A political party is an association of persons whose major aim is to acquire state power.
In East Africa, parties formed included: Kenya African National Union (KANU), Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), Democratic Party (D.P) Uganda National Congress (UNC), and Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC).
Most of these parties were formed and dominated by educated Africans.
Why were political parties formed?
- They were formed to fight for the independence of their respective countries.
- They were also formed to demand greater African representation on the Legislative council.
- Political parties wanted the extension of the voting franchise to the Africans since they had been denied the right to vote.
- The rise of Pan-Africanism also drove Africans to form political parties because they wanted to rule themselves.
- Political parties were also formed as a result of colonial rule and its evils like loss of land, forced labour, heavy taxation.
- They were also formed to fight against European exploitation of African resources like land, labour and minerals.
- The influence of the Second World War was also a factor in the formation of political parties as Africans who had fought in the war came back with the zeal to liberate fellow Africans.
- Political parties were formed to fight for the release of imprisoned political prisoners like KANU was partly formed to fight for the release of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
- Political parties were formed to act as vehicles (platforms or mouthpiece) for airing out African discontent against colonial rule.
- The high levels of poverty and unemployment also forced ex-servicemen to form political parties e.g. General China.
- The rise of African nationalism was also manifested (shown) through the formation of mass political parties.
- Political parties were also formed to fight the discriminatory tendencies of the whites e.g. in education, health and employment.
- Political parties were also formed to demand for the removal of restrictions on the cultivation of cash crops, trade and free movement.