Constitution of Kenya

Status: Republic with executive President

Legislature: Parliament of Kenya

Independence: 12 December 1963

The constitution in force until August 2010 had been amended many times since the republic was formed in December 1964. It provided for the unicameral National Assembly consisting of 210 members directly elected every five years and 12 non-constituency members appointed by the President, plus the Speaker and Attorney-General. The multiparty system was introduced in December 1991.
The President – directly elected and limited to two five-year terms – is Head of State, head of the cabinet and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and appoints the Vice-President and cabinet. However, under the internationally-brokered power-sharing agreement, a grand coalition government, comprising President and the new post of Prime Minister, was established in March 2008.

A commission was set up in 2000 to draw up a new constitution, which – following a constitutional court ruling in March 2004 – would be subject to a national referendum. Draft constitutions were discussed at a series of constitutional conferences. The new constitution that was approved by the National Assembly in April 2010, endorsed by the electorate in the national referendum on 4 August 2010 and promulgated on 27 August 2010 provides for reduction of the President’s power; abolition of the post of Prime Minister (after the next election); an expanded National Assembly (to 350 seats); creation of a Senate; significant devolution of power to new county authorities (to be overseen by the senate); recognition of faith courts; a bill of rights; and creation of a Supreme Court, a new anti-corruption agency, and an independent land commission to promote land reform.

These new provisions were to be implemented in a timetable spanning up to five years, most provisions to come into force after the elections of March 2013. The implementation process is being overseen by two bodies, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution and the Commission on Revenue Allocation.