Kenya Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Kenya Basic Information

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The Republic of Kenya is a unitary state divided into 47 regions. The country is governed by the central government and 47 regional governments, which, according to the constitution, work closely together in the administration of the country. Since 1992, Kenya has been a pluralistic state whose political system is based on the competition of political parties. Kenya has had a bicameral parliament since 2013. The National Assembly has a total of 349 members plus a chairman. According to Article 95 of the Constitution, the National Assembly consists of 290 deputies, each elected by voters in single-member constituencies; 47 women deputies, each of whom is elected by voters in the regions, with each region forming one electoral district; 12 MPs nominated by parliamentary political parties, depending on their representation in the National Assembly, who represent special interests, including youth, persons with disabilities and workers; and the chairman, who is an ex-offo member of parliament. The Senate consists of 67 senators and a president. Article 98 of the constitution states that the Senate consists of 47 senators, each of whom is elected by voters in the regions, each region constituting one constituency; 16 female senators who are nominated by political parties depending on their representation in the Senate; 2 senators (one man and one woman) representing the youth; 2 senators (one man and one woman) representing persons with disabilities; and the President, who is an ex officio senator. Deputies and senators have a five-year term of office. The executive power consists of the President of the Republic of Kenya together with the Vice President and Ministers (Cabinet Secretary). The President proposes ministers, the proposals must be approved by the National Assembly. Ministers cannot be MPs or senators. The president is directly elected for a five-year term. The successful candidate must receive at least 50% of the vote (+1) and at least 25% of the vote in half of the 47 regions. Kenya has held elections – presidential, parliamentary and municipal – every 5 years, as required by the constitution, regularly since independence in 1963. The country has never experienced a civil war or a violent coup d’état. On 4 March 2013, Kenya held its first general election under the new constitution promulgated in August 2010. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was elected as the fourth president of the Republic of Kenya, with William Samoei Ruto as vice president. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and William Samoei Ruto were re-elected as Jubilee candidates on 26 October 2017. The next general election will be held on 8 August 2022 and U. Kenyatta is constitutionally barred from running for president. The planned adoption of partial constitutional reforms was rejected by the Kenyan Supreme Court.

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

System of government: presidential republic President Uhuru Kenyatta will complete his second term in August 2022 and is constitutionally barred from running for re-election. The domestic political situation is significantly influenced by the permanent election campaign leading to the presidential elections, which are planned for August 2022. The most significant domestic political event since the 2017 elections, which has become the main axis of all political events in the country, is the spectacular reconciliation between long-time political rivals Uhuru Kenyatta, who won the election, and the defeated candidate, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The main presidential candidates are Raila Odinga supported by President Kenyatta and the current Vice President William Ruto. Kenya can be seen as the only country in the East African region with relatively well-functioning democratic institutions. Check cancermatters to learn more about Kenya political system.

According to the 2010 Constitution, the Government of Kenya is divided into Judicial, Executive, Legislative and Indirect Government.

The executive power in the country is held by the president, the vice-president and the government cabinet. The President is the Head of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces and Chairman of the National Security Committee. http://www.statehousekenya.go.ke

The Deputy President is the President’s chief assistant. www.deputypresident.go.ke

The Kenyan Parliament has two chambers – the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly has a total of 349 members plus a chairman. http://www.bunge.go.ke/

The judiciary in Kenya is divided between Superior Courts and Subordinate Courts. Superiors are the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal (Appeal) and the High Court. Subordinate Courts are Magistrates Courts, Kadhi Court (Muslim Inheritance and Family Law Court), Military Courts and Tribunals http://www.judiciary.go.ke/

The Indirect Government (The Devolved Government) is, according to the Constitution, divided into 47 provinces, which have their own Government. Provincial governments consist of the County Assembly and the County Executive. The executive government of the province is headed by the Governor of the province. The provinces in Kenya are: Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu, Taita-Taveta, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo, Meru, Tharaka-Nithi, Embu, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Nandi, Baringo, Laikipia, Nakuru, Narok, Kajiado, Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira and Nairobi.

Composition of the government (temporary until the August elections, many ministers are already leaving their positions as they will run for new positions):

President: Uhuru Kenyatta Deputy president: William Ruto Agriculture & irrigation: Peter Munya Defence: Monica Juma Devolution & arid lands: Eugene Wamalwa East African Community: Peter Munya Education: George Magoha Energy: Charles Keter Environment & forestry: Keriaki Tobiko Foreign affairs: Raychelle Omamo Health: Mutahi Kagwe Industrialization & enterprise development: Betty Maina Information, communication & technology: Joe Mucheru Interior & government co-ordination: Fred Matiangi Land, housing & urban development: Farida Karoni Mining & petroleum: John Munyes National Treasury: Ukur Yatani Public service: Margaret Kobia Sports & heritage: Rashid Achesa Mohammed Tourism: Najib Balala Transport, infrastructure & housing: James Macharia Central bank governor: Patrick Njoroge

Foreign policy of the country

Kenya has long been building an image of a problem-free and non-conflict country and focuses primarily on the African Union and the East African Community (EAC). With regard to problematic neighboring countries (Somalia, South Sudan), Kenya is involved in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM), where it contributes approximately 3,500 troops. Check prozipcodes for Kenya defense and foreign policy.

Kenya is very active in multilateral organizations. It has good relations with Western countries, but also with China and Russia.

Kenya’s performance and opportunities within the EAC are determined by poor relations among the members themselves. E.g. for political and representative reasons, summits of EAC heads of state are often postponed, trade relations and transport are blocked by the very cold relations between Uganda and Rwanda and Rwanda and Burundi, during the reign of President Magufuli in Tanzania, there were not exactly friendly relations between Kenya and Tanzania (which changed with the onset of the new presidents changed significantly). Some EAC states are blocking the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, which Kenya is primarily paying for. After years of waiting and obstruction, Kenya has decided to negotiate an EPA with the EU on its own.

Kenya managed to secure the post of EAC Secretary General for its candidate at a virtual summit in February 2021. Kenya is the most responsible contributor to the EAC budget, but it also takes steps that are perceived as highly controversial by other countries (signing a separate EPA with Great Britain, negotiating an FTA with the USA).

In terms of bilateral relations in the region, Kenya does not have cordial relations with any of its neighbours. The most complicated situation remains in relations with Somalia, with which it has a protracted maritime border dispute at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Relations are also permanently burdened by serious security, political and commercial problems. Kenya uses its troops within AMISOM not only to fight with members of the Al-Shabaab movement in the area near the border, but also to influence the complicated internal political events in Somalia. In December 2020, Somalia even severed diplomatic relations with Kenya (and re-established them in May 2021).

Kenya is very active in multilateral organizations. After a strong campaign, she managed to succeed in the elections in the UN General Assembly and get a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the years 2021-22. In the RB, Kenya promotes, among other things, the strengthening of multilateralism and the support of peace operations. Kenya is ambitious in multilateral organizations – for example, in 2020 it also submitted the candidacy of former foreign minister A. Mohamed for the position of Secretary General of the World Trade Organization, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

Nairobi is home to the only UN office in the ‘Global South’ and Kenya is rightly proud of this fact. However, the only practical impact of the presence of the UN Environment Program and UN-Habitat agencies for the inhabitants of the capital is mainly income related to the high number of foreign workers and, in normal times, also from congress tourism.

Relations with the US are mainly based on security cooperation (fighting terrorism, strengthening the capacities of the Kenyan security forces), support for the Kenyan government’s anti-corruption efforts, and mutual trade. This is still ongoing under the AGOA (African Growth Opportunity Act) regime, but its validity will expire in September 2025. The EPA with Great Britain was negotiated very quickly, which shows the strong motivation and highly above-standard relations between the two countries, which were further strengthened by Brexit. The agreement with the UK gives other EAC countries the option to accede to it during a transitional five-year period.

Population

Population: 4million

Average annual growth rate: 2.11%

Average age of residents: 20 years

Demographic composition: 50% male, 50% female

National composition: over 42 ethnic groups (nations, nationalities and tribes) plus numerically minimal but economically significant members of Asian, Arab and European minorities; groups speaking Bantu languages: Kikuyu (22%), Luhya (14%), Kamba (11%), Kisii (6%), Meru (6%); Nilotic language group – Luo (13%), Kalenjin (12%), other African population (15%), i.e. Maasai and Cushitic language group – Somalis and others, then non-African population (1%) Asians, Europeans and Arabs.

Religious composition: Protestants (51%) Catholics (26.%), Muslims (11%) traditional religions (10%) others (2%)