Kenyans were allowed to participate in politics with what started as LegCo. Bernard Mate, Masinde Muliro, James Muimi, Daniel Moi, and others became some of the first native Politicians In Kenya to represent their constituents.
With Kenya’s independence in 1963, most joined Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to form the first government under self-rule.
Most of the very first politicians in Kenya have passed on or retired from active politics. Let us look at some of the longest-serving politicians in Kenya.
1. James Orengo
Senior Counsel James Orengo is a household name in Kenya. Not only is he a popular politician but also a formidable lawyer.
Orengo first joined politics in 1980 when he was elected as MP of Ugenya Constituency in a by-election. At the age of 29, he became the youngest Kenyan to occupy such office at that time.
Orengo has been active in Kenyan politics ever since. He momentarily lost his seat in 2002 when he vied for the presidency. In 2007 he recaptured it and went ahead to become a powerful lands minister in the coalition government.
He is serving his second term as Siaya senator and reports indicate he might vie for governor in 2022.
2. Kalonzo Musyoka
Musyoka could have become an MP three years after Orengo in 1983 but he was defeated in Kitui North Constituency.
As luck would be, the seat fell vacant two years later and through a by-election, Kalonzo became MP for Kitui North in 1985. He was appointed Assistant Minister for Works, Housing, and Physical Planning.
After1988 elections, he became Deputy Speaker and also KANU organizing secretary a position he held until 2002. From 2007 to 2013 he was Vice President and currently he is among the contenders to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
3. Musalia Mudavadi
Musalia holds the record of the shortest-serving vice president in the country. He became the nation’s second in command for only two months from 4 November 2002 – 3 January 2003.
Musalia first joined politics as a young man in 1989. When his father Moses Mudavadi passed on, Musalia was a student at the University of Nairobi. He momentarily dropped out of campus to succeed his father.
He was elected unopposed as MP for Sabatia Constituency. He represented the constituency from 1989-2002. While he lost his seat in the 2002 general elections, he made a comeback in 2007. Like Kalonzo, he is eyeing to become the country’s fifth president.
4. Moses Wetangula
Moses Wetangula came into the national limelight when he defended the 1982 coup plotters. He had recently resigned as a magistrate just one year after appointment.
Immediately after the cases were concluded, he became one of Moi’s personal lawyers a position he held for a very long time.
In 1992, President Moi nominated Moses Wetangula to parliament. In 1997, he participated in politics and won the Sirisia Parliamentary seat. He was an MP from 1992-2013.
He then vied for Bungoma senatorial post and he is currently serving a second term as senator.
5. Raila Odinga
While Raila Odinga started participating in politics in the early 80s, he did that as a private citizen. He was detained for 7 years by President Moi for various charges. He became the longest-serving detainee in Kenyan history.
He has been instrumental in fighting for a multiparty system in Kenya and also a new constitution.
In 1992, Odinga returned to Kenya from Norway where he had been in exile. Raila joined his father in Ford Kenya and vied for Langata parliamentary seat which he won.
He became the first Politicians In Kenya history to serve as an MP at the same time as his father.
Raila Odinga has been in active politics ever since. In 2007, he became the country’s second Prime Minister after the Peace Accord which ushered in a coalition government.
Although he has not yet made a formal announcement, it is widely expected that he will be in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.