Compare and contrast the approaches Jomo Kenyatta took to promote independence in Kenya and Mohandas Ghandi in India? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one similarity between the approaches that both leaders took with regards to their nations' fight for freedom was their personal identification with the cause of independence.  Both figures were synonymous with the struggle and fight for freedom.  Kenyatta was seen as the sole leader for Kenyan independence.  While there might have been factionalization in terms of tribal affiliations, everyone seemed to agree that there was one leader, one individual, who could be seen as primarily identifiable with the Kenyan cause for independence.  The way in which Kenyatta was seen with the desire for an independent Kenya is the same way that people on the Indian subcontinent came to see Gandhi in representing an independent India.  Gandhi became the face of the independent nation.  "The Mahatma" or "Great Soul," was seen as the singular representation to drive the British in the Indian independence movement.  Both leaders were identifiable with their campaigns for their nations' freedom.

One distinct difference would be the path their lives took after the drive for independence was achieved.  Kenyatta went on to being a political force in the independent Kenya. The relative purity of the independence movement was replaced by the taint of politics.  Kenyatta had to make deals and negotiations as he demonstrated the difference between striving for independence and maintaining it.  A recent report concluded that part of the deals struck involved Kenyatta making himself and his associates wealthy at the expense of many Kenyans, encouraging a culture of political corruption that still exists in Kenya today.  

Gandhi understood the dangers of politics fairly early on, which is why he never really assumed a leadership role in the nation after independence was achieved.  Even if his assassination did not happen so quickly after independence, it would have been unlikely that an entry into politics would have been warranted.  Gandhi's sense of moral righteousness was something that he preached, even superseding the cause of independence.  For Gandhi, the drive for political freedom was rooted in a moral condition of righteousness.  Kenyatta did not advocate freedom in such terms, constructing the political notion of freedom as more important than all else.  It might be for this reason that Gandhi's position prevented him from fully engaging in politics while Kenyatta's was more practical and pragmatic to make a transition into politics understandable and easier to facilitate.

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