Government of Kenya
Government of Kenya: Kenya got independence from Britain in 1963. Kenya is in the fourth Presidency since independence in 1963. The need to change the Kenya constitution to be in aline with current global trends bore fruit on August 4, 2010. Finally, Kenya ended a 20 year search for a replacement of the Lancaster constitution that was negotiated between the country’s nationalists and colonialists.
With the new constitution the Kenya government structure will change fundamentally. Kenya will adopt a fully presidential system of government, with county government, county assemblies, governors and senators. The Executive and the Legislature will be delinked, unlike in the past where Cabinet ministers in Kenya were drawn from Parliament.
Kenya Government Structure – Arms of Government in Kenya
In Kenya, the powers of government are traditionally divided into three main organs i.e the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The separation of powers here makes the judiciary more independent however, the legislature, which makes the laws, contains members of the executive (President and the Cabinet Ministers) who are responsible for carrying out the laws.
This is not unusual since the Ministers who are elected members of parliament, are responsible both individually and collectively to the legislature for the administration of their Ministries.
Kenya Government: The Executive
The Executive power is held by the President who is elected by direct popular vote for 5 years. The President is usually assisted by an appointed Vice-President and a Cabinet.
Kenya Government: The Legislature – Parliament, National Assembly
The Parliament of Kenya is a bicameral house consisting of the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly has a total of 349 members plus the Speaker who is an ex-officio. The National Assembly consists of the following:- two hundred and ninety (290) members, each elected by the registered voters of single member constituencies; forty-seven (47) women representatives, each elected by the registered voters of the counties, each county constituting a single member constituency; twelve (12) members nominated by parliamentary political parties according to their proportion of members of the National Assembly to represent special interests including the youth, persons with disabilities and workers; and the Speaker, who is an ex officio member.
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The Senate consists of 67 members plus the Speaker, who is an ex-officio member. It consists of, Forty-seven (47) members each elected by the registered voters of the counties, each county constituting a single member constituency; Sixteen (16) women representatives nominated by political parties according to their proportion of members of the Senate; Two members (2), being one man and one woman, representing the youth; Two (2) members, being one man and one woman, representing persons with disabilities; and The Speaker, is an ex officio member.
Members of the National Assembly are referred as Members of Parliament (MP) while Members of the Senate are referred as Senators. Both the MPs and Senators serve a 5-year term.
Parliamentary politics in Kenya is open, free, fair and highly competitive field. Kenya has indeed held all its general elections – presidential, parliamentary, and local authorities every 5 years as required by the Constitution, without fail since the country attained independence in 1963. On March 4, 2013, Kenya went to a general election, the first ever under the new constitution which was promulgated in August, 2010.
Government of Kenya: The Judiciary
The High Court of Kenya: This Court has unlimited criminal and civil jurisdiction at first instance, and sits as a Court of appeal from subordinate courts in both criminal and civil cases. The high Court is also a Court of admiralty.
Resident Magistrate’s Courts: These have countrywide jurisdiction with powers on punishment by imprisonment or by fine. If presided over by a Chief Magistrate or Senior Resident Magistrate, the Court is empowered to pass any sentence authorized by Law. For certain offenses, a Resident Magistrate may pass minimum sentences authorized by law.
District Magistrate Courts: These are Courts of First, Second and Third Class. They have jurisdiction within the Districts and powers of punishment by imprisonment or by fines.
Kadhi’s Courts have jurisdiction within districts, to determine questions of Islamic Law.