Politics of Kenya: Wikis

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Kenya

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Politics and government of
Kenya



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The Politics of Kenya take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Kenya is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Recent constitutional amendments have enabled sharing of executive powers between the President and a Prime Minister. Executive power is exercised by the government, with powers shared between the President and a Prime Minister, who coordinates and supervises the cabinet. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Contents

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Mwai Kibaki PNU 29 December 2007
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka ODM-K 18 January 2008
Prime Minister Raila Odinga ODM 17 April 2008

The president is elected for a five year term by the people. The constitution of Kenya has three requirements for any candidate to be declared winner:

  • to get the largest number of votes among all contestants nationwide in absolute terms
  • to win at least 25% of the vote in at least five of Kenya's eight provinces
  • to be elected member of parliament in a constituency.

If none of the candidates fulfills all three requirements there is to be a runoff between the two contenders with the highest number of votes.

The president appoints the vice president and cabinet members from among those elected to the National Assembly. Under the power sharing agreement signed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement, the post of prime minister was constitutionally created and ministers appointed to reflect political parties' relative strength in the National Assembly. The Raila Odinga led party, the Orange Democratic Movement is currently the largest party in Kenya's parliament. Under the power-sharing agreement, each of the two major parties also nominated a deputy prime minister.[1] See also: Kenyan ministers.

Legislative branch

The unicameral National Assembly or Bunge has 224 members, 210 members elected for a five year term in single-seat constituencies, 12 members nominated by political parties in proportion to their share of seats won in the single-member constituencies and 2 ex officio members: the attorney general and the speaker.

Kenyan Parliament Building [1]

Political parties and elections

Judicial branch

The judiciary is headed by a High Court, consisting of a chief justice and High Court judges and judges of Kenya's Court of Appeal (no associate judges), all appointed by the president.

Administrative divisions

Local administration is divided among 69 rural districts, each headed by a presidentially appointed commissioner. The districts are joined to form seven rural provinces. The government supervises administration of districts and provinces. The administrative divisions are 8 provinces: Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western.

Political conditions

Political Parade in Lamu, held in July, 2001

Since independence, Kenya has maintained remarkable stability despite changes in its political system and crises in neighboring countries. Particularly since the re-emergence of multiparty democracy, Kenyans have enjoyed an increased degree of freedom.

A cross-party parliamentary reform initiative in the fall of 1997 revised some oppressive laws inherited from the colonial era that had been used to limit freedom of speech and assembly. This improved public freedoms and contributed to generally credible national elections in December 1997.

In December 2002, Kenya held democratic and open elections and elected Mwai Kibaki as their new president. The elections, which were judged free and fair by local and international observers, marked an important turning point in Kenya's democratic evolution. President Kibaki campaigned on a policy of generating economic growth, improving education, combating corruption, and implementing a new constitution, the draft of which was produced by Professor Ghai under the Moi regime. Considerable success has been achieved in the first two policy areas, the constitutional process has become mired (see below) and the fight against corruption has been a disaster. There has been a major scandal (Anglo-Leasing), which the government has failed to investigate, John Githongo the Anti-Corruption head has resigned in protest and donor nations, in particular the British, have made public criticisms of the lack of progress.

Following disagreements between the partners in the current government coalition, constitutional reform has proceeded slower than anticipated. The NAK faction (allied to president Kibaki) favours a centralized presidential system, while the LDP faction - which has fewer parliamentary seats in the coalition than NAK - demands a federal, parliamentary system.

A Kenyan private security officer

Prior to the 2002 election, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)was agreed between NAK and LDP, which laid the basis for the two groups to fight the election under the NARC (Rainbow Alliance) banner. The MoU agreed that a new constitution would be established shortly after the election, which provided for the new role of a strong Prime Minister while weakening the role of President. Raila Odinga, the leader of LDP, maintains aspirations to become Prime Minister. However, the proposed new constitution has been modified by the government from what was written by Professor Ghai and amended by the Bomas committee. This maintains a strong President, who controls a weaker Prime Minister. This has led to a split between NAK and LDP, with the former campaigning for a 'Yes' vote in the forthcoming referendum on the constitution and the latter a 'No'. Also supporting a 'No' vote is the majority of Uhuru Kenyatta's KANU party, the sole party of government from independence to 2002. It is possible that the political alignment over the referendum could signal a wider re-alignment before the 2007 elections.

Internal wrangling within the governing coalition has also negatively affected other crucial areas of governance, notably the planned large-scale privatization of government-owned enterprises.

The 2007 presidential elections were largely believed to have been flawed with international observers stating that they did not meet regional or international standards. Most observers suggest that the tallying process for the presidential results were rigged to the advantage of the incumbent president Mwai Kibaki, despite overwhelming indications that his rival and current Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, won the election. In July 2008, exit polls commissioned by the US government were released, revealing that Odinga had won the election by a comfortable margin of 6%, well outside of the poll's 1.3% margin of error. [2]

There was significant and widespread violence in the country - 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis - following the unprecedented announcement of Kibaki as the winner of the 2007 presidential elections. The two rivals were later united in a grand coalition government following international mediation, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, under a power-sharing National Accord on Reconciliation Act, entrenched in the constitution. Following the agreement, power was shared between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.

References

  1. ^ BBC News - Kenya rivals agree to share power 02.28.08
  2. ^ The Nation, July 8, 2008 http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=2&newsid=127059 US-funded exit poll says Raila won election

International organization participation

Kenya is member of ACP, AfDB, AU C, EADB, ECA, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, ITUC, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMISET, UNMOP, UNU, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

References

External links

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