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The Impact of Kenya African Soldiers on the Creation and Evolution of the Pioneer Corps During the Second World War

Meshack Owino


As the Kenya colony began preparations for World War II, a crisis engulfed the newly formed Pioneer Corps at their various bases at Ahero, and Nairobi, Kenya. The main problem was the government's refusal to issue African members of the Pioneer Corps with rifles for military service, among other grievances. Indignant at what they perceived as an affront to their masculinity, the pioneers in Nairobi demanded to know why the government was refusing to arm them with rifles as promised during recruitment. This article therefore helps people to understand and appreciate the power, agency, and initiative of the ordinary people of African to change their lives and societies for the better. When they look at the system under which the pioneers were expected to serve during World War II, they see a system in which the colonial government was expected to give orders and lay down the law while the colonial subjects such as the pioneers automatically followed the orders and obeyed the laws without question.

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Published by the University of Florida Press on behalf of the Association of Global South Studies.