On October 22, 1971 President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta signed into law the ‘Hanging Bill’ saying he supported the public hanging of robbers.
Parliament had approved the Bill that sought hanging to death of robbers who inflicted grievous bodily harm on their victims.
In 1973 the law was amended to allow people convicted of attempted robbery with violence be hanged. The amendment was made after public outcry against increasing incidents of violent robbers.
By 1987, when hanging was abolished, 10 people had been sentenced to death. The last people to be executed were leaders of the 1982 attempted military coup Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka and Pancras Okumu.
In 2003 President Mwai Kibaki commuted to life 195 death row convicts, and an additional 28 were released having served 15-20 years, and had portrayed good behaviour.
In 2009 Kibaki commuted all death penalty sentences to life imprisonment. The move was made to compel condemned prisoners to work since they had been exempted. By early 2015, Kenya had about 4, 000 life sentence prisoners.