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Kenya is a sovereign Republic with a multi-party democratic system of government founded on the
national values and principles of governance as enumerated in the Constitution of Kenya. These are:
  • Patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and
    participation of the people.
  • Human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination.
    and protection of the marginalized.
  • Good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.
  • Sustainable development.
There are two levels of Government, national and county government levels. These governments are
distinct and inter-dependent and conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultations and

The territory of Kenya is divided into 47 Counties. These Counties 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, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira and Nairobi City.

The Counties are further divided into administrative areas called Constituencies. Presently, there
are 290 Constituencies. This changed recently in 2012 after the additional 80 Constituencies were
created under the new Constitutional dispensation.

National Symbols and National Holidays

The national symbols of the Republic of Kenya are:
  • The National Flag
  • The National Anthem
  • The Coat of Arms
  • The Public Seal
The National Days (which are also Public Holidays) of the Republic of Kenya are:
  • Madaraka Day, observed on 1st June
  • Mashujaa Day, observed on 20th October
  • Jamhuri Day observed on 12th December
(Note: Under Kenya’s Constitution, a National Day shall be a public holiday. The Parliament of Kenya may enact legislation to prescribe other public holidays, and observance of public holidays).

Arms of the Government of Kenya

The Government of Kenya is divided into three (3) arms. These are:

The National Assembly (Parliament)

Once the current  Parliament's term (2007-2012) ends , the next Parliament of Kenya will consist of the National Assembly with 290 members of Parliament and the Senate with 47 members each elected by the registered voters of each County. A general election of MPs shall be held on 2nd Tuesday of August in every fifth year. The first election under the new constitution will take place in later this year, 2012.

The Parliament represents the people of the Constituencies and special interests in the National Assembly. Parliament therefore manifests the diversity of Kenya, represents the will of Kenyans and exercises their sovereignty. The role of Parliament of Kenya is therefore to:
  • Deliberate on and resolve issues of concern to the people of Kenya
  • Enacting legislation in accordance with the Constitution
  • Determine the allocation of national revenue between the different levels of government
  • Appropriating funds for expenditure by the national government and other State organs
  • Excise oversight over national revenue and its expenditure
  • Reviews the conduct in office of the President, the Deputy President and other State Officers and initiates the process of removing them from office
  • Exercises oversight of State organs
  • Approves declarations of war and extensions of state of emergency.

The Executive

The National Executive of the Republic of Kenya comprises the President, the Deputy President and the Cabinet that reflects regional and ethnic diversity of the people of Kenya.The President is the Head of State and Government who exercises the executive authority of Kenya with assistance of his Deputy and the Cabinet. The president is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces, chairperson of the National Security Council and is a symbol of national unity.

Presidential Elections:
For a candidate to be declared elected as President of Kenya, he should be the only nominated candidate for the Presidency. If two or more candidates for President are nominated, an election shall be held in each of the 290 constituencies. The winning Presidential candidate should receive more than half of all votes cast in a national election and at least 25 % of the votes cast in each of more than half of the Counties that is, 24 Counties.
If no candidate is elected, a fresh election is to be held within 30 days after the previous election. Only candidates who received the greatest number of votes and the next candidate with the second greatest votes compete. The candidate with the greatest votes is declared the winner after the run-off election.
The Cabinet: Consists of the President, Deputy President, the Attorney General and not fewer than 14 and not more than 24 Cabinet Secretaries (Ministers).

Devolved Government

Under the New Constitution, there will also be a devolved Government. The objectives of Kenya’s devolved Government include:

  • Promotion of democratic and accountability in exercise of power,
  • Fostering of national unity through recognition of diversity,
  • Giving powers of self governance to the people to enhance participation through decision making process,
  • Promotion of social and economic development at all levels,
  • Ensuring of equitable sharing of national resources and
  • Facilitation of decentralization of State organs, their functions and services from the Capital of Kenya and
  • To enhance checks and balances and the separation of powers.

County Governments: There is a County Government for each of the 47 Counties. The government consists of a County Assembly and a County Executive. A County Assembly consists of embers elected by registered members of each Ward constituting a single member constituency and the Speaker who is an ex officio member. The assembly is elected for a term of 5 years.


The judicial authority is derived from the people of Kenya and vests in, and shall be exercised by, the Courts and Tribunals established by or under the new Constitution of Kenya. Under Article 161 of the Constitution, the Judiciary is independent and shall be subject only to the Constitution and the law and not subject to the control or direction of any person or authority.

The head of the Judiciary is the Chief Justice assisted by the Deputy Chief Justice, while the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary is the chief administrator and accounting officer of the Judiciary. The Judiciary consists of the Judges of the Superior Courts, Magistrates, other Judicial Officers and Staff.

System of Courts

The Superior Courts are: the Supreme Court of Kenya, the Court of Appeal, the High Court and other Courts with status of High Court to hear and determine disputes relating to employment and labour relations; the environment and the use and occupation of, and title to, land.

The Subordinate Courts are: the Magistrates Courts, the Kadhis’ courts, Court Martial and any other Court or Local Tribunal as may be established by an act of the Parliament of the Republic of Kenya.


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