Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic. The President is both the head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly and the Senate. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. There was growing concern especially during former president Daniel Arap Moi’s tenure that the executive was increasingly meddling with the affairs of the judiciary.
Kenya ranks low on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), a metric which attempts to gauge the prevalence of public sector corruption in various countries. In 2012, the nation placed 139th out of 176 total countries in the CPI, with a score of 27/100. However, there are several rather significant developments with regards to curbing corruption from the Kenyan government, for instance, the establishment of a new and independent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
Following general elections held in 1997, the Constitution of Kenya Review Act designed to pave the way for more comprehensive amendments to the Kenyan constitution was passed by the national parliament.
In December 2002, Kenyans held democratic and open elections, most of which were judged free and fair by international observers. The 2002 elections marked an important turning point in Kenya’s democratic evolution in that power was transferred peacefully from the Kenya African National Union (KANU), which had ruled the country since independence to the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), a coalition of political parties.
Under the presidency of Mwai Kibaki, the new ruling coalition promised to focus its efforts on generating economic growth, combating corruption, improving education, and rewriting its constitution. A few of these promises have been met. There is free primary education. In 2007, the government issued a statement declaring that from 2008, secondary education would be heavily subsidised, with the government footing all tuition fees.
2013 elections and new government
Kenyan general election, 2013; Kenyan presidential election, 2013; Kenya National Assembly elections, 2013; Kenya Senate elections, 2013; Kenya gubernatorial elections, 2013; Kenya Women Representatives elections, 2013; and Kenya County Representative elections, 2013
Under the new constitution and with President Kibaki prohibited by term limits from running for a third term, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta ran for office. He won with 50.51% of the vote in March 2013.
In December 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a Security Laws Amendment Bill, which supporters of the law suggested was necessary to guard against armed groups. Opposition politicians, human rights groups, and nine Western countries criticised the security bill, arguing that it infringed on democratic freedoms. The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France also collectively issued a press statement cautioning about the law’s potential impact. Through the Jubilee Coalition, the Bill was later passed on 19 December in the National Assembly under acrimonious circumstances.
Foreign relations of Kenya
Kenya has close ties with its fellow Swahili-speaking neighbours in the African Great Lakes region. Relations with Uganda and Tanzania are generally strong, as the three nations work toward economic and social integration through common membership in the East African Community.
Relations with Somalia have historically been tense, although there has been some military co-ordination against Islamist insurgents. Kenya has good relations with the United Kingdom. Kenya is one of the most pro-American nations in Africa, and the wider world.
With International Criminal Court trial dates scheduled in 2013 for both President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto related to the 2007 election aftermath, US President Barack Obama chose not to visit the country during his mid-2013 African trip. Later in the summer, Kenyatta visited China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping after a stop in Russia and not having visited the United States as president. In July 2015 Obama visited Kenya, the first American president to visit the country while in office.
Kenya Defence Forces
The Kenya Defence Forces are the armed forces of the Republic of Kenya. The Kenya Army, Kenya Navy and Kenya Air Force compose the National Defence Forces. The current Kenya Defence Forces were established, and its composition laid out, in Article 241 of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya; the KDF is governed by the Kenya Defence Forces Act of 2012. The President of Kenya is the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces.
The armed forces are regularly deployed in peacekeeping missions around the world. Further, in the aftermath of the national elections of December 2007 and the violence that subsequently engulfed the country, a commission of inquiry, the Waki Commission, commended its readiness and adjudged it to “have performed its duty well.” Nevertheless, there have been serious allegations of human rights violations, most recently while conducting counter-insurgency operations in the Mt Elgon area and also in the district of Mandera central.
Kenya’s 47 counties.
Kenya’s armed forces, like many government institutions in the country, have been tainted by corruption allegations. Because the operations of the armed forces have been traditionally cloaked by the ubiquitous blanket of “state security”, the corruption has been hidden from public view, and thus less subject to public scrutiny and notoriety. This has changed recently. In what are by Kenyan standards unprecedented revelations, in 2010, credible claims of corruption were made with regard to recruitment and procurement of Armoured Personnel Carriers. Further, the wisdom and prudence of certain decisions of procurement have been publicly questioned.
Counties of Kenya and Divisions of Kenya
Kenya is divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties that are headed by governors. These 47 counties now form the first-order divisions of Kenya.
The smallest administrative units in Kenya are called locations. Locations often coincide with electoral wards. Locations are usually named after their central villages/towns. Many larger towns consist of several locations. Each location has a chief, appointed by the state.
Constituencies are an electoral subdivision, with each county comprising a whole number of constituencies. An Interim Boundaries commission was formed in year 2010 to review the constituencies and in its report, it recommended creation of an additional 80 constituencies. Previous to the 2013 elections, there were 210 constituencies in Kenya.
Human rights in Kenya and LGBT rights in Kenya
Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years in prison though the state often turns a blind eye on prosecuting homosexuals. According to 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 90% of Kenyans believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society. While addressing a joint press conference together with President Barack Obama in 2015, President Kenyatta declined to assure Kenya’s commitment to gay rights saying that “the issue of gay rights is really a non-issue.” “But there are some things that we must admit we don’t share. Our culture, our societies don’t accept.”
In November 2008, Wiki Leaks brought wide international attention to The Cry of Blood report. In the report, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) reported these in their key finding “e)”, stating that the forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings appeared to be official policy sanctioned by the political leadership, the Police.The police often shoot suspected gangsters in public as a new “strategy” to fight the rising levels of crime in the country in total disregard of the laws.