Government of Kenya

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Government of Kenya
Swahili: Serikali ya Kenya
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Formation 1963
Jurisdiction Republic of Kenya
Website http://www.mygov.go.ke/
Legislative branch
Legislature Parliament
Meeting place Parliament Buildings
Executive branch
Leader President of Kenya
Appointer Direct popular vote
Headquarters State House
Main organ Cabinet
(18 Ministries of Kenya)
Judicial branch
Court Supreme Court
Seat Nairobi

The Government of the Republic of Kenya (GoK) is the national government of the republic of Kenya which constitutes of 47 Counties, each county with its own semi-autonomous governments. The national government is composed of three arms: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. Each arm is independent of the other and their individual roles are set by the Constitution of Kenya.

The full name of the country is the "Republic of Kenya". It's official Swahili name is 'Jamhuri ya Kenya'. Other terms such as GoK, GK and Serikali are popularly used to refer to the Kenyan government.

History[edit]

The government was formed in 1963. However, Kenya didn't become a republic until 1964.[1] Initially, the head of government was the Prime Minister who was Jomo Kenyatta. He later on became the President of Kenya.

The current structure of government allows power to be held on two levels. The National level and the county level. This allows the Counties of Kenya a form of autonomy. Before the 2013 elections Kenya was under a central government with 8 provinces.

The country is a democracy the constitution states that the state shall be a multi-party democratic state founded on the national values and principles of governance referred to in Article 10.[2]

The three arms of government are based upon the separation of power of each arm. All arms work to balance each other. Before the 2013 general election the Judiciary wouldn't be considered as independent as it is today. Before the 1992 elections Kenya wasn't a multiparty state and thus all power was centred in the Executive with Daniel arap Moi as President. With all the systems that have been put in place in the years after the 2002 election Kenya could be considered as one of the freest nations.[1]

The Legislature[edit]

Main article: Parliament of Kenya
Parliament Buildings Nairobi

The Legislature is charged with making law. It represents the people.

Parliament of Kenya[edit]

The Parliament of Kenya is the legislative branch of the government. It is bicameral, comprising the National Assembly and the Senate. Prior to the Kenyan general election, 2013 the National Assembly served as a unicameral parliament.

The National Assembly[edit]

The 349 seats of the National Assembly

The National Assembly is made up of 349 Members of Parliament, 290 elected from the constituencies, 47 women elected from the counties and 12 nominated representatives. The speaker serves as an ex officio member. All 349 MPs serve a five-year term. Elections are held at the same time as the General Election.[2]

Each of the 290 MPs receives a maximum of one representative. Qualifications for running for office are that the person has to be registered as a voter, satisfies any educational, moral and ethical requirements prescribed by the Constitution, is nominated by a political party, or is an independent candidate who is supported by at least one thousand registered voters in the constituency in the case of election to the Senate, by at least two thousand registered voters in the county.[2]

According to the constitution the term of each House of Parliament expires on the date of the next general election which is held every five years. With the only exception being that when the country is at war, Parliament may, by resolution supported in each House by at least two-thirds of all the members of the House, from time to time extend the term of Parliament by not more than six months at a time.[2]

Senate[edit]

The Senate

The senate of Kenya is made up of currently 67 senators. The 67 senators consist of 47 First Past the Post (1 from each county no matter the geographical or population size), 20 co-opted and 1 ex-officio member (the Speaker of the Senate). [2]

The political parties as required by the Constitution nominated an additional 16 women. Other nominations were made for two youth representatives and two representatives for persons with disabilities.The Speaker, who is an ex officio member, was elected by the Senators sworn in on the first sitting of the Senate.[2]

The Executive[edit]

The Executive is charged with enforcing the law. The executive branch consists of the President, the Deputy President and the Cabinet. Cabinet meetings are held with the Attorney General present.[2]

President[edit]

Main article: President of Kenya
The Presidential Standard

The President is the head of state and government, as in most republics. He is also the Commander-in-chief of the Kenya Defence Forces.[2]

The President has the power to appoint every leader within the executive including Cabinet Secretaries and the Attorney General.

The incumbent is Uhuru Kenyatta son of the first President, Jomo Kenyatta. Kenya has had a total of 4 presidents. Two of the former Presidents, Mwai Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi are still alive. The longest serving president was Daniel arap Moi who served for a total of 24 years.[3]

The National Assembly with at least a third of all the members, may set in motion an act to impeach the President. The National Assembly may do so on the grounds of gross violation of the Constitution or any other law, where there is reasons to believing that the President has committed a crime under national or international law or for gross misconduct.[2]

If the motion to impeach passes in the National Assembly the act to impeach moves to the Senate and if at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate vote to uphold any impeachment charge, the President shall cease to hold office.

Deputy President[edit]

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Kenya
Foreign relations

The Deputy President is the second-highest executive office in the republic. The position before the 2013 general election was known as the Vice-President of Kenya. There have been 11 deputy presidents since independence.

The incumbent is William Ruto who as Uhuru Kenyatta is part of the Jubilee Alliance. The first person to hold the position was Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. The 8th person to hold the office, Michael Kijana Wamalwa was the first and only person to pass away while in office.[4] George Saitoti has held the position twice on separate occasions

The Deputy President's functions are to be the main assistant to the President and shall deputise for the President in the execution of the President’s functions. He must be qualified to become president in order to take the office as he is first in line in the order of presidential succession.[2]

The Deputy President as the president is limited to two terms in office.

The Cabinet[edit]

The Government is ran by the Ministries of Kenya. The constitution limits the number of Ministries to a minimum of 14 and maximum of 22. The heads of the ministries are known as Cabinet Secretaries who are all nominated by the President. The President has power to assign and dismiss a Cabinet Secretary.[2]

A Cabinet Secretary cannot be an MP and their deputies are known as Principal Secretaries.

All civil servants e.g. teachers in public schools or diplomats fall under one of the ministries in the Cabinet.

The Judiciary[edit]

Main article: Judiciary of Kenya

The Judiciary is charged with applying and upholding the law. This is done through a legal system consisting of courts.

The Court System[edit]

Supreme Court Buildings

The Judiciary is led by the Chief Justice who is currently Willy Mutunga. The highest court is the Supreme Court. According to the constitution all courts, other than the Supreme Court, are bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court.

The other courts are the Court of Appeal, the High Court which hears almost every type of case.[2]

The subordinate courts consist of the Magistrates courts, the Kadhi courts, the Courts Martial and any other court or local tribunal as may be established by an Act of Parliament, other than the currently established courts.

The President has the power to appoint the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice, in accordance with the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and subject to the approval of the National Assembly. The President can also appoint all other judges.

Elections and voting[edit]

Main article: Elections in Kenya
Map of the Counties of Kenya

Elections in Kenya that predate 1992 weren't multiparty elections. On independence, Kenya voted for Kenyatta as President. However, over the next few years Kenya slowly transitioned from being a democracy to being an one party state. Kenyatta's regime greatly oversaw the gradual limitation of the democratic system. Kenyatta passed away in 1978, his vice President Moi took over and in 1982 the country was officially made a one-party state with every other party being outlawed. This was met by resistance over the next decade or so. In 1992 Kenya's first multiparty elections were held.[1]

Ever since then elections have been held every 5 years. In 2013 the general election paved the way for semi autonomy of the 47 counties of Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta, the incumbent won and his coalition the Jubilee Alliance now controls the majority in both houses of Parliament i.e. the National Assembly and the Senate.

The state allows universal suffrage based on the aspiration for fair representation and equality. The only people not allowed to vote are people convicted of an election offence during the preceding five years. Elections in Kenya are overseen by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

County governments[edit]

Main article: Counties of Kenya

The Counties of Kenya have devolved functions of the former central government. Each county has its own Governor who is directly elected and thereafter becomes the highest elected official in the county. Each county has its own County Assembly with MCAs (Members of the County Assembly) as representatives.

The powers of the County are provided in Articles 191 and 192, and in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of Kenya and the County Governments Act of 2012.[2]

Functions and duties not assigned by the Constitution automatically become the National governments responsibility.[2]

As opposed to other devolved governments around the world, only the national government may impose income tax, value-added tax, customs duties and other duties on import and export goods and excise tax.

The counties are individually allowed to impose property rates, entertainment taxes and any other tax that it is authorised to impose by an Act of Parliament. [2]

See also[edit]

President
Courts
Law
Counties

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c History of Kenya | Republic of Kenya. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o CONSTITUTION OF KENYA | Republic of Kenya. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Kenya profile | Timeline. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  4. ^ Kenyan vice-president dies in London hospital. Retrieved June 2, 2015.

External links[edit]