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Shvoong Home>Law & Politics>political condition in Kenya Summary

political condition in Kenya

Article Summary   by:onetime    
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Political conditions 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 particularly 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.
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 lead to a split between NAK and LDP, with the former campaigning for a ''Yes'' vote in the past referendum on the constitution and the latter a ''No''. Also supported 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 has signaled a wider re-alignment before the 2007 elections.[BR]GOD BLESS KENYA.
Published: March 23, 2007   
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