  5. Fire could lead to accidents e.g. bush/ forest fires if not well controlled.
  6. It was not suitable to the blind.
  1. Drum beats

Many traditional communities used drum beats to convey messages.

Each beat had its own code e.g. beats for ceremonies death, community festivals, declaration of war etc

In West Africa, there existed “talking drums” which were played by skilled drummers. The drum beats imitated speech

Drum beats were used at dawn or sunset when it was calm.

Advantages of drum beats

  1. A wide range of messages could be relayed. Different beats could convey different messages e.g. death, festivals, danger etc.
  2. Messages could be conveyed over a wide area since it could be heard easily.
  3. They could be used at any time day/night unlike smoke which could only be used in daytime
  4. Messages could be conveyed faster compared to fire and smoke signals.
  5. Drum beats could be used during all seasons whereas smoke cannot be used during misty or cloudy weather.

Disadvantages of drumbeats

  1. Sometimes the drumbeats could not be differentiated easily and therefore not easily interpreted leading to confusion
  2. Messages could only be conveyed by specialists
  3. Drum beating was a tiring exercise.
  1. Messengers or runners
  2. Messengers or runners were mostly used to deliver urgent or confidential messages. They were mostly verbal. With the invention of writing, messangers were used to deliver written messages.
  3. Phidippides, an Athenian soldier is remembered in history for having covered the distance from Marathon to Athens though he died upon arrival. The marathon race is named in his honour
  4. Animals and birds e.g. cats, dogs, pigeons and parrots are also used as messengers
  5. In modern times the post and courier services are used e.g. DHL, Securicor etc.

Advantages of Messengers

  1. They were faster over short distances
  2. It was a cheap method
  3. It could be used to send messages where other sources could not reach
  4. It was not limited to weather
  5. Immediate feedback could be obtained.

Limitations of Messengers

  1. It was a slow method to use over long distances as the messengers often walked
  2. At times the messengers forgot the message. Accuracy of the message depended on the memory of the messenger
  3. Information could be distorted. Sometimes wrong message could be delivered.
  4. Messengers could be killed or attacked by wild animals
  5. It was tiring and the message could be misinterpreted.
  1. Horn Blowing

This was done by specialists with different tones used for passing different messages. Occasions such as funerals, weddings etc had unique tunes.

Advantages of horn blowing

  • It was a cheap method
  • A wide range of messages could be conveyed
  • It was a faster way of sending messages.

Disadvantage of horn blowing

  1. Horn blowing could be tiring
  2. It required specialists who knew the tunes
  3. Messages could not be send beyond hills and mountains
  4. The many tunes could also cause confusion if not well differentiated. Misinterpretation of different notes.
  5. It required calm conditions.
  6. Deaf
  1. Screams and shouts/cries

Different communities use shouts and screams to convey different messages e.g. death, celebration, attacks, danger etc e.g. Birth of a child could be marked by ululations.

Screams were more effective on hill tops because of echoing.

  1. Written messages

The earliest forms of writing were pictographic (symbols representing objects) or ideographic (symbols representing ideas)

They included hieroglyphics of the Egyptians and Cuneiform of the Sumerians.

Early written messages were recorded on stone/clay tablets, scrolls, parchment (made from dried animal skin and also paper.

Scrolls are rolls of paper which are rolled around rods of wood or ivory.

The ancient Egyptians and Greeks made scrolls from papyrus. The Japanese and Chinese made their scrolls from silk or paper.

Stone/clay tablets were mostly used by the Sumerians Writing was done on a wet clay using a sharp object called a stylus. After drying it hardened and left a permanent impression.

In history Hammurabi the law giver wrote his laws on stone pillars to be read by all. The Ten Commandments in the Bible were originally written on stone tablets.

Merits of written messages

  1. Confidentiality
  2. They are reliable source of information
  3. Information could be preserved for long and used for future reference
  4. Information could be translated into different languages to be read by many.
  5. Written information could be accessed easily
  6. Messages are relatively accurate/reliable.

Demerits of written messages

  1. They are only limited to literate people
  2. At times the authors could be biased
  3. Written messages are open to misinterpretation
  4. Translation of messages can lead to distortion
  5. It is time consuming reading written information/ messages
  6. Confidentiality was not guaranteed

Modern means of Communication

These can be categorized into telecommunication and the print media


This is a term that describes the technology of sending or receiving messages over long distances using telecommunication devices such as radio, telephone etc.

The message can be verbal, pictorial or written

Telecommunication messages can be sent in a variety of ways e.g. from sender to single receiver (point to point) or from one sender to many receivers (point to multipoint) also known as broadcast.

Examples of telecommunication devices include Telephone, TVs, radio, video, cinema, pager, internet, facsimile, transreceiver, satellite etc.


The word telephone comes from Greek words tele and phon which mean far and sound. The telephone is a device that relays sound waves by converting them into sound.

The telephone was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, a speech teacher in Boston Massachusetts. He was assisted by Thomas A Watson.

Improvements in telephone communication were made with the invention of automatic switching. Almond Brown Strowger of Kansas invented the first automatic exchange (Stronger Switches) in 1897.

Speaking range was also increased by use of repeaters.

Telephone services were initially owned by the Bell Telephone company established in 1877. In 1900 the Bell Telephone company was sold to American Telephone and Telegraph company. In Kenya, wire telephone services are run by Telkom Kenya.

Cellphone/Mobile telephone

The development of the mobile telephone has been gradual.

Mobile radio communication began in the U.S.A in 1921. Commercial radio telephone service were introduced in 1921 in St. Louis, Missouri

Dr Martin Cooper is considered the inventor of the first modern cellphone. He made the first call on mobile phone in April 1973. He worked together with Richard W. Dronsoth, Albert J Milulski, Charles N. Lynk Jnr, James Milulsi, John F. Mitchell, Roy A. Richardson and John H. Sangster.

By 1982, commercial cellular phones were in use in the USA.

Several measures have been taken to improve services e.g. by building more base stations and improving technology.

Mobile phones are now widely used and as a result there are many manufacturing companies e.g. Nokia, Motorola, Sony, Alcatel, Sumsung, Ericson, Sagem etc.

Features of cellphones

Cellphones uses a rechargeable battery and have different features including:

  • Making and receiving calls
  • A personal phone book
  • Sending and receiving SMS (Text message service)
  • Storing of messages and display of telephone number of caller
  • Calculator, clock and calendar
  • Internet access and storing e-mail addresses.
  • Digital camera for photos and video recording. Some have analog Tv.
  • Variaties of ringtones/vibrate alerts.

Limitations of cellphones

  1. Poor reception. This is common among handsets with internal antennas
  2. Cellular technology is dependent on the availability of electricity. The base stations are powered by electricity and the phone battery need constant recharging.
  3. The phones are delicate and break easily.
  4. The continuous use of phones has led to possible fears of health risks resulting from the side effects of radioactive rays.
  5. Handsets are easily stolen due to their small size.
  6. Some are very expensive
  7. Can be used to download pornographic images from the internet.

Advantages of cell phones

  1. Due to their small size they are convenient to use
  2. They are minimal cases of calls being unanswered as they can be carried anywhere.
  3. Confidential messages can be conveyed as communication can be done away from the public
  4. Messages can be stored for a long time
  5. Many operations can be carried out on mobile phone e.g. Sms, e-mail, calculations etc.


The word television is derived from Greek and Latin words meaning to see far.

Televisions use point to multipoint technology. They are used to transmit news, information and to provide entertainment.

In 1922, John Loggie Baird, a Scottish showed how moving images could be transmitted by electromagnetic waves.

In 1931 the cathode rays tube (CRT) was invented in the USA. This led to the modern Tv. This development is attributed to Philo Farnswoth and Vladimir Zworykin.

The B.B.C opened an experimental television station in 1929 and began broadcasting in 1936.

In 1942 Baird invented the colour transmission.

Tv broadcast in Kenya began in 1970 with the V.O.K Other channels include the KTN (1990), Citizen, Nation, CTN etc.

In 1994, cable television system was introduced in Kenya. CTN is a commercial service that links several Tvs through a coaxial cable or satellite to a subscriber. A subscriber can receive more than 400 Tv stations.

Importance of the Television

  1. It conveys information from all over the world more vividly than other means of communication
  2. It provides entertainment; music, drama and other entertainment programmes are shown on Tv.
  3. Some educational programmes are aired on TV e.g. programmes on Hiv and AIDS
  4. It is used to advertise goods. This has enabled manufacturers and companies to sell their products
  5. It is effective in transmitting ideas as it commands attention e.g. the spread of culture
  6. It creates jobs e.g. newscasters, editors, managers etc.
  7. It has brought reality into homes. People can watch events from different parts the world happening at the same time (live broadcast).

Disadvantages of the Tv

  1. Tv is mostly found in areas with electricity. In some cases expensive solar panels have to be installed and those using motor vehicle batteries have to recharge them regularly.
  2. Some Tv programmes are pornographic leading to the erosion of cultural values
  3. Violence on Tv is common with several violent programmes. This has led to increases violent behavior among the youth.
  4. Advertisements on Tv such as those of alcoholic drinks and cigarettes have encouraged deviant behavior among the youth.
  5. Watching Tv. Can be addictive leading to less productivity and health problems e.g. obesity.
  6. Some of the information aired may be exaggerated.
  7. Advertisement on the Tv is very expensive
  8. It’s expensive to repair damaged Tvs.


Radios transmit and receive information at various frequencies. Radio waves carry the signals heard on AM and FM radio receivers

The invention of the radio was the effort of several scientists.

  1. Clerk Maxwell, an English mathematical scientist (1831-1879). In 1864 he suggested the existence of air waves
  2. Heinrich Rudolph Hertz (1857-94) In 1888 he demonstrated the existence of electromagnetic waves.
  3. Ernest Rutherford (1871-1973) an Englishman succeeded in sending radio signals
  4. Oliver Lodge (1851-1940) An Englishman developed the basic principle of tuning a radio.
  5. In 1901 an Italian Guglielmo Morconi (1874-1937) invented the radio when he sent audio transmission across the Atlantic from Poldhu in Cornwall to Saint John, New Foundland Canada. He also sent messages between France and England.

Radio gained prominence during the World War I as it was used to communicate. The first radio broadcast in Britain was in 1920. The BBC was set up in London in 1922.

In Kenya radio programmes were relayed by the BBC in English and later other languages e.g. Arabic and Kiswahili.

After independence, radio programmes were aired by the VOK later changed to the KBC. In 1995 the FM metre band was introduced leading to several stations e.g. Metro, Capital, Citizen, Kiss etc.

Importance of the Radio

  1. It is easily accessible as most people can afford to buy it.
  2. News and information from the radio is quickly received throughout the country.
  3. It can be used by illiterate people as broadcasts can be made in a language they understand.
  4. It has led to the development of transport systems as it is used for communication in railway, ships, air planes etc.
  5. They are used for broadcasting educational programmes e.g. on health, industry, family planning etc.
  6. It is a source of entertainment through music, drama etc.
  7. Manufacturers and companies use radio broadcasts to advertise their products and ideas.
  8. Space exploration has been enhanced by radio communication. Radio signals are used to communicate with space vehicles.
  9. They help in educating people on government policies.

Disadvantages of the radio

  1. Contents of some radio programmes are pornographic in nature leading to deviant behavior among the youth.
  2. Alcohol and cigarette advertisements are also on radio which negatively influence the youth
  3. Radio can be used to spread hate information e.g. the Rwanda genocide
  4. Not suitable for the deaf
  5. Noise pollution with loud volume
  6. Some signals are not clear
  7. Exaggerated information


The word telegraph comes from the Greek words for ‘far’ and ‘writing’

A telegraph is a device or a process by which messages are passed over a distance especially using radio signal or coded electrical signals

Telegraphic messages are sent by a code in which the numbers, letters and punctuation marks are represented by a combination of dots and dashes.

The earliest code to be used was the Morse code which evolved into the international Morse code. A message sent by a telegraph is called a telegram. With the invention of the radio, telegraph signals were sent through the radio waves.

Telegraph lines were usually set on land along railway lines and cables laid under the sea. They were used by journalists to spread news faster, and also by business people and industrialists to order raw materials and goods faster.

The main limitation of the telegraph was that the cables could be destroyed either by accident or by bad weather.

The internet

The internet is a computer based global information network. It links thousands of computers using telephone and satellite links. It was introduced in the late 1970s. In 1981, only 213 computers were connected to the internet. Today, there are more than 800million computers connected to the internet.

The internet has made it possible for people all over the world to communicate with one another.

The provision of internet service/access to customers is done by internet service providers (ISP) at a fee.

Results of the internet

  1. Education has been developed. Educational institutions use the internet to conduct research and to deliver course and course materials to the students.
  2. The internet has also facilitated commerce. It offers goods and services online (e-commerce)
  3. It has facilitated the running/provision of government services online (e-government)
  4. It has enabled individuals to communicate faster through the use of e-mail.
  5. Business people use the internet to interact with other business people.
  6. It has led to the spread of news and information about what is happening all over the world
  7. Many people can access pornographic materials through the internet, hence increasing immortality.

The e-mail enables computer users to send messages and data quickly through a local area network of the World Wide Web (www)

To be able to send or receive an e-mail one requires an e-mail address. The first part of an e-mail address contains the users name followed by the symbol @ then the domain name, and country name.

E-mail has some advantages

  1. The transmission of information is instant
  2. No stamps, papers or envelops are needed hence it is economical
  3. Access to information is limited by the use of passwords hence promoting confidentiality
  4. Documents can be stored in word processing packages providing a permanent convenient data storage
  5. The information can be retrieved when needed.

Fascimile transreceiver (fax)

The fax is a method of transmitting text rather than sound over a telephone network. A written, printed or pictorial document is scanned photo electrically and the transmitted signal are re-produced photoelectrical by the receiving fax machine.

The document is scanned by the transmitting fax machine. This takes place within 30 seconds. The fax machine was developed by Arthur Korn, a German in 1902.

The fax is used by newspapers, businesses and weather forecasting organization.


(Video) Chemistry Form 2

Telex is a system that uses a keyboard to transmit typed text over telephone lines. The typed message is automatically reproduced by a similar machine at the receiving point. It was developed in 1958 and within 10 years, it had over 25,000 subscribers.

With telex, a message can be received any time of the day, it does not involve decoding like a telegraph, exact version of the message is received and it is accessible to many people. However, the messages must be short and transmission of message is slow.


This is an artificial device orbiting around the earth, moon or another planet, and transmitting information. Rockets are used to propel satellites into space. The development of the satellite was due to the efforts of a number of scientists.

In 1680 Sir Isaac Newton introduced the idea of artificial satellites

In 1945 Arthur Clarke an English writer proposed the using of satellite for communication.

In 1955 John Robinson Pierce, an American Scientist proposed the use of manned satellites to collect and pass on information.

On 1st October 1957 the USSR sent Sputnik I the first satellite into space. In the same year the first passenger satellite called laika was sent into space.

The first message to be transmitted by satellite was Christmas greetings by President Dwight D Eissenhower of USA in 1958.

In 1961 a Russian Yuri Gagarin went into space

In 1969 television pictures were relayed by satellites

In 1961 an American Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon. This was in a spacecraft Apollo I

Types of satellites

There are different types of satellites serving different purposes e.g. communication satellites. These send radio, Tv and telephone signals.

Military satellites are used for photographing possible enemy activities, communication navigation and guiding missiles.

Navigation satellites are used for guiding ships and planes in all kinds of weather.

Weather satellites are used for weather forecasting. From 1981 the USA started using space shuttle for its space missions. Such shuttles include the Challenger which exploded in 1986, Columbia etc.


They are also known as beepers. It is a radio frequency (RF) device that allows the user to receive messages broadcast on a specific frequency. It is a one way communication system

They have a limited range and are used in on-site situation, e.g. by medical workers within a hospital.

In 1921, the first pager-like system was used by Detroit Police Department. In 1959, Motorola radio communications was referred to as a pager. Pager use intensified as from 1974.

Pagers could only be used for one way communication, its reach is limited for a given radius, and its use has been replaced by cell phones.

Before sending a message, one needs to consider

  1. The available means of communication
  2. The urgency of the message
  3. The cost of sending a message
  4. The fastest way of sending message

The Impact of telecommunication of today

  1. Communication has been revolutionized. It has become faster and easier to communicate the world has become a global village.
  2. Telecommunication services e.g. the radio, television, cinema and computers provided mass entertainment. This has contributed to development of popular arts.
  3. Telecommunication has enhanced information management. Computers are used for processing and storing information.
  4. It has facilitated trade through advertisement of goods and services.
  5. Telecommunication systems such as the Tv transmit live pictures hence bringing reality to the viewers.
  6. They have enhanced cultural exchange and understanding. Tv stations show programmes from other countries
  7. They have promoted water and air transport. Ships and air planes use telecommunication devises to send signals and to guide the captains.
  8. Telecommunication systems have largely made the world trade and business more effective and efficient.
  9. Telecommunication has enabled organizations, government institutions and individuals to access information easily. Effective communication between the governors and the governed promotes understanding.
  10. They have been used to improve on security systems by different countries by using the radio and radio calls.
  11. Modern warfare has been revolutionized. Soldiers are able to communicate easily with one another. Satellites are also used to guide missiles.
  12. Accessibility to remote areas has been made possible due to telecommunications
  13. Telecommunication systems have promoted space exploration. Satellite communication has enabled humankind to send spacecraft to the moon and other planets e.g. mars
  14. Employment opportunities have been created.
  15. They have contributed to economic development through revenue collection e.g. taxes collected from licenses, equipment etc.
  16. Education – Education by radio and television to the public and schools are widely used in many countries
  17. It has facilitated the study of weather.
  18. The use of the radio and Tv to inform people about government policies promotes national unity and helps in government administration.

Negative impact of communication

  1. It has promoted international crimes e.g. drug trafficking, fraud, terrorism etc
  2. Some forms of telecommunication have promoted immorality e.g. pornographic materials which are spread through the internet
  3. Radio, television, computers and the internet have an addictive effect on the users.
  4. Radio and television volume if not controlled can lead to noise pollution
  5. Prolonged use of mobile phones is suspected to lead to certain types of cancer.
  6. Cultural imperialism whereby western culture has been imposed on many people through films and television


The print media refers to all that is written or printed down and published. It includes newspapers, books, posters, magazines, journals and periodicals.


A newspaper is a common printed media. It is an unbound publication produced at regular intervals. It is produced at regular intervals and contains mainly current events and advertisements.

Most newspapers are printed on rough grain light weight paper called newsprint.

The oldest newspaper invented was the Siloam Inscription of Mesopotamia at around 700BC. This was a stone tablet on which news were recorded. The Chinese had a newspaper called “Tsing Pao” which was published as account journal in Peking in 500 A.D.

The Romans send posted notices at the empire. From the 60 BC Julius Caesar send government announcement through daily postings at public places. They were called Acta Diurna.

During the 15th century (1440AD), the printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg (a German). This enabled the Germans to lead in the production of newspapers. The first publication was the Strasbourg Relations in 1609. Newspapers then spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

In Africa the first newspaper was the “Le Courier de L’Egypte” issued by Napoleon forces in 1798.

The earliest newspaper to be published on the mainland of East Africa was the Taveta Chronicle from 1895. It was published by the CMS.

The first English language newspaper in Kenya was the African Standard founded by an Indian Alibhai Mullas Jevanjee in Mombasa in 1902.

It started publication in Nairobi in 1910 and changed to East African Standard.

In 1928 Jomo Kenyatta published a local newspaper in kikuyu language. The paper Muigwithamia (Reconciler) aimed at spreading the views of the Kikuyu central organization (KCA) and encouraged the preservation of agikuyu culture.

The Daily Nation was established by the Aga Khan in 1960. Other papers in Kenya include the People, Kenya times, Metro, Taifa Leo, etc.

The gutter press has also grown rapidly includes the Citizen, Patriot, Independent etc.

Types of Newspapers

Newspapers are printed daily, weekly and monthly. They may therefore be categorized as daily, weekly and Special Interest newspapers.

Special Interest newspapers concentrate on news of interest to a particular group such as doctors, pilots, fashion industry etc. They may be published daily, weekly, monthly or less frequently.

Periodicals are publications released at regular intervals and contain feature articles, poems, fictional stories etc. Today, some periodicals are posted on the internet.

Magazines are periodical publications with specialized information on particular issues. In 1665, Eileen’s Oxford Gazette was published. In 1704, the Review was published in London by Daniel Defoe. The oldest magazine in Kenya is the Kenya Official Gazette (1901-1963)

Magazines are categorized as General interest and Specific interest magazines.

Journals are periodicals with narrower target audience such as scholarly publications. They specialize in particular professions. Example “The East African Medical


Industry is defined as the skill of making other products from raw materials. It is an economic activity concerned with the extraction and processing into finished products of raw materials.

Industrialization is the process by which the making of items has become widespread.

Industrial processes have social, political and economic effect on humankind. It has contributed greatly to the wealth of nations. Development of industries depended on availability of energy.

Early sources of Energy

Energy is the force that produces motion and does work.


It was the most common source of energy that man has relied on for fuel from ancient period to date. It became a source of energy after the discovery of fire.

Uses of wood

  • Making fire to heat and warm people during cold seasons
  • It is used to make food
  • It was used to protect humankind from wild animals by lighting bonfires at night.
  • It facilitated hunting by frightening animals into pit traps
  • Fire from wood provide light at night
  • Better tools were made by firing pottery and smelting iron using wood fuel
  • Charcoal made from wood fuel that provided heat used for steaming water to provide steam power for steam engines during the industrial revolution

Wood energy is still used today for it is cheaper and also renewable. Continuous planting of trees guarantees its supply. However, wood does not produce a lot of energy and can lead to deforestation.


It’s a cheap source of power for its readily and freely available.

Since it relies on nature it is irregular and unreliable hence making it unsuitable for use in production of electricity for industrial use.

In addition, it keeps on fluctuating making it unreliable.

In China, it was used to drive sailing ships during the trade between the East African coast and the Far East.

In China, wind mills were used to grind grain and process foods. They were used to pump water from the polders of Netherlands.

In Kenya windmills are used for pumping water in many parts of Kenya such as Isiolo, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.

They are used in areas with few trees where there is no windbreak.


Water has been used as a source of energy for a long time. Water from waterfalls, lakes and Seas has been harnessed to produce hydro-electric power.

Today it is used to turn turbines to produce HEP.

Water is cheap, easy to tap, clean and readily available. However, it is not a reliable source of energy since it is usually affected by drought that causes low water levels in reservoirs. This affects power production.

Uses of Metals in Africa

The period when humankind used metals to make items in Africa is known as the age of metals. The age is divided into

The Bronze Age

The Iron Age

However the metals used were iron, bronze, gold tin, copper and silver.

Man moved from the stone-age period to the metal age because metals had the following advantages

  1. They are durable as they did not break easily like stone tools.
  2. The cutting edges could be sharpened. Stone tools went blunt easily.
  3. Malleable molten metals could be reworked to produce metals of varying shapes with different designs and patterns as new commodities.
  4. They are not prone to waste e.g. a broken spear could be smelted and reworked into an arrow

The age of metals began on the eastern end of the Mediterranean basin before spreading to Europe and Africa.


Gold was the first metal to be used by man. It was found in river beds and earth’s surface. It is malleable i.e. could easily be moulded into the desired shape without smelting.

It was used in Meroe, Egypt, Wangara in Ghana, Mali and in Central Africa (Mwene Mutapa and Katanga kingdoms)


Tools made from Gold could break easily since Gold is soft.

It was heavy

It could not be found everywhere on the earth’s surface.

Uses of Gold

  1. Making of ornaments and decoration. In Egypt it was used in making jewellery such as rings, bangles and bracelets.
  2. It was used to make utensils such as plates, vases and drinking vessels.
  3. It was used to make swords, and flint knifes handles which were common among the rich in Egypt.
  4. It was used to make coins e.g. in Egypt
  5. It was used as a trade item in Central and West Africa e.g. in Zimbabwe
  6. Used to make weapons such as swords and knife blades
  7. It was a measure of wealth in Egypt since it is precious.
  8. Making of ritual tools: – Statues of gods, alters and Golden stool by Asante.

It was too soft therefore people had to find another metal that was stronger. This led to the invention of copper to replace gold.


It was first used by the Egyptians around 3000BC. Copper was melted and further hardened by mixing it with zinc to form brass and with tin to form bronze.

Uses of Copper

  • Making utensils and containers such as pots and pans
  • Made axes, tools, chisels, pans and fish hooks in Egypt, and also making of daggers
  • Making ornamental bangles, rings, helmets, needles, wire chains and statutes
  • The Pharaohs artworks were made of copper
  • Used as a medium of exchange in form of copper bars
  • Was a trade commodity in West Sudan and Benin
  • Made alloys and tough mixtures such as bronze and brass.


It is a mixture of an alloy of copper and tin. The mixing made it harder than copper.

The period when bronze was used to make tools and weapons is known as the Bronze Age.

In Africa, it was widely used in Nigeria among the Yoruba, Dahomey and the Asante in Benin.

Benin became a centre for bronze.

Uses of Bronze in Benin

  1. Used for making weapons such as shields, arrowheads, swords and daggers. Swords from bronze were stronger than those made from copper.
  2. Making sculptures and decorations. In Benin it was used to make objects used in religious ceremonies, masks and the decoration of the king’s palace. It was used for plaque for kings and figurines.
  3. It was used in making of containers, knives, pans and vases
  4. It was a store of wealthe. in Benin kings measured their wealth in terms of bronze
  5. It was an item of trade in Benin.

Uses of Bronze in early Egypt

  1. It was used to cast statues of the Pharaohs
  2. To make special tools for cutting and shaping huge stones for making pyramids
  3. To make tools such as hoes, chisels, blades and adzes
  4. For making of weapons such as swords, daggers, axes, spears etc
  5. Making of items of decoration.


  1. Tools lost their sharp edge and quickly became blunt because it was relatively soft. They therefore required constant sharpening
  2. It was expensive e.g. a mixture of copper and tin had to be acquired through trade
  3. It was hard to get an equal amount of the same metal. This led to the need for iron.


There are two theories that explain the origin and spread of iron working.

  1. It was first introduced in North Africa from the Middle East by the Phoenicians and Assyrians and eventually reached the rest of Africa.
  2. The art developed independently in Africa. This is evidenced by the archeological works in Buhaya, NW of Tanzania.

The Hittite who lived in the present day Turkey were the first people to smelt and use iron around 1500 B.C.

The Assyrians learnt the skill from the Hittites. The skill then spread to the West Asia, Mediterranean region and Europe.

By 5th Century A.D the Use of iron was common in Meroe from there it spread in the Sudan

It was also based at Carthage and Tunisia from where it spread to West Africa at Taruga in Nigeria’s Jos plateau and in the Lake Chad region.

Factors that led to the spread of Iron working skills

  1. Trade between West Africa and Mesopotamia
  2. The Bantu in the Congo basin and the Southern Cushites spread iron smelting skills to West Africa, Central and South Africa.
  3. It was spread by travelers and messengers through the art of giving or receiving gifts of iron which they took to their homes. Intermarriages also helped in spread.
  4. It was spread through warfare as the Hittites involved Egypt
  5. Development of agriculture influenced its spread due to the demand for better iron tools to till the land.

Uses of Iron

  1. It was used as a medium of exchange i.e. iron bars were used as currency
  2. To make agricultural tools such as hoes and pangas which increased food production
  3. Made weapons such as spears and arrows which strengthened the political might of some kingdoms
  4. Was used as a trade commodity i.e. those who didn’t have it acquired it through trade
  5. It was used as a store of value or wealth.

Effects of iron working

The discovery of iron affected communities in the following ways

  1. Use of farm tools such as hoes, axes improved agriculture. Large forests were cleared and more land brought under cultivation. The result was increased food production
  2. More food led to population increase which further led to migration
  3. It led to specializatione. division of labour among the people. There were those who took part in weaving, pottery cloth making and smelting
  4. It increased warfare due to availability of weapons such as spears, and arrows. It led to the rise of powerful states such as ancient empire of Ghana and the Rozwi in Central Africa, Nubia, Kush and Buganda.
  5. Led to migration since communities were better armed and could easily protect themselves from their enemies.
  6. Trade developed between communities as demand for iron ore and tools increased.
  7. It led to the rise of Urban centresg. Meroe in Sudan, Cairo, Tunis and Axum.
  8. Widespread use of iron led to the decline of the use of other metals such as copper and bronze.
  9. The possession of iron weapons made it possible for communities to improve their system of defense.


Development of more efficient sources of energy and durable metals provided a background to the industrial revolution.

The growth of industries was gradual and was marked with significant changes. In Europe, the period between 1750 and 1850 A.D is referred to as the industrial revolution.

It was marked with rapid changes in the production of goods on a large scale.

In Europe the revolution was marked by two phases the first phase was from 1750-1850 The second phase from 1850 to the present.

It began in Britain and later spread to other European countries e.g. the countries got industrialized as follows France 1825, Germany 1840, Belgium 1870, USA between 1861-1865, Japan just before 1900.

Characteristics of the industrial Revolution in Europe

  1. Use of machines to replace human and animal labour
  2. Use of steam power as a source of energy to replace water, wind and animal power.
  3. Increased exploitation and use of coal, iron and steel.
  4. Rise of factory system in towns instead of cottage industries in homes.
  5. Development of better forms of transport including use of railways and water
  6. Improvement in standards of living in the human population
  7. Production of goods on a large scale
  8. Development of science and the application of scientific knowledge in production
  9. Development of trade as manufactured goods were sold locally
  10. Rise in modern capitalism that provide enough wealth
  11. Growth of trade union movements to cater for the rights of industrial workers.

Uses of various sources of energy

During the revolution, various sources of energy were used. This included coal, oil, steam and electricity. Later new sources such as electric, solar energy were also used.


Was an important source of power in Britain and Germany. It was a source of fuel, coke, coal gas and coal tar. It was used to smelt iron.

Abraham Darby in 1709 discovered that coal produces intense heat when turned into coke.


  • To heat water to high temperatures so as to produce steam
  • To provide lighting
  • Drive steam engines in factories e.g. some steam engine generators depended on coal.
  • To drive locomotives
  • It was used as a raw material in the manufacture of dye and pharmaceutical products.

Disadvantages of coal

  • It is bulky and transporting it is difficult
  • It produces too much smoke when used in locomotives which causes air pollution
  • It is expensive to mine and transport to the required destination
  • Mining it also causes accidents by burying miners alive


The term petroleum is derived from a Greek and Latin words Petra – rock or stone and oleum – oil. It therefore means rock oil.

In its crude form, it is dark coloured, thick flammable oil found in sedimentary rocks. It is formed from fossil remains of tiny animals and plants. It was discovered to be a fuel by Bissel in America.

In the 19th century better methods of refining petroleum were discovered. They separated crude oil to produce petrol, paraffin, diesel oil, and lubricating oil, aviation fuel, cooking gas, grease and tar.

Uses of oil

  1. To power vehicles, aeroplanes and machinery
  2. Generate electricity used in lighting and cooking
  3. Run engines in industries
  4. Tar (bitumen) is used to tarmac roads
  5. Greasing of metals in Industries was done by petroleum by-products
  6. Certain petroleum products are used in making of drugs, fertilizers and synthetic fibre.

Countries with oil wells have made greater progress in industrial development. This is because oil is cheap and easy to transport compared to coal. It’s transported through pipelines.

Disadvantages of oil

  1. It is expensive to transport
  2. Mining it is expensive too
  3. It can cause environmental pollution e.g. in Nigeria the oil spills have affected agricultural land. Sometimes outbreaks of oil fire destroys crops.


When boiling water turns to gas, it is referred to as steam. Steam power was first used in steam powered engines in 100 A.D

Thomas Savery from Britain built a steam engine which could pump water out of the coal mines in the 16th century. It was improved upon by Thomas Newcomen in 1712. James Watt improved on it making it smaller and more efficient in 1764.

In 1801, Richard Trevithick installed Watt’s engine in a road vehicle.

Uses of Steam

  1. Used to drive heavy machinery in factories and to turn turbines which generated power for industrial use.
  2. For pumping water out of coal mines
  3. Used in steam powered locomotives and ships
  4. Opening massive temple doors in Egypt.
  5. Steam provided heat for homes and large building during old seasons.

Disadvantages of steam

  1. Steam production relied on coal hence it was expensive
  2. Since it was used in heavy machinery, it was inaccessible for domestic use
  3. Steam engines were heavy and hard to operate.


It was discovered by an English scientist called Michael Faraday (1791-1861) when he invented the electric dynamo. He is referred to as the father of Electricity.

It is through this power that H.E.P was generated.

Electricity is also generated from geothermal, solar and nuclear sources. Use of electricity is controlled by use of switches.

Uses of Electricity

  1. Lighting factories and homes
  2. Heating e.g. iron furnaces and cooking
  3. Powering machines in factories
  4. Communication, electric signals are used in many communication gadgets
  5. Powering transport vehicles such as electric train and electric cars.

Advantages of electricity

  1. It is cheap to produce
  2. It does not pollute the environment
  3. It can be produced in one area and used in an area far away
  4. Factories and homes can get electricity from one source.
  5. It is easily controlled from one switch where it is turned on and off.

Disadvantages of electricity

  1. Can be dangerous if not properly installed or used. Many have lost their lives through electrocution.
  2. Generation, distribution of electricity is very expensive. This limits its use.
  3. It relies heavily on natural water supply which is affected by climatic changes
  4. Hydroelectric power plants disrupt the ecosystem.

Advantages of electricity during industrial revolution

  1. Goods were manufactured faster because electricity helped to power machines
  2. There was increases iron and steel production as a result of smelting
  3. Transport and communication improved. Trains moved goods faster
  4. Communication improved as electric signals were used
  5. It improved lighting of industries even at night.

Other sources of Energy

They include Biogas, Atomic and solar energy.

Atomic Energy

Its development is attributed to the work of a French physicist called Antoine Henri Beckquerel who in 1896 discovered that Uranium produces radiation or energy in waves. This is known as radioactivity, a term coined by a French couple Marie and Pierre Curie who further discovered that two more chemical elements Uranium and polonium also produced radiation.

Nuclear energy is produced when atoms of radioactive elements like uranium are split (atomic fission, discovered by Hahn and Stressman in 1938)

The first nuclear reactor was built in America in 1942 by Erico-Fermi.

Further research has led to the manufacture of atomic bombs which used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Many European countries including Britain, the USA and the former Soviet Union have spent a lot of money in manufacturing of atomic weapons.

Today atomic power is used in some developing countries to generate electricity e.g. in Belgium and France.

The Russians and Americans have atomic powered submarines.

Other countries have atomic powered locomotives and aeroplanes. It’s also used to produce radioactive elements for medical use.


  1. It is fatal on human beings when used in war.
  2. Radioactivity endangers animal and plant life and crops. Where there has been radioactive accidents, it has caused fever, diarrhea and death e.g. of radioactive accidents of the Three Mile Island in the U.S.A in 1985 and at Chernobyl near Kiev in the Ukraine, in 1986.

Solar Energy

It is obtained directly from the sun. Energy produced by the sun is used to dry firewood, clothes and cook food among other things.

In 1714, Antoine Lavoiser made a solar furnace which could melt metals.

In 1880s, a solar engine was used to run a printing press.

The first solar cell which turned sunlight into electricity was made in 1954.

Solar water heaters are used in Japan, Israel, U.S.A and many tropical countries.

Uses of Solar energy

  1. Drying agricultural products
  2. Distilling of salty water to get salt crystals
  3. Heating water in homes and industry
  4. Heating and lighting houses
  5. Cooking using solar cookers
  6. Irrigating using solar water pumps
  7. Powering satellites in space.

Advantages of solar energy

  1. Its clean and is available in places where sunlight is readily available
  2. It is free – natural
  3. It is non-pollutant and inexhaustible source of energy

Uses of Iron and Steel

Metals such as iron, steel were used to make machines, engines and railway locomotives. During the industrial revolution, there was an increase in the production of machinery. This depended on the availability of iron

The uses of iron included

  • Production of machines for the textile industry water pipes and ploughs were made out of iron
  • Production of steam engines
  • Building of trains, railway lines, ships, wheels, bridges and coach frames

The use of iron was restricted since it was too heavy, not very strong and could easily rust.

In 1856 an Englishman named Henry Bessemer produced steel out of iron and carbon.

Steel, an alloy of iron and Carbon is lighter, flexible and harder than iron.

From mid 19th century steel replaced iron as the preferred metal.

Uses of Steel

  1. Construction of railway lines, bridges, cars and ships.
  2. Manufacturing of machinery especially in the agricultural and industrial sector.
  3. Reinforcing concrete in buildings and roofing houses.
  4. Making food containers and utensils.


Britain was the first European nation to industrialise in the 18th and 19th century. She had a wide range of goods which were manufactured in large quantities from located factories in various towns.

However the industrialization of Britain was facilitated by the following factors

  1. She had accumulated a lot of wealth from her trade with other countries and her colonies in Africa and America. She used this capital to invest in industry.
  2. She enjoyed a period of political unity, peace and stability that favoured industrial activities.
  3. Britain had a stronger military. Her navy was able to protect her merchants from foreign competition in the waters.
  4. She had raw materials such as cotton, cocoa, sugar, copra and palm oil from her colonies in America, Indies and Africa following agrarian revolution.
  5. Mineral resources such as coal which provided energy required and iron used in the manufacture of machinery existed.
  6. Existence of a good banking and insurance system which boosted her industrial growth. Banks e.g. Bank of England were already giving credit facilities.
  7. She had enough skilled human labour for her industries following displacement of people from rural areas during agrarian revolution.
  8. Her high population provided a domestic market for the manufactured goods.
  9. She had a free trade policy which promoted industrialization. There were no internal barriers which would have negatively industrialization.
  10. Good communication network encouraged industrialization by improving transportation of raw materials to the factories and manufactured goods to the market.
  11. Production of goods by the cottage industries helped industries to produce goods in large quantities.
  12. Acquisition of new skills in science and technology e.g. invention of the steam engine and electricity stimulated industrial growth.
  13. Industrialisation in Britain enjoyed government support and goodwill. Government policies ensured all industrial objectives were achieved.


France, Germany, Russia and Belgium developed their industries after Britain. This delay was caused by political upheavals in Germany, France and Italy.

They had a feudal economy when land was farmed by the loyal subjects of the land owner. The Peasant farmers could not afford to buy industrial goods or even raise funds to invest in industry.

They had inadequate raw materials and poor transport system. These countries did not have an enterprising class of people and scientists.

The other countries joined in the quest for industrialization in the 19th century. France e.g.

  1. Had iron ore
  2. Napoleons government encouraged industries and constructed railways
  3. Government introduced tariffs to protect her markets from other European countries.

Factors that led to Industrialisation in continental Europe

  1. Political stability after feudalism was abolished. Germany and Italy were united and Napoleon rule came to an end in France.
  2. European countries had raw materials after going through the Agrarian revolution. Iron ore and coal were already available. Need for raw materials led to colonization of Africa.
  3. High population in these countries provided both skilled and unskilled labour required by industries.
  4. There was adequate capital to enable the industries expand. Britain gave loans or credit facilities to the industrialists. Note that desire by European industrialists to invest their surplus capital led to colonization of Africa.
  5. Existence of banking and insurance services boosted the growth of industries
  6. Improved means of transport and communication, which transported workers, raw materials and manufactured goods. This also made them expand to Africa.
  7. Presence of a domestic and an external market for manufactured goods. Need for market for manufactured goods made them look for colonies hence colonization.
  8. European governments supported economic ventures such as industry that were aimed at enhancing economic growth e.g. French and Germany governments built railway networks and reduced taxation to encourage industrialization.
  9. New skills in science and technology i.e. many European countries sent their people to Britain to acquire new ideas in science and technology which they used to improve their industries.
  10. Availability of various sources of energy such as coal, steam power and electricity.

Effects of the industrial Revolution on European Societies

Economic effects

  1. Development of machinery which replaced human labour therefore increased agricultural production.
  2. New methods of farming and new crop breeds were developed
  3. Development of local and international trade. Manufactured goods were sold locally while others exported to America, Asia and Africa. Africa served as a source of raw materials.
  4. It led to improvement of means of transport and communication which facilitated the movement of labour, raw materials and manufactured goods
  5. Industrial revolution led to urbanization as a result of rural-urban migration
  6. Many European countries became wealthy e.g. Britain
  7. It led to diversification of European economies. This led to job specialization. Some people became traders, others bankers, mechanics and agriculturalists.
  8. It led to increased exploitation of natural resources such as iron, coal and steel. This motivated the use of new sources of energy such as solar energy and electricity.
  9. Use of scientific methods in farming and production of farm tools which increased production
  10. Governments set up legislation that introduced social reforms such as education, pension and insurance. Workers too formed trade unions and co-operative societies.
  11. It led to rural-urban migration as job opportunities were created with mechanization. Unemployment became a serious problem.
  12. It promoted the development of science and technology i.e. invention of electricity.

Social Effects

  1. It led to rural-urban migration which led to overcrowding in towns and creation of slums
  2. There was the problem of poor sanitation which led to outbreak of diseases such as Typhoid and T.B
  3. Increased pollution due to the emission of poisonous gases by the factories and industries
  4. Unemployment increased leading to poor living conditions. Vices such as begging, prostitution, drug and alcohol peddling became alternative means of earning a living.
  5. There was an increase in demand for services provided by hotels, post offices, banks and insurance companies.
  6. It led to the vice of social classes in Europe. The rich grew richer while the poor became poorer. Peasants were usually exploited in farms and factories.
  7. It led to gender inequality, i.e. women and children who worked in factories were exploited in that they worked for long hours with little pay.

Political Effects

  1. It facilitated the scramble and partition of Africa. The colonies produced raw material for industries in Europe and also acted as markets for goods processed in Europe.
  2. It gave rise to Marxism i.e. communal ownership of property(socialism) as opposed to capitalism (industrial ownership of property)


The period during which man developed interest in knowledge is referred to as rebirth or the renaissance.

During this time, scholars gained new knowledge which led to many scientific inventions and discoveries in fields such as energy, medicine, agriculture etc.

Science is the systematic study of the nature and behavior of the material and physical universe based on observation, experiment and measurement.

Scientific inventions

This is linked to ancient civilization in Egypt, Sumeria, Greece, China and India.

Egypt and Sumeria (Mesopotamia) made early inventions in fields of astronomy, architecture, medicine and math.

Egyptians used their knowledge in math to build pyramids for their pharaohs. They discovered Geometry which they used on their farms. They had knowledge in medicine which enabled them preserve bodies or keep them as mummies for a long time.

Greeks too contributed to science e.g. Pythagoras contributed to math especially the right angled triangle. A Greek mathematician Euclid is known for his works in Geometry.

Archimedes discovered how the lever works. He also studied floating bodies. Ptolemy too is remembered for his work in Geography including the production of an Atlas.

The Chinese made inventions in Mathematics and astronomy. They made clothe from silk and also developed the acupuncture skills.

In the Middle East, the Arabs made significant contribution to medicine and math. They studied the writings of Ptolemy and accepted the idea of zero from the Indians which simplified multiplication.

The Muslims wrote medical books and also constructed unique mosques.

Scientific knowledge spread from one country to another as people exchanged ideas.

In Western Europe science developed during the renaissance (rebirth of learning) through the industrial revolution.


Inventions in astronomy, physics, transport and communication

(Video) Business Studies FORM 3

  1. Nicholas Copernicus 1473-1543 discovered revolution of planets around the sun.
  2. Galileo Galilei an Italian 1546-1642 built the first telescope for universe observation.
  3. Sir Isaac Newton 1642-1727 discovered the laws of motion and gravity
  4. Antoine Lavoisier 1743-1794 composition of air – made of Hydrogen and oxygen
  5. John Dalton 1766-1844 a British teacher came up with atomic theory
  6. Benjamin Franklin of USA 1706-1790 theory of electricity. Made lightning conductor.
  7. Michael Faraday 1791-1867 invented electricity, dynamo, magnetism and electricity
  8. James Maxwell 1831-1879 electromagnetic radiation waves and the radio.
  9. Thomas Edison 1879 invented the electric lamp.
  10. Heinrich Hertz 1857-1894 influenced development of radio, Tv and other communication
  11. Charles Darwin 1809-1882 developed the theory of evolution
  12. Charles Lyall, a Briton earth surface has changed gradually over millions of years
  13. Alexander Graham Bell 1877 invented the telephone
  14. George Stephenson 1781-1848 invented the railway locomotive
  15. Gottlieb Daimler 1887 invented the first petrol vehicle
  16. The Wright Brothers 1903 invented the aeroplane

Inventions in Agriculture

  1. Lord Townshend 1674-1738 recommended the use of manure to improve fertility.
  2. Sir John Bennet Laws 1843 set up super phosphate factory in London.
  3. Justus Von Lie Big 1803-1873 invented the modern fertilizer industry
  4. Robert Bakewell 1725-1795 cross-breeding for quality sheep.
  5. Jethro Tull 1701 invented the seed drill
  6. Cyrus McComic 1837 invented the reaper
  7. Andrew Meikles 1786 made the mechanical thresher
  8. Nicholas Appert, a French confectioner in 1810 developed a canning process.
  9. Carolus Linnaeus, a Swede discovered method of plant and animal classification.

Inventions in Industry

  1. James Joule of England 1852 proved that heat is a form of energy
  2. James Watt 1769 improved steam engine. Used it in textile industry
  3. John Kay 1733 invented flying shuttle
  4. James Hargreaves 1764 invented spinning jenny
  5. Richard Arkwright 1769 invented water frame
  6. Samuel Crompton 1779 invented spinning mule
  7. Thomas Bell 1785 invented cylindrical calico printing machine
  8. Edmund Cartwright 1789 invented steam power loom
  9. Eli Whitney 1793 invented the cotton Gin
  10. Michael Faraday 1831 invented electric dynamo
  11. Otto Hahn and Stressman 1831 discovered nuclear energy

Inventions in Medicine

  1. Adreas Vesalius from Italy 1514-1564 pioneered dissection of human corpses
  2. William Harvey 1578-1657 discovered blood circulation and physiology.
  3. Edward Jenner 1749-1823 discovered vaccine for small pox
  4. William Morton 1819-1868 discovered ether as pain reliever and anesthesia.
  5. James Simpson, a Scottish discovered use of chloroform in surgery and childbirth.
  6. Louis Pasteur, a Frenchman 1822-1895 discovered some diseases are caused by bacteria. Heat can kill bacteria. He came up with pasteurization process.
  7. Joseph Lister a Scottish surgeon 1827-1912 use of antiseptic sprays to sterilize the air in operation theatres. He also discovered the use of carbonic acid to clean wounds.
  8. Robert Koch 1843-1910 isolated bacteria that cause anthrax, TB and Cholera.
  9. Sir Ronald Ross 1857-1932 discovered that female anopheles mosquito carried malaria parasites
  10. Wilhelm Rontgen 1894-1923 discovered X-rays as electromagnetic radiations.
  11. Hideyo Neguchi 1876-1928 developed vaccine against yellow fever.
  12. Landsteiner 1900 devised blood grouping technique promoting blood transfusion.
  13. Alexander Flemming 1954 discovered penicillin in 1928 to cure bacterial diseases.
  14. Jonas Edward Salk 1967 discovered polio vaccine.
  15. Dr Christian Bernard from S. Africa discovered how to perform heart transplant.
  16. Other discoveries include heart valve replacement in 1961, soft contact lenses in 1965, test tube baby in 1978 and kidney dialysis machine in 1943.

Medical scientists are working round the clock to get a cure for Malaria and H.I.V/Aids which is threatening to wipe out human population. A lot of money is spent on sensitizing people on the spread and effects of Aids. So far, ARVs are used to check HIV spread in a patient’s body.

Factors that facilitated the scientific revolution

  1. The period of renaissance (rebirth) encouraged further learning, i.e. people developed interest in research.
  2. Governments and individuals in Europe supported scientific research e.g. gave funds.
  3. People were faced with many problems and had to find solution e.g. better methods of farming to curb food shortages. The sick had to be cured, i.e. necessity is the mother of invention.
  4. Failure of religion to provide answers to questions. They saw science as the way forward.
  5. Discovery of the printing press, books, magazines, journals led to the dissemination of knowledge and skills therefore scientific ideas spread from one continent to another
  6. Overseas exploration and discovery of new lands stimulated learning.

Impact of Scientific Inventions

Impact of Agriculture

  1. Increased food production. Today there are farm machinery, fertilizers, pests and diseases control methods and scientific breading which have improved production of hybrid seeds and cross breeding of animals
  2. It has stepped up agricultural research in schools, colleges and institutional e.g. K.A.R.I.
  3. Food preservation through canning and refrigeration has promoted farming.
  4. Increased food production has led to increase in population
  5. Food security has led to research into better storage facilities and has increased trade
  6. Agriculture has been diversified leading to new scientific methods of farming
  7. Farming has changed from small scale to large scale farming due to mechanization.

Negative Impact of scientific inventions on agriculture

  1. Production of chemically treated and stored food has led to food related diseases e.g. cancer, heart diseases due to high cholesterol levels
  2. Pesticides and fertilizers are harmful to both human beings and animals. Prolonged use has led to the rise of pest strains resistant to pesticides
  3. Prolonged use of fertilizers has impoverishes the soil fertility.
  4. The development of hybrids has led to the loss of traditional plant and animal species which are more resistant to disease.

Impact on Industry

  1. Scientific inventions have led to production of industrial goods on large scale
  2. Led to development of new forms of energy such as nuclear, solar and electricity.
  3. Improved living standards due to the processed products. Tvs, radios, satellites have made life easier.
  4. Large scale of manufacture of the industrial goods has led to growth of trade. Countries have become more wealthy and stronger.
  5. Led to development of satellites used in space exploration, photographing and weather research.
  6. Revolutionized military technology. It has led to manufacturing of dangerous weapons such as atomic bombs.
  7. Discovery of steam engine led to the development of factories and transport system such as the railway.
  8. Development of the printing press led to the dissemination and spread of ideas hence mass production of newspapers, magazines and books.
  9. Industries have created job opportunities including research and scientific innovations.

Negative impact

  1. Industrial waste and pollutants have led to environmental pollution i.e. air, noise, water pollution e.g. of polluted areas are Chernobyl in Ukraine and Bhopal in India.
  2. War weapons have led to unnecessary destruction of human life e.g. the terrorist attacks
  3. Machines have impaired human labour development. Many people have been rendered jobless.

Impact of scientific innovations on medicine

  1. Medical research has led to discovery of both preventive and curative medicine.
  2. Has raised the living expectancy due to better hygiene, food preparation methods and good nutritional values.
  3. Population increase has led to decrease in mortality rate. This has been due to the development of vaccines and curative medicine. Diseases such as malaria, T.B and plaque have been brought under control.
  4. Production of advanced medical equipment e.g. x-rays, computer assisted surgery
  5. Manufacture of various drugs has been facilitated

Negative impact

  1. The safe ways of procuring abortion results in loss of the lives of unborn babies.
  2. There are drugs which have led to drug abuse leading to mental and behavioral disorders.
  3. Continuous use of medical drugs has led to dependence on the drugs which cause resistance and weakening of body mechanism
  4. Some medical drugs, surgical operations are expensive and unaffordable to many people
  5. Careless disposal of syringes and blood transfusion have led to the spread of dangerous disease such as Aids and Hepatitis.
  6. Use of modern contraceptives has encouraged immorality. It has led to illegal abortions and death.

Factors undermining scientific revolution in developing countries

  1. Lack of enough funds to invest in scientific research
  2. Existence of a theoretical syllabus where science is viewed as a difficult subject
  3. Dependency syndrome where the developing countries fully depend on developed countries for anything. This has affected their initiative and creativity
  4. Inadequate of support from the governments. No budgeting allocation on industry and scientific work. Attention is given to fighting poverty.
  5. High level of illiteracy
  6. Brain drain. Professionals often migrate to the developed world depriving their country of trained personnel.

Steps by the Kenyan government to promote scientific research

  1. Emphasizing on the teaching of sciences in schools
  2. Availing some resources for scientific research in relevant institutions
  3. Organising competitions/congresses by schools and colleges e.g. secondary schools have the annual science congress. Jua Kali is encouraged.
  4. Setting up of research institutions and centres of science and technology
  5. Training scientists locally and abroad on new knowledge in science and technology
  6. Holding international co-operation conferences in science together. This had led to exchange and transfer of information and ideas.



It is the third largest nation in the world after Canada and China. She got her independence from Britain in 1776. It is made up of the American Indians, Americans of European origin and the African Americans who went there during the Trans-Atlantic trade and the Americans of Asian origin.

She began her industrialization in the 19th century and by the middle of the 20th century. She had emerged as a major industrial power. Due to her economic and military strength she remains the only super power in the world.

Factors influencing her industrialization

  1. Raw materials were available e.g. iron ore, oil, copper and coal. She also had good agricultural soils that favoured the growth of corn, cotton, wheat and tobacco.
  2. She had both skilled and unskilled labour The skilled labour came from the European immigrants in the U.S.A
  3. They had a good transport and communication network e.g. railway lines e.g. the Great American Railway. They also developed water transport by use of canals and also electronic communication e.g. telephone, fax and internet.
  4. She also had scientific innovations. Their education system promoted research which further boosted industrialization. She also excelled in the fields of transport telecommunication, medicine and astronomy.
  5. They allowed foreign investors in industrial development especially from Britain.
  6. Existence of a ready market due to the large population. There was also the high demand for their products outside America
  7. She had enterprising citizens who were always ready to venture into business e.g. fellows like John Rockfeller in the petroleum sector, Andrew Carnegie and James Hill in Iron and Steel industry, and Henry Ford in mass production of cars.
  8. She enjoyed long period of political stability which assured investors of security.
  9. Availability of energy resourcesg. coal, petroleum, gas HEP and later atomic energy
  10. Her philosophy of capitalism encouraged both local and external investors for it allowed private ownership of property.
  11. Government support i.e. during the reigns of presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson they provided capital to develop transport system
  12. The 1st and 2nd World War i.e. during the wars the European industrialized nations were not able to produce industrial goods for they were busy fighting. This enabled USA to expand market for the manufactured goods.


Until 1871, Germany had many small states with weak economies. She got united after the completion of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.

Factors that led to her industrialization

  1. The establishment of the customs union (Zollvereign). This was a customs union which linked the Germany states together and removed all trade barriers leading to free trade. This also eased transportation of goods and communication.
  2. She had her own sources of energyg. coal from the Rhinelands. She also developed H.E.P and atomic energy too.
  3. She had her own many natural resources e.g. water and minerals such as coal, oil, copper and iron ore from France’s Alsace and Lorraine, which she defeated in the 1870-71 war.
  4. Availability of labour from the large population. They were willing to work. Their system of education also trained people in technical skills. Immigrants from Turkey also provided cheap labour.
  5. She had ready internal and external market for her industrial products. This was because she made goods of high quality e.g. some of the goods were BMW, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen vehicles.
  6. She had good transport and communication network. This included water, air, roads transport. She also had good means of communication e.g. telephones and fax that made transactions easier.
  7. The long period of political stability after her unification especially during the reign of Otto Von Bismark. This assured the investor of security, which boosted industrialization.
  8. Availability of finance for industrial growth. Germans got technical assistance from Britain after the 2nd World War. USA used the Marshall plan to rebuild West Germany by giving funds.
  9. Hardworking and enterprising nature of the Krupp Meyer Thyseen who promoted the development of industries in steel. Germans were also willing to invest in new areas.
  10. The development of international trade with other countries gave Germany access to raw materials and capital

Although Germany achieved a lot in the industrial field by the 20th century, her progress was undermined by the two world wars which led to a lot of economic destruction. This plunged her into economic depression.

Factors that enabled W. Germany to recover after the two wars

  1. She had a high population that produced enough labour. She got immigrants from Turkey and Italy who provided labour required in the industry.
  2. Through the Marshall plan, the USA pumped a lot of into West Germany which assisted her industries.
  3. Her industries were not totally destroyed by the two wars.
  4. Industrial unrest and strikes were not very common in Germany therefore industrialization was not interrupted.
  5. Good leadership between 1949 and 1955. She had an able chancellor Konrad Adenaeur who encouraged industrial growth. Today Germany is one of the countries with the best economy in the world.


This is one of the countries of the world that have achieved a great deal in industrialization until the middle of the 18th century. Agriculture was one of the backbone of her economy.

She also faced years of civil war and conflict. She later made contacts with the west through the Europeans who were moving towards the East.

Emperor Meiji who took over in 1896 wanted to make Japan a modern state through industrialization.

Factors that led to her industrialization

  1. She had enterprising citizens who are hardworking and determined. They are always focused and willing to undertake risks in business. Their efficiency is promoted by their natural motto ‘Just in time’ JIT.
  2. She had experienced a long period of political stability
  3. After the World War 2 in 1945, the Japanese surrendered to the Americans who occupied their land. They in turn invested a lot of money and provided a lot of knowhow that was required for industrialization
  4. They work for life i.e. on being employed they put interest in the employer first. This helps to reduce industrial disputes.
  5. They produce goods of high quality. Their vehicles have a wider market in Africa, USA, EW Europe, Japan itself and other areas of the world.
  6. Availability of highly developed renewable H.E.P and nuclear energy. She has many large and fast flowing rivers.
  7. She had both skilled and unskilled labour readily available. They have the technical education system
  8. She had a good system of transport and communication e.g. good railways, roads, airports, with electric trains and subways.
  9. She had an existing industrial base. Before the world wars, already she had industries which she repaired and they became her industrial base in the post war period.
  10. The government deployed foreign expatriates in their local industries e.g. in the 1870 a group of 100 Japanese were sent out of EW European factories to learn. This made them borrow new technology for their country.
  11. She had a small percentage of suitable agricultural land. Industrialization was the only alternative to improve her economy
  12. Her open investment policy which allowed and encouraged the West to invest in her industries. Today she is the leading ship builder in the world.

By the time of World War 2, Japan allied herself to Germany. She then attacked the American naval fleet. In retaliation the USA dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. This marked the end of the Second World War.

However USA decided to help Japan reconstruct the industries in a bid to shield her away from the Soviet Union. Today her industrialization has encouraged Asian countries such as Korea and Taiwan to industrialize.


The word third world countries refer to developing countries i.e. those that depend on foreign aid and grants for their development.

Many third world countries in Africa, Asia and South America have been significant progress towards industrial development. They have been supported by the United Nations industrial development organization, an agency of U.N.O

Factors hindering development in 3rd World Countries

  1. Long periods of colonization made them basically suppliers of raw materials and markets for industrial good from developed countries.
  2. Have poor means of transport and communication which undermines industrialization
  3. Lack of capital i.e. their poor economies cannot support meaningful industrialization
  4. Poor technology. Many are lagging behind due to lack of appropriate technology required in manufacturing of goods.
  5. Low literacy levels. Many people are not learned hence lack technical and scientific skills necessary for industrial take off.
  6. Stiff competition from industrialized nations due to their high quality and sophisticated marketing systems
  7. Developing countries have adopted protectionist policies which have discouraged private enterprises and foreign investment.
  8. Poverty which have led to a small domestic market. The local market for the industrial goods is limited.
  9. Political instability in third World countries. Many of them are involved either in civil or cross border conflicts which imparts negatively on their economies.
  10. Poor disaster management strategies. Devastation caused by natural calamities such as drought, floods affects industrialization process.
  11. Lack of skilled personnel. Many of the skilled people have migrated to the developed nations in search of better paying jobs.

Effects of industrialization in the third world countries

  1. Industrialization has enabled third world countries to produce their own goods
  2. It has created job opportunities in these countries hence high living standards
  3. Promoted external trade between them and other countries
  4. Facilitated acquisition of foreign exchange through the exportation of manufactured goods
  5. Facilitated diversification of the economy of the 3rd world countries
  6. It has promoted urbanization in these countries
  7. Led to degeneration or pollution of environment e.g. fumes from industries
  8. Led to development of transport and communication
  9. Increased agricultural production because farmers are assured of a ready market in the agro-based industries
  10. Has led to the provision of social amenities such as schools and hospitals.

Despite the many problems that face third world countries, the following have made significant progress towards industrialization.


It is the fourth largest nation in the world after Canada, China and USA.

She got her independence in 1882 from Portugal. It is the leading among the developing nations of the world. In the last 25 years, she has been able to diversify and expand the production of manufactured goods. She has established technology and sophisticated industries in the field of electronics, data processing and biotechnology.

There are four main sectors of the Brazillian industrialization.

  1. Petroleum and Petro chemical industries in Sao Paulo
  2. Motor vehicle industry
  3. Aircraft and Aerospace industry that constructs satellites and launches spacecrafts.
  4. Hydro electric power generation industry

Others include textile and leather, ship building, heavy machinery, boat making and forestry.

Factors influencing industrialization in Brazil

  1. Availability of both skilled and unskilled labour from the large population
  2. External market (Latin America and Caribbean) and internal markets provided by the large population
  3. Availability of enough natural resources e.g. Minerals such as coal, iron ore, uranium, manganese, gold and oil. Vast forest belts provide raw materials for lumber industry.
  4. Improved means of transport and communication e.g. railway lines has eased transportation of raw materials
  5. Development of the banking system in her major cities such as Manaus, Salvador, Brasilia and Sao Paulo which provide loans to industries.
  6. Influx of foreign capital from countries such as U.S.A, Canada, Britain, Portugal and France. The state provided capital for investment in transport and energy sector.
  7. Good economic policies adopted by Brazilian president Getulio Vargas who encouraged development of transport and communication.
  8. Availability of sources of energy including coal and petroleum deposits and H.E.P has boosted her industrialization.
  9. The 2nd World War made it difficult for her to import goods hence decided to manufacture her own goods.
  10. The five-year development plans of 1956-1960 emphasized increase in energy and starting of new industries.

Obstacles to her Industrialization

  1. High poverty levels i.e. 40% of Brazilian population is poor therefore has a low purchasing power
  2. Instability to fully exploit her natural resources especially in the South where the population is low and therefore need for labour for the exploitation of the resources.
  3. Stiff competition from the already industrialized nations such as U.S.A and West Europe.
  4. Her resources are monopolized by the multinational companies based there meaning that if they are locally available the government has no freedom to exploit them.
  5. High foreign debts. She uses much of her money to pay debts instead of investing.
  6. Poor technology. She cannot effectively exploit her resources for industrialization
  7. Poor transport. Roads in the rural areas are impassable during rainy season. Amazon forest and Grosso plains have no roads.
  8. Colonialism and neo-colonialism has led to over exploitation of her resources by foreigners.
  9. Most of the investors from Western countries take the profits back to their countries leaving the country still poor.


It is among the third world countries that have industrialized. She got her independence from the rule of the minority white in 1994.

Many of her industries did develop during the apartheid period. The post apartheid government of national unity was formed by Nelson Mandela in 1994 and was succeeded by Thambo Mbeki who has been ruling till Jacob Zuma took over in May 2009.

The main industries in South Africa include iron and steel industries, engineering, locomotive, chemical, textile, cement, light industries and tourism.

Factors influencing industrialization in South Africa

  1. Availability of natural resources. These include iron ore, lead, Zinc, bauxite, tin, Chromium, Manganese, gold, Mica, Diamond, Asbestos, Silver etc. The minerals are exported to other countries in large quantities.
  2. They produce goods of high quality which compete favourably therefore guarantees market in foreign nations.
  3. She has a high population that provides both skilled and unskilled labour. This provides internal market for the manufactured goods.
  4. She has developed her H.E.P. She also has coal from Witwatersrand which supplements H.E.P.
  5. She has a good transport network i.e. road, water and railway transport which have been greatly developed to transport raw materials and goods to their final destination
  6. She has developed her transport well and the international airports enhance business transactions.
  7. She has enough capital from trade in other materials and also from the minerals.
  8. Political stability after the apartheid has generally encouraged trade and investments.
  9. Abundant skilled manpower which has been favoured by the system of education that enhances production of the necessary technical skills required for industrial growth.
  10. Government support i.e. she has adopted good policies of promoting industrialization in the country by putting heavy tariffs on imported commodities. This encourages the local investors and promotes industrialization.
  11. She has a beautiful wildlife and landscape that attracts tourist to the country.
  12. Her rich agricultural resources provide raw materials for agro-based industries

Challenges facing industrialization in South Africa

  1. The discriminatory apartheid policy led to imposing of economic sanctions by the UNO between 1948and 1994 which affected her manufactured goods.
  2. Long period of apartheid whereby the struggle to abolish it was very violent and created an atmosphere not fit for investment.
  3. Competition from the more developed countries e.g. Japan, China, South Korea and India who produce goods of superior quality
  4. Rampant industrial strikes especially during the apartheid period
  5. High poverty levels has led to low purchasing power hence poor performance of the manufactured goods in the local market
  6. South Africa has a high level of insecurity which discourages would be foreign investors
  7. The H.I.V AIDS scourge has ravaged the countries labour force especially industrial labour which has seriously undermined industrial efforts in the country.


It is the 2nd most populace country in the world. She was colonized by Britain from 1750 to 1947 when she attained her independence.

Some of the industries found in India include iron and steel chemical industries, textile, leather making, ship construction, motor vehicle e.g. the TATA make of vehicles, aircraft and mining industries.

Factors that contributed to her industrial development

  1. Existence of a good industrial baseg. textile and cloth industries
  2. Existence of raw materialsg. vast mineral resources and deposits e.g. iron ore, coal, and manganese. The government also encourage the growth of cotton on a large scale
  3. Availability of energyg. H.E.P and nuclear energy that has recently been developed.
  4. The government developed good system of transport and communicationg. the great trunk road from Calcutta to Punjab. They also have developed railway and roads that link the main agricultural and trading centres and sea transport.
  5. Availability of funds. She had links with Portugal, Britain, France and Holland which enabled her to obtain funds for industrialization
  6. Government promoted good technical and scientific educatione. India has produced scientific experts in the field of agriculture and industry
  7. Existence of banks that gave loans to farmers which has helped in the expansion of agricultural industries.
  8. Good national development plans by the government e.g. the first five year development plan in 1951 which gave priority to the agricultural sector and put emphasis on modern farming methods
  9. Protective tariffs applied in India in order to protect local industries from unfair competition promoted growth of large and small scale industries in India.
  10. Political stability which she enjoyed since her independence gave investors the confidence to venture into industrial investment
  11. The existence of cottage industries in India before colonization. They formed the basis of modern industries as Indians already had skills in textiles and smithing.
  12. Her large population provided a domestic market for her industries.

Challenges facing industrialization in India

  1. Competition from goods manufactured in the developed countries i.e. they provided goods of high quality as compared to those manufactured by the Indian industries
  2. Due to her high population the government spends most of its budget in developing the agricultural sector in order to feed her people.
  3. High poverty levels hence the local market for Indian manufactured goods is very limited
  4. Lack of efficient communication and transportation infrastructure
  5. Natural calamities e.g. cyclones, drought and floods
  6. Political conflicts with neighbouring Pakistan and civil unrest have taken up the needed finances at the expense of industrial investment. These conflicts discourage external investors.

This is the process by which people are attracted to settlement of large human population. The U.N states that any centre with a human population of 20,000 or more should be regarded as an urban centre.

Factors that determined the location of urban centres

  1. Trade
  2. Better means of transport and communication
  3. Security/defense
  4. Administrative reasons
  5. Railway terminus
  6. Religious centres
  7. Existence of minerals

Early Urbanization in Africa


It is the capital city of present day Egypt. The word Cairo is derived from ‘Elqahira’ an Arab word meaning the victorious day.

It was founded in 969 A.D. when conquerors from Tunisia, ‘the Fatimid dynasty’ invaded and conquered Egypt.

Egypt acquired her independence in 1952 after the monarch was overthrown by Colonel Abdel Nasser in 1952.

Factors that led to the growth

  1. Her location on the River Nile, which gave her water not only for domestic use, but also as a means of communication, more so the Nile valley was fertile, had adequate rainfall therefore was good for agriculture
  2. Her location on the Nile attracted Caravans which would pass through Cairo from north, west and central Africa.
  3. She had a railway meeting point with lines moving out of Alexandria, Ismailia and Suez in the south.
  4. The opening of the Suez Canal opened a new trade route which led to the arrival of many Europeans. This led to the construction of commercial administrative and public buildings
  5. The opening of the Aswan High dam enhanced food production through irrigation. The food increase positively influenced her growth
  6. The industries built in Cairo e.g. food processing and construction attracted factory workers leading to her growth
  7. It was a cultural and religious centre which made it grow.
  8. It was a centre for education and medicine e.g. the university of Cairo, University of Azhar led to her growth


  1. It serves as a national capital and a political centre of the Arab world.
  2. It serves as a transport and communication centre for North Africa and the Middle East
  3. Cairo is a recreational centre i.e. it has many recreational facilities e.g. stadium and entertainment Halls.
  4. She has been a historical centre and a haven of Egyptian civilization e.g. It attracts 15 million tourists each year.
  5. Cairo serves as an industrial centre e.g. it has textile, vehicle and communication equipment and assembly plants.

Problems facing Cairo

  1. High population which was 11 million by 1988.
  2. Scarcity of food due to the high population
  3. Unemployment over the years the number of the people not employed has increased due to the high rate of migration
  4. It has a serious housing problem which has led to the shanties.
  5. Traffic jams due to congestion
  6. Pollution from the industries, motor vehicle exhausts burning garbage and desert storms
  7. High crime rates due to high level of unemployment.

Solutions to the problems

  1. As for food shortage, she is reclaiming land for agriculture. Water from the Aswan Dam is harnessed and used for irrigation
  2. Housing problem. The Egyptian government developed industries in the suburbs. This aimed at reducing congestion in the urban centres.
  3. Traffic jams. It has put up subway systems which serves the Ramses in the north and Helwan in the south. It conveys about 60,000 passengers per hour.


It is situated on the banks of river Nile, about 130 miles north of Khartoum.

It was founded by the Nubians. It became an important centre for Iron working.

Factors for growth

  1. It had abundant wood fuel. This area was fertile and wet most of the year. It was heavily forested and ideal for iron working.
  2. It was strategically located at the intersection of different transport and communication routes. This enabled her sell her products and acquire new items
  3. It was located in a region whose soils were rich in iron. Evidence shows that iron working began in the region as early as 500BC

Social effects of the growth

  1. Led to the development of Meroitic language which replaced the Egyptian language that was previously spoken by the Nubians founders of Meroe.
  2. Led to the growth of architectural developments characterized by tombs, ruins of temples, palaces and homes.
  3. Led to the growth of other industries such as weaving of cotton, cloth and pottery

Factors that contributed to her decline

  1. Rise of Axum kingdom in the modern Ethiopia which denied her access to the Red Sea.
  2. Increasing desertification of the region due to rapid deforestation


It developed along the East African coast by the 10th century A.D. It was uplifted by the Persians under the governance of the Shirazi from Banadir coast.

Ali Ibn al Hassan is credited for having transformed the town from a small trading post to a large city. He also conjured other city states and forced them to pay tribute to Kilwa. To protect it from external enemies, the sultan erected a stone citadel.

Ibn Al Hassan Ibn Sulaiman build the great mosque of Kilwa in 1270 A.D. There was a large and luxurious palace built during the reign of Ibn Sulaiman sultanate referred to by historians as Husuni Kubwa. Kilwa was only rivaled by Mogadishu in terms of power and prosperity.

Factors influencing the growth of Kilwa

  1. Exemplary leadership provided by the sultan i.e. they kept enemies off and forced her neighbors to pay tribute.
  2. Her strategic position enabled her to attract merchants who stopped to replenish their stock of water, food and other items
  3. She had taken the control of the gold trade
  4. She had gleaning buildings such as the Great mosque and palace which made it be referred to as the jewel of zenj.

Her position of power began to decline in the mid 14th century. This was due to the disruption of the gold trade because of civil war among the communities that were producing the gold.

Functions of Kilwa

  1. A major trading centre post at the coast
  2. It was a major defense centre due to the stone citadel
  3. It was a religious centre e.g. the great mosque was put up there
  4. It was an administrative centre with houses, palaces for the rulers and other rich people.

Factors that led to the decline of urban centres

  1. Exhaustion of the minerals led to the closing up of the centres e.g. Axum in North Africa declined with the exhaustion of iron ore.
  2. Decline of the trading activities led to the fall of some centres e.g. in West Africa some urban centers declined with the collapse of the Trans-Saharan trade
  3. Wars of conquest led to the decline of some urban centres e.g. Gedi which was burnt by Portuguese.
  4. Some declined when powerful empires that used them as administrative centres declined e.g. Gao in Songhai
  5. Change in trade routes had a significant impact e.g. Timbuktu and Sijilmasa declined as the Trans-Atlantic trade declined
  6. Constant water shortages caused outbreaks of epidemics leading to the decline of some towns e.g. Gedi

Early Urbanization in Europe


It flourished after the Persian wars of 490-480 B.C. The Athenians were thinkers and spent much of their time developing theories of the whos and whys of the world. The idea of democracy first developed in Athens. It was a beautiful city famous for the carvings, pottery and buildings such as one built between 460-430 B.C in honour of Athena the goddess of Athens.

The city was lined up with narrow streets and its houses were made up of unbaked bricks, mud, and some had thatched roofs.

The streets were muddy during the rainy season and dusty in the dry season. Sanitation was poor and the festering garbage led to frequent outbreak of diseases.

At the centre of the city was a market known as Agora which was used as an assembly hall for debates.

The Athenians were divided into five classes.

  1. This was made up of the richest who were mostly heavily taxed
  2. The second class provided cavalry for the army
  3. The third class provided soldiers for the infantry.
  4. It comprised of the poorest who paid no taxes.

They practice slavery but they did not enslave one another. The rich owned upto 50 slaves. They were not mistreated and were protected by the law. The slaves were obtained during war. Others were captured by pirates. The slaves who served well and remained honest would be set free and some would later inherit their masters when they died.

Factors that led to her growth

  1. Trade and commerce. The area was poor agriculturally therefore they relied on trade to obtain food. They produced goods such as olive oil, wine and wool
  2. Athens was strategically placed. It was surrounded by water, valleys and highlands therefore could not be attacked by an enemy.
  3. Her port was located about six kilometers from the city therefore facilitating the expansion of the town.

Functions of the Athens

  1. It was a cultural centre i.e. the Greeks went there to watch plays
  2. It was an educational centre. People went there to be taught how to read and write books e.g. of the great thinkers who grew up in Athens are Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Archimedes and Aristotle.
  3. It was a sports centre i.e. they were gymnasiums where boys were taught games such as jumping, running, discus throwing and wrestling. To them, games shaped character.
  4. It was a religious centre. The Parthenon Temple was constructed on the highest part of Athens by Pericles. It attracted many people to Athens.


The name London is derived from the name Llyn Dun which means ‘Celtic Lake Fort’.

The town originated from the celtic settlements. Celtics were the last inhabitants of Europe before the modern Europeans.

It is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has well planned squares and her streets are well lit.

It was established by the Romans in 43AD. It then became a natural centre for land and water traffic. In 60AD it was looted by the Roman following a rebellion. In 120 AD, it was razed down by fire. By 200 A.D, a fort was built to protect the city from external enemies.

As a city London became important due to the following

  1. It was a busy port
  2. Had a wealthy population
  3. Was an early centre for Christianity

However she later experienced several challenges. This included enemy attacks, outbreak of diseases, especially plaque, and internal revolts.

In 1381, the city was severally attacked by a serious peasant revolt that led to massive destruction of property.

It attracted foreigners such as the German, Italians and the Flemish who set up their own settlements.

By 18th century, London had emerged as a city of elegance, not only in architecture but also in commerce and leisure. However she also had slums.

Factors influencing the growth of London

  1. Trading It did a booming trade and profits obtained were used to build and expand the town.
  2. She had greatly industrialized. She had building, metal works, chemical etc
  3. She had improved means of transport and communication by 1890. Her railway lines were electrical.
  4. It attracted a great number of people who came as loaders and traders therefore providing labour.

Functions of London

  1. It is a transport and communication centre i.e. it’s inter connected with roads which served several parts of Britain. It also houses many international airports of the United Kingdom e.g. Heathrow airport of the U.K. and Gatwick. Her port is also the busiest in the world.
  2. It is a political and administrative capital e.g. all the government, prime ministers and cabinet ministers have their offices in London.
  3. It is a commercial centre with many banks.
  4. It is an industrial centre with one of the earliest industries to have been established being the textile industry
  5. It is an educational centre. It houses schools, colleges and universities e.g. Oxford and Cambridge University are in London
  6. It services as a Historical centre i.e. has theatres for performance of cultural activities and museums rich in artifacts.

Problems facing London

  1. Poverty whereby the poor people in the city were exploited by the rich whenever they were employed
  2. Rural-urban migration. This led to overcrowding
  3. Poor housing which led to the rise of slums
  4. High levels of crime
  5. Increased unemployment
  6. Pollution continues to be a major challenge.

Modern Urban Centres in Africa

Most of the urban centres in Africa developed during the period of colonization


The name Nairobi is derived from a Maasai phrase ‘enkare nairobi’ which means a place of cool waters. Before its growth, it was known as a market place for the maasai and Agikuyu traders. It was located close to Nairobi River. In 1899, it became a railway depot and camp.

Factors influencing the growth of Nairobi

  1. It had adequate water and level ground suitable for the construction of workshops, stores and other buildings
  2. It was located at the middle of Mombasa and Lake Victoria
  3. It provided good conditions for settler farming mainly in dairy coffee and tea plantations.
  4. It had cool temperatures which favoured the Europeans
  5. Nairobi was ideal for location of supply base for the ascent to the west across the great rift valley
  6. The trading activities between the Maasai and Agikuyu local trade and Arab-Swahili traders enhanced her growth.
  7. The transfer of the colonial governments headquarters in 1907
  8. From 1902 it was being administered by the town council and became a municipal council in 1927 and a city in 1950.

Functions of Nairobi

  1. It is an administrative centre
  2. It is a commercial and financial centre e.g. banking is conducted there.
  3. It is a transport and communication centre i.e. has many radio and Tv stations. It also houses the main international airports e.g. Jomo Kenyatta International air port.
  4. It houses the regional headquarter of various international bodies e.g. united nations, ILO
  5. Its serves as a tourist centre, e.g. it has the national parks, Bomas of Kenya and National Museums.

Problems of Nairobi

  1. The many graduates have not been absorbed in the work force
  2. Poor housing which has led to development of slums.
  3. Inadequate social services e.g. health services and educational facilities
  4. Congestion on the roads leading to traffic congestion
  5. Poor planning has led to the poor drainage
  6. Pollution mainly from the industries
  7. Higher number of street families has increased the crime rate
  8. Water shortage caused by the high rate of expansion in the town
  9. High rate of HIV AIDS infection.

Solution to the problems

  1. Development of new housing projects
  2. Social amenities e.g. education and hospitals is being catered to through cost sharing between the government and town dwellers
  3. Transport, dual carriages are being constructed such as Thika road (2009). Today rail transport is being re-introduced to ease road traffic
  4. Government is encouraging expansion of informal sector so as to provide alternative employment
  5. Rehabilitation of street families by taking them to school and other rehabilitation centres
  6. Water problem is being solved through new water projects from nearby rivers e.g. the Nairobi water project from River Chania
  7. Sensitizing people on HIV/Aids and encouraging responsible sexual behavior


It is the biggest town in South Africa. It owes its existence to the discovery of gold at a place called Witwatersrand in 1886. There was rush for gold leading to the founding of a settlement which was named Johannesburg.

Many of the inhabitants were mine workers; men had to do this work for at least a year a period which they were separated from their wives and children. They lived in dirty inhuman places known as hostels.

To keep themselves at home they would organize entertainment e.g. traditional dances as time went by the traditions dancer became part of the weekend entertainment for the white men in Johannesburg.

Factor influencing the growth of Johannesburg

  1. River Vaal provided water for both domestic and industrial use
  2. Its constructed as a plain (veldt) which has made construction and communication easier
  3. Existence of minerals such as iron ore, chromite, diatomite and flouspar.
  4. Availability of energy especially coal from Benoni and Witbank
  5. Adequate food owing to the fertile area, food like maize, wheat are grown to feed the population

Functions of Johannesburg

  1. Its transport and communication centre. By 1892 it was connected by railway with Cape town, Delagoa Bay and Durban
  2. Industrial and manufacturing functions. Main industries include mining, metal work etc
  3. It is a financial centre with various businesses such as banking it’s also a major shopping centre in South Arica
  4. It is an educational centre with several higher learning institutions e.g. University of Witwatersrand, College of Advanced Technical education and other teachers’ training colleges.

Problems facing Johannesburg as an urban centre

  1. The black Africans who work around it were always treated as slaves though they are the majority in the country.
  2. Slums developed due to the many unemployed workers e.g. Soweto
  3. Rampant unemployment which has led to the rise in criminal activities
  4. HIV/AIDS is a major health problem in Johannesburg and South Africa at large
  5. It has the highest crime rates in the world.
  6. Air pollution is a major problem due to the many industries.
  7. A large gap exists between the rich, especially Europeans and the poor of whom the majority are Africans.

Solutions to the problems

  1. The problem of segregation has been solved through ending of the apartheid regime
  2. The government is coming up with better housing estates to upgrade the slums
  3. Crime is being contained by creating more job opportunities and also by policing the city
  4. Creation of AIDS awareness among the people of South Africa by the government.

Impact of Agrarian and Industrial Development on Urbanization

  1. It led to settled life i.e. people gave up on hunting and gathering. The settlements developed into urban centres and some later grew into big cities
  2. It left the poor people in Britain landless as the rich bought the land. The landless moved to urban centres in search of employment
  3. Development of mines during the industrial revolution led to the rise of settlements around the mining areas e.g. Meroe, Kush and Nok in west Africa
  4. It supported the growth of urban centres, as it led to adequate food supply for the growing population
  5. It led to increased food supply and the surplus food promoted trade hence trading centres grew up into urban centres
  6. Led to the development of urban centres due to industrial and agricultural expansion. This led to the growth of various urban centres e.g. London, Paris, Amsterdam
  7. Led to the rise of ports which were used as export and import points of the agricultural and manufactured products.
  8. Mechanisation in the agricultural sector displaced the labourers who moved to urban centre to look for jobs. This increased urban population.
  9. Industrialization led to the production of better and more efficient tools which made work easier.

By the 19th century African communities had attained some development. Islam had influenced the setting up of learning institutions, Arabic architecture, use of the sharia law and the advancement in other cultural aspects.

Many of the communities were decentralized e.g. Luo, Yoruba,Yao and Wolof. There were a number of centralized kingdoms with high quality political administration e.g. Buganda, Asante, Mandinka, Ndebele etc.

African communities also had an economic order e.g. the long distance trade spearheaded by the Yao, Nyamwezi and Akamba led to this. Other economic activities included iron working, pastoralism and agriculture.

European contacts with Africa began long before the 19th century and by the 19th century most parts of the continent took part in international trade.


They are a Bantu speaking people who lived in the Buganda kingdom in Uganda.

Traditions indicate that their ancestors were part of the Bachwezi.

Some myths say that they developed from Kintu.

Another tradition states that the founder of Buganda was Kimera a brother of Isingoma Mpunga Rukidi the patriarch of the Luo Babito dynasty of Bunyoro.

By 140 A.D the chiefdom had already emerged and it remained a small kingdom and was able to survive by avoiding offending Bunyoro.

Factors that led to the growth of a strong Buganda Kingdom

  1. Good strong and able rulers who were able to unite their people. This included Junju, Suna and Kabaka Mutesa I, Kibugwe, Katerregga and Mutebi. Katerregga is the one who doubled the size of Buganda by extending into Bunyoro-Kitara.
  2. The Kingdom was small and compact therefore the Kabakas were able to hold it together.
  3. Geographical positioning. She lay next to Lake Victoria which gave her good means of internal communication. This also gave her a natural defense.
  4. Her earlier contact with the Waswahili and Arab traders made her acquire plates, cups, saucers and glassware from trade. She also acquired arms and ammunition which she used against her enemies.
  5. She enjoyed a good climate with ample rainfall, for the growth of bananas. She also had fertile soils.
  6. She enjoyed good security and therefore concentrated on political organization
  7. The existence of a strong army which was loyal to the king, the Kabaka. He even possessed a special royal navy that guarded over Lake Victoria.
  8. The Ganda traditions that required women to do farming, men were involved in politics, carpentry, war, bark cloth making and smithing.
  9. Buganda acquired a lot of wealth from the areas that she conquered e.g. Buddu, Kyagwe and Busoga. She got ivory, slaves, livestock and iron ore. Iron enabled her boost her military strength.
  10. The centralized government system enhanced her growth. Buganda was led by a king called Kabaka. The position of the Kabaka was hereditary.

Kabakas court was the centre of the community, all the symbols of royal authority was kept in the court. This included the throne (namulondo) royal drums, spears and tools.

Duties of Kabaka

  1. He was the head of the state and the final authority in the land
  2. He was the head and custodian of the traditional religion Lubaale
  3. He was the final court of appeal and he handled all difficult cases
  4. He appointed chiefs to govern the vassal states
  5. He was the commander-in-chief of the army
  6. He appointed the Lukiiko, an assembly that made laws
  7. He nominated one of his sons as his successor before dying
  8. He owned all the land in the kingdom and rewarded loyal chiefs.

Among his powerful officials were the Queen mother and the queen sister (Ubunga) council of ministers the Katikiro (prime minister) Omulamuzi (chief justice) Omuwanika (treasurer) and the Mugema (most senior chief) Others included Musenero (the chief butler) and mfumbiro, the chief baker.

Role of the Katikiro (prime minister)

  • He organized tax collection and public works.
  • He planned wars in Kabakas name and he protected him during wars.
  • He informed the Kabaka of the decisions he made on government issues
  • He gave permissions to those willing to see Kabaka

Below the katikiro were the chief justice and the treasurer, court officials, messengers and slaves. In order for the Kabaka to strengthen his position, and the unity of the kingdom the kabaka married from every clan.

The Lukiiko (roles)

The Lukiiko was an assembly of chiefs and the kabaka. It had 69 members. This formed the law making body which discussed vital issues concerning the kingdom. It was nominated by the kabaka and assisted the Kabaka in the administration of the kingdom. Its most important members were the governors of the main districts namely Buddu, kyaggwe, Bulemezi and Singo.

  1. Advising the Kabaka mainly on matters affecting the country
  2. They represented the people’s concerns and needs to the Kabaka
  3. Were the final court of appeal i.e. assisted in settling disputes
  4. They directed the collection of taxes in the kingdom and planned the expenditure.
  5. They helped the Kabaka in administration
  6. They formulated laws

The Bataka (functions)

They were minor chiefs in charge of clans and were answerable to the Mugema (chiefs)

They were the guardians of their clan lands.

They settled disputes in their areas. Their position was hereditary.

The chiefs collected tributes and maintained law and order. The royal chiefs got rewarded with land by the Kabaka.

Their sons (chiefs) were recruited to serve the Kabaka, were known as Bagalagala.

Political organization

The kingdom had a structure based on county and sub-county. This structure had the following segments

  1. The kingdom had counties called sazas and each was led by a saza chief, who was hereditary
  2. The counties had further sub-divided into sub-counties called Gambolola. The Gambolola chiefs presided over the administration of the subcounties i.e. they maintained law and order and also collected taxes.
  3. The Gambolola were further divided into smaller divisions called miluka which were presided over by the muluka chief

A number of royal officials worked with him at the court and they acted as custodian of Buganda History. These officials kept a record of all events related to the royal family. They preserved the royal tombs.

The centralized system of control in Buganda

  • Enhanced effective control of the kingdom
  • It promoted control of other traditional leaders e.g. clan leaders
  • It enhanced loyalty to one single leader
  • It led to emergency of able Kabaka’s who strengthened the kingdom.

Social organization

They were divided into several social classes. The royal family composed of the ruling family. It was followed by the chiefs who ruled the peasants known as Bakopi.

The Bakopi served in wars as soldiers and in return they were given land to cultivate.

Peasants (Bakopi) had a duty to pay taxes to Kabaka through chiefs. Slaves (Badu) were acquired mainly during raids and they served in the houses of kings and chiefs.

They believed in the existence of many gods, some of the most important were Katonda, the creator who was prayed to every morning and the prayers were done by the head of the homestead.

  • Kibuuka the god of war and thunder
  • Mukasa the god of fertility in terms of children, livestock and harvest
  • Kiwanuka god of lightening
  • Nawagonyi goddess of drought

They believed in the existence of ancestral spirits of people who had supernatural powers. They were known as Balubaale, they were consulted through prophets or mediums.

They had religious leaders foremost being the kabaka. Others included medium, prophets and medicine men. They guided people in their spiritual lives. They had natural shrines scattered all over the kingdom where they could worship their deities.

There existed sorcerers known as balopo, they were feared for they could bring harm to the community.

They also later embraced Christianity and Islam due to the invitations of Kabaka Mutesa 1.

They valued polygamy. The Kabaka was respected and he married from all clans to maintain link in the society.

Labour was divided based on sex, i.e. women tilled the land while men fought and built houses, clothes.

They went through rites of passage where they were given informal education.

Economic organization

The geography of the region enabled the kingdom to have a strong economy. Her location of the northern shores of Lake Victoria provided the people with means of transport.

  • She had fertile soils and enjoyed reliable rainfall that favoured agriculture.The women grew crops like bananas; men gathered fruits, wild honey and did fishing on Lake Victoria. They kept large herds of livestock. The Bahima herded Kabakas livestock.
  • They acquired slaves, ivory and livestock through raids.
  • They traded with their Bunyoro and Bagisu neighbours. They organized caravans for long distance trade with the Coast. They acquired firearms, glassware, enamel utensils and cotton cloth in exchange for hides and slaves.
  • They practiced crafts e.g. bark-cloth making, basketry and pottery.

The Shona

The term is a linguistic term that refers to the ancestral Karanga, Rozwi, Kore Kore, Zezuru and Manyika.

They are a Bantu speaking group that inhabited the high fertile plateau between Limpopo and Zambezi River.

The Shona originated from the Congo basin. The first stone buildings in Zimbabwe are believed to be the work of the Shona. The Shona were few in number but they ruled over a large area in Rhodesia. Their capital was at Mapungubwe, south of the Limpopo and Shona rivers.

By about 1450 A.D, the Rozwi groups of the Shona dominated over the region and they set up a centralized political system. They later established the Mwene Mutapa empire that thrived upto the 1830s when the Rozwi were scattered by the Ngoni invasion.

The scattered Rozwi were dominated by the Ndebele. However by 1870s they acquired guns from the East African coast and formed alliances with the Portuguese. This helped to strengthen the community.

Political organization

It was ruled by a hereditary emperor who also served as the head of the state.

The key factor in their political system was religion. Mwene Mutapa was the chief religious authority and he communicated with both the ancestors and the spirits. This made him acquire a lot of importance and power arising from the rituals.

They believed that each Mutapa would become a Mudzimu (ancestral spirit) upon death and automatically qualify to be worshipped as a national ancestral spirit. He used the priests as a link with the people, who also served as spies.

Another important symbol of national unity was the royal fire which was lit at the court of Mwene Mutapa it would not be allowed to go off or to dwindle until the end of the king’s reign. From the fire, each chief carried a flame to his chiefdom, which he kept burning.

At the death of the king, all fires were extinguished. Another royal fire was lit on the crowning of a new king.

The empire was divided into provinces ruled by a lesser chief. Every year the chief send his son to the King to pay homage. They carried cattle, goats, slaves and ivory. On arrival they were deliberately kept waiting for three days before getting audience with the king at the courtyard. This was done to test their loyalty to the Mwene Mutapa. In return they were given high quality clothing to take to the chief as a sign of good gesture.

He had the following officials who assisted him

  1. Court steward
  2. Treasurer
  3. Commander in chief of the army
  4. Senior son-in law of the king Mbokurumme and the queens mother
  5. Emperor sister
  6. Chief drummer, Chief cook and a gate keeper

Below him were the lesser chiefs who paid tribute to the by providing labour, cattle and agricultural produce.

The King had a standing army which defended the kingdom. He controlled trade and revenue from trade was used to run the army and sustain the empire.

Economic organization

  • The empire pracised agriculture. There was ample rainfall and had fertile soils which favoured growing of corn, millet, nuts beans fruits bananas, cabbage watermelons and tomatoes. They also kept cattle which gave them with milk, hides, skins and beef.
  • They took part in the long distance trade with the Arabs and the Waswahili from the East African coast. The Shona gave gold and ivory in exchange for cotton, glassware, copper items, guns, daggers and knives.
  • They were skillful hunters for they killed elephants, gathered wild honey and wild fruits to supplement their diet.
  • They were skilled craftsmen. They made articles from iron such as spears, hoes and knives.
  • They wove cloth from wild cotton and bark fibres.

Social organization

  • Their religion was based on the Mwari cult. Mwari was believed to be supreme creator and supreme being. Mwene Mutapa was regarded as a divine king. He was worshipped. When he was well, it was believed that the whole kingdom was well.
  • Priests from Rozwi clan led the people in worship of Mwari. Their powers included warding off diseases, epidemics, wars and rainmaking.
  • They believed in two kinds of spirits, Vadzimu, a family spirit and Mhandoro a clan spirit. They communicated through an intermediary Suikiro who was a depended family or clan member.
  • They had a national spirit called Chamiruka who settled clan disputes and also protected people against injustices in the government. Their kinship system was patrilineal (inheritance through the father).
  • They were divided into clans and clan names were coined from animals such as the monkey, leopard, elephant etc. It was therefore a taboo for them to consume a meal of such an animal
  • Polygamy was allowed and a man could marry many wives. This aimed at providing labour.
  • Marriage between related clans was discouraged.
  • They lived in stone houses this is evidenced with the ruins of Mapungubwe in Zimbabwe.

Decline of the Shona Empire was caused by

  1. The rulers who succeeded Nyatsimba Mutota one of the founders of the Mwene Mutapa Kingdom were not very powerful
  2. Civil wars and rebellions by priests led to the collapse of the empire
  3. Invasion by the Nbebele who defeated the Shona contributed to their decline
  4. Occupation of Mashonaland by the British caused decline


They are among the Akan speakers who occupy South Ghana in West Africa. The Akan are said to have migrated into the forests areas at around 13th Century where they prospered as farmers due to the rich farmland.

By 1670 they had began creating states such as Denkyira, Akwamu and Fante.

By the 19th century the empire had expanded to incorporate present day Ghana and parts of Cote d’Ivore and Togo.

The Asante comprised of the Bretno and Oyoko clans who played a big role in establishing the Asante state, Domaa and Tafa.

Owing to good relations, intermarriages and sometimes wars, the Oyoko clan under Osei Tutu was able to rule over other Akan speaking groups in the region.

Factors that led to the rise and growth of the Asante Empire

  1. Emergence of several city states around Kumasi that supported each other. Most of them were related by the fact that they originated from the oyoko clan.
  2. The growth of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade that brought a lot of wealth to the people.
  3. The first 3 rulers namely Obiri Yeboa, Osei Tutu and Opuku Ware were able, shrewd and courageous.
  4. The ‘golden stool’ brought unity in the kingdom
  5. The kingdom had a strong agricultural base e.g. food were available throughout the year.
  6. The centralized political system. Under Asantehene, provided stability.
  7. Existence of a large and efficient standing army. The introduction of guns and gun powder by the European enabled the Asante to become more powerful.
  8. The odwira festival that was held annually made the state more cohesive.
  9. The bravery and pride of the Asante that drove them into fighting to relieve themselves from the oppressive rule of the Denkyria.

Political organization

They had a centralized political system. The nucleus of the Asante empire was five city states set up within 35 miles from Kumasi by the families of the Oyoko matrilineal clan.

The five city states were Kumasi, Dwaben, Bekwai, Kokofu and Nsula. This formed the Metropolitan Asante which was the base of the Asante and their Kings recognized each other as brothers.

The empire comprised of three parts namely Kumasi (metropolitan Asante) Amatoo and the provincial Asante.

Each of the three parts had its own system of administration although they were several areas where they co-operated.

Metropolitan Asante

It was ruled directly by the Asantehene. These states were 35 miles around Kumasi and they recognized the Asantehene as the supreme authority

The golden stool provided a solid base of unity. It was introduced by a priest called Okomfo Anokye who claimed that the stool came to the community from the sky in 1695.

Importance of the golden stool

  1. Made the office of the Asantehene accessible
  2. It was a symbol of unity within the Asante Empire.

The government of Metropolitan Asante was made up of the confederacy council made up of kings known as Omanhene and was presided over by the Asantehene.

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This ensured that the Omanhene was contented because they were part and parcel in decision making.

Each metropolitan state had its own state council that made important decisions about each specific state.

Omanhene also had his own block stool that symbolized power over the state.

Duties of the Omanhene

  1. Give the right of deciding war on another state
  2. Recognize the right of Asantehene to impose national levies especially during wars and national calamities
  3. Attend the annual odwira festival to pay honour to the Asantehene, the dead, and settle disputes
  4. Grand own subjects the right to appeal to the high court
  5. They were the heads of Amatoo states

Neither the Asantehene nor the Omuhene enjoyed dictatorial power.

All states within the metropolitan Asante paid tax to the Asantehene, which was used to pay for administration and to join the army.

The kingdom had an army which was divided into several wings and each omanhene commanded his own forces though the overall leadership of the army was provided by the Asantehene.

If the Asantehene was not available to lead the army, then his deputy Mamphohene took up the responsibility.

They introduced a compulsory military service for all able bodied men, however new groups of military wings were created comprising of scouts (Akwanstafo) and the Kings personal guards (Gyaso)

Provincial Asante

Comprised of all states conquered by the Asante in the 18th century, i.e. it was made up of subject states.

In this states the golden stool was not significant. They were represented in the Asantehene army and therefore identified with the powers of the Asantehene.

Their subjects paid taxes to the Asantehene. The reign of Osei Bonsu saw the appointment of two trusted asantemen consuls who resided in each subject state. The consuls supervised the affairs of these states and ensured they were no plots against the Asantehene.

Any rebellion was quickly suppressed by the efficient army and the rebel leaders were arrested, killed and some sold as slaves.

The Asantehene directly appointed senior men who were loyal to him. They supervised mining, tax collection and ivory trade.

Asantehene as a king was assisted by Chief Baker, The Queen mother, His nine wives, Chief Justice, Military commander, Head door keeper, Head drummer and Chief cook.

Economic organization

  • They were traders. Through the Trans-Atlantic trade, they provided gold, slaves and ivory. In return they acquired cotton, cloth, guns and gun powder. The Asantehene owned a lot of gold mines so they needed slaves to do the mining. Slaves also provided labour for the royal families and the female slaves were elevated to concubines
  • Trans-Atlantic trade routes, the rich unexploited lands, Kola nuts and even game in the forest region attracted many people to the region.

Importance of trade

  1. Through trade, they got a lot of revenue that led to growth of the kingdom
  2. They also acquired items like firearms which they used to expand the kingdom
  3. Trade enhanced exploitation of natural and agricultural resources which earned revenue.
  4. The gold mined in Asante provided a lot of wealth which led to expansion of kingdom.
  • They practiced agriculture. They grew crops such as yams, vegetables and fruits. They kept cattle. From the forests, they got kola nuts and game meat to supplement their diet.
  • They practiced iron working and other crafts such as basket and pots.

Social organization

They are part of the Akan speaking peoples of present day Ghana. Other Akon speakers include the Akyem, Kwehu, Fante, Wassa, Assin and Akwapem.

By the 19th century the Akan speakers shared identical social institution e.g. they observed a forty day calendar and had same marriage and naming rites.

  • They had a matrilineal system of inheritance i.e. each family passed through the mother from one generation to another. It was a taboo to marry from ones maternal of paternal clan.
  • The King and his family formed the royal family.
  • They practiced polygamy. Education was informal.
  • They worshipped many gods. Asantehene was a religious leader.
  • There was a national festival known as odwira festival where Omanhenes assembled every year in Kumasi (which later became the capital).

Odwira was important in that

  1. It was during the festival that all Omanhene’s showed their loyalty to the Asantehene.
  2. It gave the people a chance to honour the dead
  3. The Asante were able to solve disputes amongst themselves during the festival
  4. It enhanced unity among the Asante states

Kumasi was adorned with decorations during the festival. The ceremonies were accompanied by cultural dances.

Decline of the Asante was caused by

  1. After the death of Osei Tutu, there was no other personality to unify the empire
  2. There were rebellions all over the empire after the death of Osei Tutu
  3. The Fante who were traditional enemies were assisted by the British in conquering Asante
  4. The abolition of slave trade which Asante relied on for her revenue caused the decline

A constitution is defined as a set of agreed principles and rules which state the structure and powers of a government.

It defines duties, powers and responsibilities of those within a nation.

Components of a constitution

  • The structure of a government
  • Rules pertaining to the head of authority
  • The composition, functions and powers of parliamentary law
  • Composition of the executive organ of the government including the cabinet, civil servants and their missions
  • The composition of the judiciary including the duties, powers of the courts
  • The duties and rights of citizens
  • The fundamental human rights

However constitutions differ from country to another due to the different experiences and histories of different states.

Factors that determine the form of a constitution

  1. Historical background of a country
  2. Geographical factors e.g. Japan as a country is made up of several islands
  3. Religious beliefs of the people e.g. Some have the Islamic sharia law in their constitution e.g. Libya and Sudan
  4. Racial composition e.g. the South African constitution, included the apartheid racial policy during the apartheid era

Constitutions are not developed in the same way e.g. whereas in some countries, it is the legislature that discuses the constitution. In other countries a nationwide vote is taken to develop the constitution (referendum)

Functions of a constitution

  1. It provides the legal ground from which the laws of the country are made
  2. It defines the relationship between the governors and the governed
  3. It spells out the rights and duties of all citizens and protects them. It also provides the options a citizen has legally if these rights and freedoms are violated.
  4. It spells out the powers of the government
  5. It provides basis upon which a government is established
  6. It promotes national unity

Types of Constitutions

  1. Written

In this, the basic principles concerning the organization of the government, powers of its various organs and rights of the subjects are written down in one document.

The first written constitution was made by the Americans in the 14th century. It was followed by the French in 1791. Asians, Europeans, Latin, Americans and other African countries followed later.

Characteristics of a written constitution

  1. It acts as a standard of reference to which the acts of the government of the day may always be compared.
  2. It is a rigid document that cannot be altered
  3. It is only amended through a clearly spelt out procedure, followed to the later
  4. There must be a special body entrusted with the work of drafting the constitution by the legislatures.
  5. Once drafted it must get approval by the legislature.

Advantages of a written constitution

  1. It is not easy for politicians or other interest groups in the society to alter it.
  2. It provides clear guidelines on the procedures to be followed therefore creating stability in the country
  3. It is usually rigid therefore ensures that adequate consideration is given when change is deemed necessary.
  4. It creates order, i.e. Kenya and Ghana after their independence needed a written constitution so as to take off.
  5. It recognize, preserves and maintain the ethnic, racial and religious groups
  6. Since it acquires recognition and acceptance of the citizens, it unites the people.

Disadvantages of written constitution

  1. It is rigid and cannot be easily changed. It can therefore fail to respond easily to changing circumstances and become obsolete.
  2. It makes the judicial too powerful as it is the organ that interprets the document, this can make the executive and legislature to control the judiciary so as to manipulate the constitution
  3. Some are too detailed, and therefore rarely understood by ordinary citizen.
  4. The procedure for amending the constitution is slow and costly therefore causes delays which can lead to disorder in the society.
  1. Unwritten constitutions

The fundamental principles of organization and powers of government are not contained in one document or in several. Rather, they are scattered in many documents such as in Britain where we have such a constitution.

Her constitution is based on:-

  1. Statutes. These are acts of parliament e.g. statutes that comprise the British constitution include
  2. Act of Union with Scotland 1707 which determined the territorial boundaries within which the United Kingdom constitution operates.
  3. Parliament Act of 1911 which governs the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Others include the Reform Acts of 1832 and 1834.
  1. Customs. They refer to the ancient or traditional practices or the common law e.g. the first born of the sovereign succeeds the King or queen.
  1. Law of precedents. These are key judicial decisions that later became part of the law of the land. In this reference is made to past cases and judgments when making decisions on current cases.
  1. Customs of Parliament. These are the procedures of the House of Commons and the House of the Lords both of which comprises the British parliament. These include standing orders and other regulations.
  1. Historical documents. These are important historical documents e.g. the Magna Carta (1215AD) contained the promises by the English King that he would not levy taxes outside the three legal feudal taxes without the consent of the legal council. It also stated that no free people would be disposed of their land, outlawed or imprisoned except after a legal trial.
  2. Conventions and practices. These are practices that have become respected over the years and are also part of the British Constitution and are understood to be binding. Such are observed in order to promote the common good of the people.

Advantages of an unwritten constitution

  1. It is flexible and adaptable to the changing circumstances.
  2. It is indigenous therefore well suited for a state.
  3. It can be changed by the ordinary legislative process.
  4. It provides continuity with the nations traditions and is therefore acceptable and respected by the people.


  1. Gives courts too much work in handling judicial matters as they search for constitutional principles.
  2. It is not easy to protect the rights of the people as the fundamentals of the state are not recorded in a single document.
  3. It tends to be vague and indefinite compared to the written constitution.
  4. It assumes that the people are politically alert and will ensure that their rights and liberties are respected.

Characteristics of a good constitution

  1. It must be definite. It must define its contents clearly
  2. Must be comprehensive in covering all aspects of government
  3. Must be durable (stable) and elastic (flexible) to the changing needs of the society.
  4. It must be able to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens.
  5. Offers provisions for amendments, clearly stating the procedure

The Constitution Making Process

The making of Kenyan constitution began in the colonial era (1885-1960). The process was began by the settlers, Christian missionaries and Asians. They competed with Africans for economic and political power. This led to the Mau Mau uprising. A state of emergency was declared on 20th October 1952 by Sir Evelyn Baring who was the governor.

In 1954, the Colonial Secretary, Oliver Lyttelton suggested some constitutional reforms. As a result, 2 Indians and 1 African acquired executive power. B.A. Ohanga became a minister for Community Development

Secondly, Africans were allowed to elect representatives to Legco. Africans demanded for more reforms.

In 1958, Sir Alan Lennox Boyd proposed more reforms. African representatives in Legco increased. Council of Ministers was enlarged. These Africans in Legco demanded for a conference to discuss the future of Kenya. This led to the First Lancaster House conference of 1960.

During the conference, all Legco members attended. Demands

  • Africans demanded for true democracy where one man would have one vote
  • Arabs wanted to retain the 10-mile coastal strip while Somalis wanted reunification with Somalia
  • Europeans (moderates wanted multiracial government while extremists wanted provinces created along racial lines)

The colonial secretary Ian Macleod suggested that Legco should have 58 elected members. 20 seats would be kept aside for minorities (Europeans 10, Asians 8 and Arabs 2)

Elections would be on common roll. These amendments led to the formation of The Independence Constitution.

After the conference, Africans were divided. In March, African elected members of Legco met at Kiambu and formed Kenya African National union (KANU) with James Gichuru as president. KANU wanted a unitary system of government.

On June 26, 1960, another meeting in Ngong led to formation of Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) with Ronald Ngala as president. KADU wanted a federal system of government. KANU won elections but refused to form a government. KADU formed a minority government which was not popular.

To resolve the difference between KADU and KANU, The Second Lancaster House Conference of 1962 was convened at Lancaster House in London. Here the details of the proposals on what was to be included in the constitution were finalized.

Among those who took part in the deliberations to formulate a constitution were

  • Paul Ngei of African Peoples Party (APP)
  • Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU)
  • Kenya African National Union (KANU)
  • The representation of the European and Asian Communities.

During the conference

  • The future of the coastal strip which belonged to the sultan of Zanzibar was discussed.
  • The future of North-Eastern part of Kenya (Northern Frontier District) was discussed.
  • Security of minority groups was also discussed.

The colonial secretary played an important role of moderating the deliberations whenever a stalemate was reached.

Result of the conference was

  • Constitution was amended to provide for a federal structure with a strong central government
  • Formation of a coalition government to run the country with ministers drawn from both KADU and KANU.

This 1962 constitution led to general elections in 1963. KANU won the election and formed the new government. On 1st June 1963, Kenya attained internal self-government. Kenyatta became the first Prime Minister. The Queen was the Head of State. On 12th December 1963, Kenya attained full political independence.

Features of the Independence Constitution 1962

  1. It was based on the Westminister parliamentary system of the government. The Prime Minister was to be the head of the government and was to be appointed by the governor from among the Members of the lower house, but on condition that such a person had the support of the majority of the House of Representatives.

In the constitution, the executive power lay with the British Queen or Crown who delegated it to the governor general.

The governor of Kenya had the powers over

  1. Defense of the country
  2. Foreign affairs
  3. Internal security
  4. Approval of Legislation

The governor was expected to act on the advice of a cabinet but was answerable to the colonial office in England. This was because Kenya was legally part and parcel of the United Kingdom.

  1. National Assembly

The constitution provided for the establishment of a national Assembly which was bicameral i.e. had two houses, House of Representatives (Upper House) and Senate (lower House).

The upper house comprised of 117 elected members and 12 special members

The senate had 41 members in each of whom represented an administrative district.

The senate played an important role in constitutional amendments, for instance

  • A state of emergency could not be declared without their authority
  • No amendment to the constitution could be made without approval of 65% of the senate.
  • All bills had to get the approval of both houses
  1. Regionalism

This was also known as ‘Majimboism.’ In this, the country was divided into seven regions, each with its legislative and executive powers.

This was to ensure that all parts of the country shared power or authority in government.

Regional voting was only done by those who were identified and registered in the region.

Boundaries of the regions were also given protection. This ensured that the constitutional boundaries could not be altered without consultation of the central government.

The constitution spelt out the powers and responsibilities between regional governments.

  1. Protection of the minority rights

In this, the rights of the minority were protected. The minorities included Europeans, Asians and some indigenous communities.

Europeans were afraid that the new political system would affect their property especially land. They had a lot of concern over compensation for the retiring white farmers and public servants.

Asians were concerned about the security of their property and their right to continue working and living in the country.

The smaller groups like Maasai, Kalenjin, Abaluyia and coastal people were concerned that they would be dominated by the larger and more politically active communities such as the Agikuyu and the Luo.

  1. Judiciary

The constitution provided for an independent and impartial judiciary to ensure justice and to prevent corruption. It shielded judges from political influence their appointment to those positions were vested in the Judicial Service Commission.

Judges were accorded security of tenure i.e. could only be removed from office after proper investigation by an independent tribunal made up of senior judges from the commonwealth.

The security of tenure was similarly extended to the Attorney general so as to work without fear or favour.

  1. Civil Service

Efforts were made to insulate the civil service recruitment and promotions from abuse or corruption in recruitment and promotions.

The public service commission which could also dismiss public servants was formed for this purpose. A separate appointments commission was set up for the police.

  1. Electoral Commission

The constitution set up an impartiality and honest independent electoral commission. It consisted of the speakers of the two houses of the national assembly and a nominee of the Prime Minister. The electoral commission set up constituency boundaries.

  1. Bill of rights

The constitution also contained a detailed bill of rights modeled on the European Convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms. It enshrines personal freedoms such as freedom of expression, religion and freedom to own property.

It also included citizenship whereby all indigenous communities became citizens.

The queen continued to be the head of State through the governor.

After Kenya attaining full political independence under the 1962 Constitution, a number of amendments have been made to it.

Constitutional Amendments

Constitutions are not static. They are subject to change. However a good constitution spells out the procedure to be followed when amending it.

Since 1963, the Kenyan constitution has been amended severally. The changes did not reflect the wishes of the majority of Kenyans but most of them were rushed through parliament for approval by those in authority by then.

However since the introduction of multipartism in 1992, there has been a debate about the need to review the constitution. CKRC (constitution of Kenya Review Commission) under the chairmanship of professor Yash Pal Ghai was appointed to oversee the process. In this review process Kenyans have had a chance of making a constitution which will reflect their views.

Constitution making must follow the following 8 stages.

  1. Debate over contentious issues

Contentious issues can arise from the public or the government, e.g. repeal of section 2A and creation of the post of a Prime Minister. The people are educated to make them aware about the present constitution so that they can suggest the changes they would like to make.

  1. Collection of public views

A Review commission is established to collect people’s views e.g. 1990 President Moi established a Constitutional Review Committee led by Prof George Saitoti and in 2001, Prof Yash Pal Ghai led another review committee that drafted a constitution. People’s views are submitted either in writing or orally to the commissioners who move from one constituency to another.

  1. Civic education

Experts explain meaning of changes expected and their implications to the public. This was done by Ghai in 2001. Results of the recommendations are distributed to the public by both electronic and print media in both English and Kiswahili. The commission then holds public hearings in all provinces to seek the comments of the public on their recommendations.

  1. Convening of Constitutional conference

Here, contentious issues are ironed out by stakeholders e.g. in 2002, such a conference was held at the Bomas of Kenya. It comprises of members of parliament, all commissioners, three delegates from each district and other stakeholders. It is here that the commission submits all documents as well as commends made by the public to the constitutional conference. It is here that the comments and recommendations can either be rejected or amended. If they agree on most issues, i.e. consensus, then it is redrafted and then becomes a bill which is submitted to the attorney general for the transmission to the National assembly.

  1. Drafting of the constitution

Local and international experts are called in to draft the constitution. Nzamba Gitonga and Yash Pal Ghai led experts in preparing a draft between 2000 and 2010.

  1. Referendum

It is held when certain issues cannot be resolved by the constitutional conference so that people are to find a solution. This is organized by the CKRC in conjunction with the Electoral Commission of Kenya. This is to go on for a period of two months. After the referendum, the commission prepares the final report and the draft bill for submission to the Attorney General who presents it to the National Assembly. Such was done in August 2010 which approved the proposed 2010 New Constitution.

  1. Enacting the constitution

The draft constitution is then published in the form of a bill to be tabled to the National Assembly for enactment. The government enacts the constitution making it a law

  1. Promulgation of the constitution

The president then presents the constitution to the people and declares it a new law. This was done on 27th August 2010 in a public ceremony.

Therefore, the functions of CKRC are

  • Providing civic education for the citizens
  • Collecting views from the people in Kenya on the proposals of the constitution
  • Carrying out studies of the Kenyan constitution and evaluating it alongside other constitutions and constitutional systems
  • Ensuring proper constituency forums.

Constitutional Amendments since independence

Phase 1 1963-1991

  1. The 1st Amendment Act 28 of 1964. In this, Kenya became a republic with an executive president. The president also became the head of government and commander in chief of the armed forces. It also outlined the criteria to be met by a presidential candidate. It also provided for a Vice President who was to be appointed by the president from among the members of parliament.
  2. The 2nd amendment Act 38 of 1964. It changed the powers of the regions (financial powers) and the procedures affecting changes on regional boundaries. This weakened the regions as they were denied financial support by the central government.
  3. The 3rd amendment Act 14 of 1965 was published on 8th June 1965. It passed that a simple majority was enough for declaration of state of emergency. Initially, 65% was required. It extended the duration within which a parliamentary resolution was to be sought over the declaration of the state of emergency from 7 to 21 days.

Regional Assemblies were renamed as Provincial Councils. Provisions concerning the control of agricultural land were removed.

  1. The 4th amendment Act 16 of 1966. It made commonwealth citizens eligible for Kenyan citizenship. A legislator who was jailed for six months had to lose his parliamentary seat. A member of parliament who failed to attend 8 consecutive parliamentary sittings without the speakers permission would lose his seat unless waivered by the president. It gave the president powers to appoint and dismiss civil servants and also get the power to rule Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana and Lamu districts.
  2. The 5th amendment Act 17 of 1966. A Member of Parliament who resigned from the party that sponsored him at the time of election is to forfeit his seat.
  3. The 6th amendment Act 18 of June 1966. It empowered the president to detain citizens without trial if their conduct threatened the security of the state.

It gave president power to control the freedom of the press. It was through this that the president detained Martin Shikuku, Seroney Ngugi wa Thiongo, Koigi wa Wamwere and many others.

  1. The 7th amendment Act 40 of 1966. The Senate and the House of Representatives were merged to create a national assembly i.e. unicameral legislature. This is why we have only one House of parliament in Kenya.
  2. The 8th amendment Act 4 of 1967. One forfeited his parliamentary seat by virtue of supporting a different party.
  3. The 9th amendment Act of 1968. It abolished the provincial councils i.e. abolishing regionalism.
  4. The amendment Act 45 of 1968. The president would be directly elected by the electorate during the general election. All candidates for a general election should be nominated by a political party. In case the presidency fell vacant, then at the time of dissolution of parliament, an election must be held within 90 days. Meanwhile the vice president would make certain decision e.g. appointment and dismissal on ministers and matters touching on public security.

It provided for 12 nominated members to parliament who replaced the specially elected members of the House of Representatives.

  1. Act 5 of 1969. It stated that members of the EC were to be appointed by the president.
  2. The 12th Constitutional amendment Act 2 of 1974. It changed the minimum voting age from 21 to 18 years. It also lowered the presidential age from 40 to 35 years.
  3. The 13th amendment Act of 1974 made Kiswahili the official language of the national assembly. This meant that all proceedings when in Parliament were to be done in Kiswahili.
  4. The 14th amendment Act of 1975. It replaced the 13th amendment which was adjusted to allow the legislature and the financial reports to be drafted and quoted in English though could be debated in Kiswahili.
  5. The 15th amendment Act of 1975. This was done in favour of powerful people in the government. In this, election offenders were barred from contesting future elections until five years from the date when the court found them guilty of the offence.

In 1975 an amendment was passed in which the president could pardon any election offender. This was done because Paul Ngei had been found guilty of an election offence. He was then allowed to contest the Kangundo seat after the president pardoned him.

  1. The 16th amendment Act of 1977. It allowed the formation of court of appeal. This was after the fall of the East African community and the East African court of appeal. This amendment made the chief justice both a high court Judge and a judge of the Appeal court.
  2. The 17th amendment Act. It providing for English as an alternative to Kiswahili in the national Assembly and in future proficiency in both languages was a requirement for election to parliament.
  3. The 18th amendment Act of 1979. It was made by president Moi. It provided that public officers had to resign six months in advance in order to qualify as candidates for parliamentary elections.
  4. The 19th amendment act of 1982. It introduced section 2A in the constitution that made Kenya a dejure ‘one party state’ The Act passed KANU to be the only political party in Kenya. It created the office of chief Secretary as head of the public service. Mr Jeremiah Kiereini held that position until 1983 when he was replaced by Mr. Simeon Nyachae.

This was abolished in 1987 after it was found to be too powerful and was replaced by the office of the secretary of the cabinet.

  1. The 20th amendment act of 1985. It provided that the High court acts as a court of appeal on issues relating to membership of the national Assembly such as election petitions. It also increased membership of the P.S.C. to 15 excluding the chairman and the vice chairman.
  2. The 21st amendment Act of 1985. It replaced section 89 which provided for the acquisition of citizenship for anyone born in Kenya after December 11th There was a feeling that the high number of refugees misused this provision.
  3. The 22nd amendment Act of 1986. It provided for the removal of the security of tenure of the officers of the A/G, controller auditor General and chief secretary.
  4. In 1987 a constitutional amendment was passed that removed the security of the Attorney general, the chief secretary controller and auditor General. This meant that the two offices could be dismissed by the president without consulting anybody. This led to a lot of condemnation from the law society of Kenya and other churches.
  5. In 1988 Security of tenure for the judges of the high court and the chairman of the PSC was removed. The president was given the power and freedom to remove civil servants at will. The police were given power to hold a suspect in custody upto 14 days if the crime committed is a capital. This led to detaining of those who opposed the government at Nyayo house.
  6. In 1990 the parliament reinstated the security of tenure of the offices of the attorney general and the controller and auditor general.
  7. In 1991 the parliament passed an amendment that reverted Kenya to a multi party state i.e. Kenyans were now free to form other political parties. One of the first parties to be formed was FORD. Others formed included D.P, SDP.

In the same year an amendment was made which limited the tenure of the president to a minimum of two five-year terms.

Phase 2 1992-2002

This period saw collapse of Soviet Union, Great Wall and many countries moved from single party states to multi-party states. This encouraged civil society in Kenya fight for change. There were demonstrations, most of which were supported by international bodies like IMF and World Bank.

  1. Inter-Party Parliamentary Group (IPPG) was formed. It comprised members of KANU and the opposition. It proposed several amendments to ensure equal playing field for all parties. The following constitutional reforms were approved.
  • Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) will be balanced when providing political views in news reports
  • Membership of Electoral Commission would accommodate interest of opposition
  • Registration of parties would be faster
  • Chiefs would not interfere with political activities in their local areas
  • Police would be impartial when handling political issues
  • Laws restricting civil and political rights and the offence of sedition to be repealed.
  1. In 1998 it was agreed that a new constitution would be based on principles of democracy and accountability, human rights, people participation and social justice be formed.
  2. In October 2000 parliament passed a bill forming the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) headed by Professor Yash Pal Ghai and 15 commissioners.

CKRC had organs like Constituency Constitutional Forum, National Constitutional Conference, The Referendum and The National Assembly.

March 2001, Ghai’s team merged with Ufungamano Initiative which had been formed in 1997. Ufungamano composed of religious groups and groups in the civil society. Its objective was to fight poor governance by KANU leadership.

June 2001, representatives of Peoples Commission (PC) joined CKRC. PC had been formed in June 2000 to review the constitution.

CKRC was to review the constitution and prepare a draft. However, it was marred by controversy. It was given until January 2003 to complete its work. It organized a National Constitution Conference at Bomas of Kenya attended by MPs, representatives of parties, Trade Unions, Women groups, Youths groups, NGOs in March 2003.

The draft was debated, revised and redrafted. It came to be known as the Bomas Draft.

Phase 3 2003-2010

NARC government that took power from KANU after 2002 elections was unable to deliver the new constitution in 100 days as promised. Many politicians did not support the draft. It was amended and came to be called the Wako Draft.

In 2005, a referendum on Wako draft was held. An Orange was used for ‘no’ and a banana for ‘yes’. The Orange team won hence the draft failed. The Orange team transformed themselves into a political party called Orange Democratic Party (ODM) led by Raila Odinga. The rest came together and formed Party of National Unity (PNU) led by Mwai Kibaki.

In 2007, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs drafted two bills which led to the revival of drafting of a new constitution.

In 2007 December, general elections were held. People voted alongside ethnicity. There were claims of massive rigging. Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) led by Samuel Kivuitu lost its integrity after declaring Kibaki the winner in questionable way. This led to political violence where more than 1000 people lost their lives and over 500 000 were displaced. Property was destroyed.

To restore peace, in 2008 ODM and PNU held negotiations mediated by former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan. He was assisted by Graca Machel Mandela, Benjamin Mkapa (former Tanzania president) and John Kufuor, former AU chairman and president of Ghana.

On 20th February 2008, Raila and Kibaki signed the National Accord and Reconciliation Act which stipulated that

  • A Grand coalition government would be established in which ODM and PNU would share power.
  • Executive authority would be equally shared between the two.
  • Office of Prime Minister would be created for Hon Raila.
  • Two Deputy Prime Minister positions would be created one for PNU, the other for ODM
  • Expanded cabinet would be established according to party’s membership in parliament.

These agreements were adopted after the parliament amended the constitution on 18th March 2008 and they were announced on 13th April 2008.

On 17th April 2008, the new Coalition Cabinet of 40 Ministers and 50 assistants were sworn in. What remained was Agenda 4 which called for finalizing of a new constitution and looking at long-standing grievances that led to post election violence.

The Waki Commission and Kriegler Commission were established to look at the long-standing issues and gave the following as needing immediate attention.

  • Need to have Constitutional review
  • Prosecution of perpetrators of post-election violence
  • Making land reforms
  • Tackling historical injustices by establishing Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC)
  • Resolving inequalities in wealth distribution
  • Creation of Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC)
  • Creation of Interim Independent Boundaries Commission (IIBC)
  • Reforming the police and the Judiciary
  • Tackling youth unemployment

On 2nd March 2008, a Committee of Experts (CoE) was established led by Mr. Nzamba Kitonga and 10 other members to prepare a draft constitution. The draft proposed a bicameral parliament with devolved powers.

On 17th November 2009, CoE released the harmonized Draft Constitution and invited the public to give views and commends.

On 8th February 2010, the CoE submitted the revised draft to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) which made recommendations and gave it back to CoE for further revision. It was then forwarded to PSC for submission to Parliament on 23rd February. The parliament made recommendations and gave the Proposed Constitution to Attorney General and CoE for redrafting.

1st April 2010, Parliament unanimously approved the Proposed Constitution after failing to incorporate over 150 amendments. It was submitted to Attorney General and published on 6th May 2010.

On 4th August, a referendum is held whereby majority of Kenyans voted for the proposed new constitution. The Constitution was then promulgated on 27th August 2010.

Features of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya

  1. Sovereignty of the people and supremacy of the Constitution
  • All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and the power shall be exercised only according to the constitution.
  • The power is delegated to the Parliament and County legislative Assemblies, the Judiciary and independent tribunals
  • The Constitution of Kenya is the supreme law of the Republic of Kenya
  • Every person should respect and defend the constitution
  1. The republic
  • Kenya is a sovereign republic. It is a multiparty democratic state founded on national values and principles of governance.
  • Kenyan consists of territory and territorial waters. It is divided into counties.
  • The national flag, anthem, coat of arms and public seal will be the national symbols.
  • Madaraka day (1st June), Mashujaa Day (20th Oct) and Jamhuri Day (12th Dec) shall be national days.
  • Kiswahili is the national language and English the official language
  • There shall be no state religion
  • Culture shall be the foundation of the nation.
  1. Citizenship
  • One can become a citizen by birth or registration. Dual citizenship is allowed
  • Citizens are entitled to a Kenyan passport and any document of registration or identification
  1. The Bill of Rights
  • The constitution recognizes 26 rights and freedoms that must be respected, observed, and promoted by the state
  • It also recognizes the rights and freedoms of children and marginalized groups.

The Bill of rights guarantees enjoyment of rights and freedoms so as to preserve the dignity of individuals and communities.

  1. Land and Environment
  • All land in Kenya belongs to the people of Kenya collectively as a nation, communities and as individuals.
  • Land shall be held, used and managed in an equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable manner.
  • Land in Kenya is classified as public, community or private.
  • A person who is not a citizen may hold land on the basis of leasehold tenure only for 99years maximum.
  • Every person has a duty to cooperate with the state organs to protect and conserve the environment.
  1. Leadership and Integrity
  • People holding public positions should use their power to serve Kenyans
  • Selection of people to public office should be done on basis of personal integrity, competence and suitability, or fair and free elections.
  • State officers must demonstrate respect for Kenyans, make objective decision and serve without favourism
  • State officers must be accountable for their actions.
  1. Representation of the People
  • Citizens have freedom to exercise their political rights
  • A third of public position should be held by women. Disabled people shall be represented.
  • The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be in charge of reviewing names and boundaries and running county and national elections.
  1. The Legislature
  • The legislature is bicameral (National Assembly and The Senate) and is the law making body in Kenya.
  • The National Assembly shall have 290 members from constituency. 47 will be women representing each county. Political parties will nominate 12 members to represent special interests (youth, disable and workers)
  • The Speaker will be an ex-officio member of National Assembly.
  • The Senate consists of 47 members elected by voters. 16 women members will be nominated by political parties. 2 members will represent the youth-male and female. 2 members will represent the people with disabilities, male and female. The Speaker will be an ex-officio member.
  1. The Executive
  • The National executive comprises the President, Deputy President and the Cabinet. Its composition must reflect ethnic diversity.
  • The president will hold office for two terms and can be impeached.
  • The National Executive shall initiate legislation, deliberate of aspects of policy and execute the law and carry out policies of the government
  • The Cabinet consists the President, Deputy President, Attorney General and between 14 and 22 Cabinet Secretaries who are not MPs nominated by the president with approval of National Assembly.
  • The Cabinet has Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretaries and Director of Public Prosecution.
  1. The Judiciary
  • The judiciary has a task of interpretation of the law and administering justice.
  • It is made of Superior court (Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High court), and Subordinate Courts (magistrate courts, Kadhi and Court Martial).The Supreme court is led by Chief Justice, Deputy CJ and five judges.
  • Constitution provides for Court of Appeal led by a president elected by judges and at least 12 judges. It will hear appeals from High Court (headed by Principal Judge)
  1. Devolved Government
  • Kenya is divided into counties which are interdependent. The county has a government consisting of County assembly and county executive (led by governor)
  • The county shall implement county legislation, manage and coordinate functions of county administration.
  • Revenue raised nationally is shared equally among the national and county governments.
  1. Public Finance
  • Constitution provides for a Consolidated Fund where all money is received. Equalization Fund is also established in which one half of all revenue collected by national government each year is paid. The money is used for provision of basic services for marginalized areas.
  • A Commission on Revenue Allocation is to make recommendations concerning sharing of revenue between national government and county government
  • The national government has exclusive power to impose income tax and other duties
  • State organ shall contract for goods or services in a fair, cost effective, competitive and transparent manner
  • Salaries and Remuneration Commission is to review salaries and benefits of all state officers.
  • The Central Banks is responsible for formulating monetary policies, issuing currency etc
  1. The Public Service
  • There has to be high standards of professional ethics, efficient, effective and economic use of resources
  • The Public Service Commission is established to appoint competent personnel to national public service.
  1. National Security
  • The National Security Council shall supervise Kenya Defence Force, National Intelligence Service and National Police Service.
  • National security services must respect the cultural diversity of Kenyan communities
  • Recruitment by national security must reflect diversity of Kenyan people
  • The parliament will approve the use of security forces outside Kenya.
  1. Commissions and Independent Offices
  • The constitution established 10 commissions including Parliamentary Service Commission, National Land Commission, independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Teachers Service Commission, national Police Service Commission, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, judicial Service Commission etc.
  • The commissions and the independent offices (controller of Budget and Auditor General) report to the president and the parliament.
  1. Amendment of the Constitution

Most of the constitution provisions can be amended by two thirds majority vote by the parliament

Other amendment require 20% of registered voters in 24 counties give approval

  1. General Provisions

Every person acting on their own behalf or on behalf of others has the right to institute court proceeding claiming that the constitution has been contravened.

  1. Transitional and Consequential provisions

Parliament is empowered by the constitution to enact the necessary legislation to govern particular matters within the specified time


The term democracy is derived from a Greek word ‘democratia’ formed from two words demos meaning people and kratas meaning rule or power. It means the rule of the people.

Democracy is a system of government where political decisions are directly in the hands of the citizens. Abraham Lincolin one of the great American presidents defined democracy as ‘a government of the people for the people and by the people.

The following are the main aspects of the real democracy.

  1. Political aspect

In this, the consent of the governed is sought when making political decisions. This is done directly or indirectly through the elected representation i.e. it means a government by discussion and public opinion

  1. Social aspect

This stresses on the value of human dignity i.e. the individual is free to organize his own lifestyle, hold and enjoy the company of others and associations.

  1. Economic Aspect

Aims at providing equal opportunities to all citizens and seeks to eliminate exploitation of humans by fellow humans. In this, means of production are nationalized and other methods are applied to reduce inequalities between the rich and the poor.

Types of Democracy

  1. Direct or pure democracy

In this, the people are directly involved and they freely participate in decision making. This is usually seen when making laws. The advantage in this is that laws are easily accepted by the people. This form of democracy is suitable in smaller organizations and was once used in Ancient Greece.

How direct democracy is exercised (Types of direct democracy)

  1. Initiative – by physical presence in important meetings
  2. Through referendum particularly on proposed legislation
  3. Recall of elected officials when they fail to perform
  4. Plebiscite where direct popular vote on an important matter is obtained from people.
  1. Indirect or representative democracy

This is where citizens exercise their right in decision making through their chosen representatives e.g. in parliamentary, presidential or composite democracy. The MPs are in turn accountable to those who choose them. They have to work best for the interest of the electorate.

Under indirect democracy the elected may do the following to assist in administration.

Appointment: – the elected are allowed to appoint persons to fill other positions e.g. cabinet ministers and other government officials on behalf of the people.

Nominations: – additional representatives are handpicked to join those already elected.

Essentials of representative democracy

  • Universal suffrage whereby people exercise their sovereignty through voting
  • Free and fair elections. There should be no manipulation.
  • People’s supremacy where people control power through voting.
  1. Constitutional democracy

In this the rights and power of the majority are exercised but within the limits of the constitution. The minority rights are guaranteed e.g. freedom of expression, association and worship. It is also referred to as liberal democracy.

Merits of democracy

  1. It is founded on the consent of the people i.e. leaders cannot ignore the people from whom they get their power to govern.
  2. It recognizes equality among all the people irrespective of their colour, gender or religious believes i.e. anyone can rise to power.
  3. It has a moral and educative value in that it helps individuals to develop their personality. It instills intelligence, honesty and discipline in the people.
  4. It balances the liberty of the individual with the power of the state i.e. the laws made are based on the consent of the people who obey them willingly.
  5. It promotes patriotism and reduces chances of a revolution i.e. people feel that they are part of the ruling system.
  6. It promotes peace in the country and when extended it promotes international understanding.

Demerits of democracy

  1. It promotes dictatorship by the majority i.e. they ignore the minority because the majority government has an obligation to fulfill its election pledges to please the electorate.
  2. It encourages class struggle and corruption i.e. the rich are able to bribe the voters and therefore engage in elections and once elected they form the government and pass the laws that protect their interests.
  3. It is usually slow and wasteful i.e. a lot of time and public resources are used in the process of consultations to make decisions.
  4. It is not easy to find an honest, sincere man of good moral character being elected.
  5. It can promote incompetent i.e. they are the numbers that matter when choosing a leader i.e. if the majority elected are ignorant then they make poor decisions leading to incompetence.
  6. In real sense it is the elected minority who rule. This is because the common man has no proper understanding of the problems facing the country and even the solutions. This leads to dictatorship by the informed or elected minority.

Principles of democracy

The absence of these five truths means lack of democracy

  1. Freedom of speech, debate and enquiry. In such an atmosphere people expose their views without fear. They also highlight their problems and a solution is found.
  2. Participation of the people as a whole in their government on a continuous basis through regular and fair elections. In this, the government should be the servant of its people and not the master.
  3. Having an open and accountable mass media.
  4. Economic democracy i.e. empowering the individuals and communities so that they can control their own wealth.
  5. Equality before the law, i.e. making judgment basing on the written law and all citizens being treated equally before the law.

A Kenyan can participate in democratization process by

  1. Contesting for presidential, parliamentary and civic elections
  2. Debating on issues affecting the state
  3. Participating in community or civic meetings
  4. Paying taxes to the government
  5. Protesting against evil practices of the government
  6. By voting

Human rights

These are legal claims that universally belong to people from the time they are born regardless of sex, race or political beliefs. Human rights are important because

  1. They make human beings to achieve a dignified life and to fulfill their potential and to satisfy both their physical and spiritual needs.
  2. They are human i.e. they are not granted by the state.
  3. They empower citizens and residents by giving then control in decision making organs of the state.
  4. They justify special treatment of minority and other disadvantaged groups or communities
  5. They provide guidance to organs of the state regarding the exercise of state power.
  6. They ensure the public access to necessary information vital for the protection of democracy, and accountability.
  7. They limit internal and external conflicts i.e. strengthening national unity.

Classification of Human rights

They can be classified into the following:

  1. Civil and political rights
  2. Social, economic and cultural rights
  3. Solidarity rights (They pertain to the whole community).
  1. Civil and political rights

They refer to rights that enable the individual pursue their values and interests without state intervention. They include the rights to vote, to think and to have access to information.

  1. Social, economic and cultural rights

These rights require the state to make specific actions to facilitate their enjoyment e.g. it’s supposed to provide education, medical care, employment, protection etc.

These rights include right to own property, right to work, start or form a family, education etc.

  1. Solidarity rights

They are rights that require the state to come up with policies which do not destroy natural resources but instead create conditions that are peaceful. They focus on the whole country.

They include right to a clean environment, peace and development. They are long-term and require heavy government investment.

Monitoring of human rights is done by

  1. Law enforcement officers, i.e. the Police
  2. Lawyers and judges, teachers
  3. Trade unions
  4. Journalists
  5. Religious organizations
  6. Associations e.g. business women groups etc.

The aim of monitoring them is to ensure that they are not violated.

Characteristics of human rights

  1. They are universal i.e. are enjoyed by all
  2. They are indivisible i.e. one right cannot be applied if the other does not exists.
  3. They have limitations e.g. in the process of enjoying the right to life, one should not interfere with the same right for others.
  4. Derogation of human rights i.e. the can be suspended if circumstances dictate e.g. during war or outbreak of disease e.g. Ebola.

United Nations Charter on Human rights

On 10th December 1948, UN General Assembly adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was meant to promote social progress, better living standards and more freedom.

The document has the following as basic human rights:

Principles outlined in the bill of rights

  1. Right to self-determinatione. one is free to determine their political status and to pursue their political, economic, social and cultural development. They have a right to vote.
  2. Each signatory state to the covenant undertakes to respect and ensure that all individuals within its territory enjoy the rights outlined in the covenant without any discrimination based on race colour, gender, language, religion
  3. All human beings are born free and equal.
  4. There should be no restriction on any of the fundamental human rights
  5. All have a right to life. In Kenya death penalty is meted out to those above 18yrs for serious crimes such as robbery with violence, murder, treason etc.
  6. Freedom to found or start a family. Race, nationality or religion should not be a limit.
  7. No one should be held in slavery or servitude (forced labour)
  8. Right to liberty and security
  9. Nobody should be subjected to torture or cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment.
  10. Freedom of movement, assembly, association and residence.
  11. Equal treatment before courts. One has a right to fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.
  12. Every one shall have the right to recognition as a person before the law
  13. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary search or interference in their privacy family or correspondence.
  14. Everyone has a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religious
  15. Everyone has a right to hold opinion without interference
  16. Everyone has a right to seek and enjoy political asylum from persecution in other countries.
  17. The right to peaceful assembly and association
  18. Right to social security
  19. Everyone has a right to rest and leisure including public holidays and working hours.
  20. Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of oneself and of a family.
  21. Everyone has a right to education. Elementary education shall be compulsory.
  22. Everyone has a right to participate in cultural life of the community, to enjoy arts e.g. drama.
  23. Everyone is expected to perform duties in the community that enable him/her develop his personality

Importance of the UN Charter on Human rights

  1. The Charter has led to establishment and maintenance of peace and security. If human rights are violated, there can’t be peace in a nation. Violation of human rights will lead to conflicts, displacement, refugee problem and human suffering.
  2. Respect for human rights can promote good governance, free from discrimination and corruption.
  3. Respect of human rights promotes development. Education, health and housing can be developed If there is respect for human rights.
  4. Eradication of poverty can be done when there is good governance, democracy, rule of law, non-discrimination and constant attention to implementation of basic human rights.
  5. Prevention of terrorism can also be achieved by protecting human rights.
  6. Equal and fair treatment of persons can prevent conflicts. Strategies for conflict prevention must be built integrally upon strategies that promote and protect human rights.
  7. Promotion and protection of human rights will promote peace-making (peace-keeping and peace-building)
  8. The provision of humanitarian assistance in times of natural disaster by World Food Programme etc is also made possible where there is respect for human rights.
  9. Promotion of the rights of women and their empowerment is possible where there is respect for human rights. Women champion their rights during their fora such as Women’s Day, Women global conference and UN Development Fund for Women.
  10. The Charter also champions the rights of vulnerable groups such as migrant workers, abused children and persons with disabilities.

The Kenyan Bill of Rights

Kenyan Bill of rights is a statement of human or civil rights in the constitution of Kenya. The Bill of rights are contained in chapter 4 of the constitution. They are enshrined in the constitution to ensure that everyone enjoys their civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

These rights form the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in Kenya. The Kenyan government has an obligation to protect the rights and freedoms outlined in the Bill of rights.

Protecting human rights and fundamentals freedoms helps to preserve the dignity of individuals and communities and also promotes social justice and realization of full potential of human beings.

Application of the Bill of Rights to specific groups

  1. Children

A child refers to a person who has not attained the age of 18 years. Children rights refer to the rights that children are entitled to and they can legally claim from the state.

The rights of children are contained in the United Nations convention on the Rights of the Child

The term convention means an individual agreement signed by many nations. A signatory of any convention must obey what is contained in the agreement.

The international agreement on the rights of the child was put in place in 1990.However it was difficult to agree on what was to be included as different societies have different beliefs on how children should be brought up.

There are four main kinds of children’s rights.

  1. Survival rights

This refers to the rights that are basic and very necessary for the survival of the child, i.e.

  1. Right to life
  2. Right to a name and nationality from birth
  3. Good medical care
  4. Good clothing
  5. Good shelter f) Right to good food
  1. Development Rights

This means the development of the child’s mind intellectually, body physically and soul morally/emotionally. Development rights include:-

  1. Free and compulsory basic education
  2. Play and leisure
  3. Access to information and Social security
  4. Right to parental care and protection
  1. Rights to protection
  2. Protection from abuse and neglect
  3. Protection from harmful cultural practices, discrimination and all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment
  4. Protection from exploitative labour
  5. Protection from detention

Children have the right to express themselves, right to association, thought and opinion, and contribution towards community development.

Other rights include Right to adoption, special protection and assistance.

  1. Persons with disabilities

These include the physically handicapped, visually impaired, hearing impaired and mentally impaired. Such people have right to

  1. Treatment with dignity and respect and addressed in proper manner
  2. Access to educational institutions and facilities for persons with disabilities.
  3. Reasonable access to all places, public transport and information
  4. Use the Sign Language, Braille or other appropriate means of communication
  5. Access materials and devices to overcome constraints arising from the persons disability e.g. hearing aids, wheelchairs, walking sticks etc
  1. The Youth

The youth are collectively all individuals in the republic who have attained the age of 18years and are below 30 years. They have the following rights

  1. Access to relevant education and training
  2. Opportunities to associate, be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life
  3. Access to employment
  4. Protection from harmful cultural practices and exploitation e.g. drug and substance abuse.
  1. Minorities and Marginalized groups

This group refers to people who are disadvantaged by discrimination on one or more grounds of race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin etc. Marginalized communities include

  1. A community with small population which is unable to fully participate in the integrated social and economic life of Kenya
  2. A traditional community which has remained outside the integrated Kenyan society because of their unique culture
  3. An Indigenous community that maintains a traditional lifestyle and livelihood based on hunter gatherer economy
  4. Pastoral persons and nomadic people who have settled in particular geographical isolation.

Such groups have the following rights:

  1. Being represented in governance. Right to elect leaders
  2. To be provided with special opportunities in education and economic fields
  3. They are offered special opportunities for access to employment
  4. Freedom to develop their cultural values, language and practices
  5. They should have reasonable access to water, health services and infrastructure.
  1. Older members of the society

They have a right to

  1. Fully participate in affairs of the society
  2. Pursue their personal development
  3. Live in dignity and respect, and be free from abuse
  4. Receive reasonable care and assistance from their immediate family members and the state.
  1. Arrested persons

In the event of being arrested, the person is entitled to the following rights

  1. To be informed promptly in appropriate language the reason for arrest
  2. To remain silent
  3. To communicate with an advocate and other persons whose assistance is necessary
  4. Not to be compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against you
  5. To be held separately from persons who are serving a sentence
  6. To be brought before a court as soon as possible, less than 24 hours
  7. To be released on bond or bail, on reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial.
  1. Detained, held in custody or imprisoned

The constitution provides that a person who is detained under the law retains all possible rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of rights, except under some exceptions, like freedom of movement.

Such person should not be subjected to inhumane treatment.

The Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission (KNHREC)


  1. To protect the sovereignty of the people
  2. To ensure secure observance by all State organs of democratic values and principles
  3. To promote constitutionalism

Functions of KNHREC

  1. To promote respect for human rights and develop a culture of human rights in the republic
  2. To promote gender equality and equity generally.
  3. To promote the protection and observance of human rights in public and private institutions
  4. To monitor, investigate and report on the observance of human rights in all areas of life
  5. To receive and investigate complaints about abuses of human rights.
  6. To investigate or research a matter in respect of human rights and make recommendations to improve the functioning of state organs
  7. To ensure compliance with obligations under treaties and conventions relating to human rights
  8. To investigate complaints of abuse of power, unfair treatment, manifest injustice or unlawful, oppressive, unfair or unresponsive official conduct.

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