The Party is a product of FORUM FOR THE RESTORATION OF DEMOCRACY (FORD), a pressure group founded by Democrats opposed to single-party rule by KANU in late 1980s early 1990s.
The pressure group’s demand for a multi-party democracy, the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms through advocacy and mass action compelled the government to expunge Section 2(a) from the Constitution of Kenya to give way to the operation of many political parties in the country.
Section 2(a) implanted by KANU in the early 1980s made Kenya a de facto one-party state. It severely limited democratic space and stifled freedom of expression in the country. Expulsions from the Party, kangaroo disciplinary courts, framing and intimidation of divergent opinion holders created fear in the nation. Democrats fled into exile while others were wrongfully detained and tortured at Nyayo House and Kamiti Maximum prison for their critical stances.
The upsurge of over 250 registered political parties(with FORD-Kenya as No. 2)after removal of Section 2(a) is clear evidence of the time-bomb FORD diffused in the country’s political fabric.
Power struggle for the leadership of FORD split the ranks in August 1992 leading to the registration of FORD-Kenya and FORD-Asili. The split denied the formidable opposition clear victory in the December 1992 general elections. KANU got into power with less than 40% votes compared to 60% divided votes for the opposition. The mistake was corrected in 2002 general elections when the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) won the general elections through FORD-Kenya initiated Breakfast meetings between Hon. Michael Wamalwa Kijana, the Hon. Mwai Kibaki of DP and the Hon. Charity Ngilu of SDP.
In 2007, ‘The Political Parties Act’ was enacted with FORD-Kenya’s initiative to regulate the smooth and meaningful operation of the mushrooming political parties on the scene.
The Act was revised and re-enacted in 2011 to strengthen their national character.