Nationalism in East Africa was characterized by a number of features which included:-
It was characterized by rise of political parties. These included Uganda National Congress (which later became- Uganda Peoples’ Congress (U.P.C), Democratic Party (DP) and Kabaka Yekka (KY) all in Uganda, Tanganyika African National Union (TANU in Tanganyika , KADU ( Kenya African Democratic Union) as well as KANU ( Kenya African National Union) in Kenya, among others.
Nationalism in East Africa was led by the few educated Africans such as Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote, Mayanja Nkangi, Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya, and others.
Most of the nationalist activities were centered in towns like Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Kampala and Entebe.
Violent groups were formed to engage the colonialists by force. The most important of these was Mau Mau in Kenya ( 1952-1956)
There were constant arrests and detention of nationalists’ leaders. Kenyatta was imprisoned in 1953, Obote forced out of Makerere College, Nyerere and many others too were detained several times.
Nationalism in East Africa had some Africans supporting the whites and hence opposed to ideas like granting independence to Buganda.
The cold war conflict remained clear among the East African nationalists. Nyerere for instance adopted the socialist ideology through his popular Ujamaa policy.
The press became a key tool of nationalism in East Africa. News papers like MUNNO, Ngabo ( Uganda), radio stations, magazines were used in the spread of nationalist ideas.
Negotiations also characterized African nationalism in east Africa. Constitutional reforms were carried out such as the new constitutions in Kenya like the Lennox-Boyd constitution.
Trade unions were formed to call for workers rights. For example the Young Kikuyu Association in Kenya in 1921