Kenya

While Kenya's economy continues to steadily grow, it remains one of the most unequal countries in the world (ranked 146 out of 188 on the Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index in 2016). The country has, since August 2010, been implementing a new Constitution with an expanded Bill of Rights and one of the most ambitious devolution processes anywhere in the world. A large number of functions transferred to 47 newly-created county governments has strengthened accountability and public service delivery at local levels. Looking back on the last seven years, there has been significant progress made over a relatively short period. However, much more still needs to be done to align pre-existing laws with the Constitution and to enact new laws to implement it. Other persistent challenges miring the constitutional implementation process include: corruption, ethnically-based political rivalries, gender inequality, security concerns, and climate change. 

Kenya is a Member Party of IDLO, and since 2010 there has been collaboration with the key agencies in the country responsible for the implementation of key provisions of the Constitution, particularly relating to the Bill of Rights, land and environment, devolution, the judiciary, access to justice and representation of the people. A key component of IDLO’s work also relates to advancing gender equality across the country and operationalizing the gender provisions contained in the Constitution. 

  An overview of IDLO's work in Kenya

 

Supporting Devolution in Kenya

The Constitution of Kenya, adopted in 2010, made way for a new governance system composed of a national government and 47 county governments. Most of the assistance provided to the county governments has been focused on technical support. However, there is also a need to support the preparation of quality draft legislation to the county assemblies so that it meets the constitutional requirements. 

Resolving Electoral Disputes in Kenya

In 2010, the people of Kenya overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new Constitution, following a protracted struggle for constitutional reform spanning over two decades. Under the new Constitution, the elections of 2013 were the first in Kenya’s multiparty history with Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) processes in place. With these mechanisms, disputes can be resolved legally, peacefully and speedily – as opposed to resulting in violence or being allowed to drag through the courts. 

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Key Initiatives

  • The Brief (or Lessons Learned Brief), titled Avoiding Violence and Enhancing Legitimacy: Judicial Preparedness for Handling Electoral Disputes in Kenya and Beyond, explores IDLO’s support to the Kenyan judiciary to resolve electoral disputes. The 2007 electoral violence in Kenya demonstrated that disastrous consequences can follow when the electoral dispute resolution system is not trusted to deal fairly and efficiently with contested elections.

  • Traditionally under the remit of environmentalists alone, biodiversity has now been recognized in the 2030 Agenda as a key element of global development that should be integrated across all sectors. Kenya’s Constitution includes provisions related to environment and natural resource management, which has given impetus to new laws, policies and other enabling legal instruments at the national and county levels.

  • The drafters of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 saw it necessary to include progressive provisions related to environment and natural resource management. These provisions gave impetus to new laws, policies and other enabling legal instruments at the national and county levels.

  • The Constitution of Kenya requires the Government to facilitate access to justice for all citizens, as it remains a critical pillar for poverty reduction and sustainable development. To this end, IDLO has been supporting the Kenyan judiciary since April 2012 to strengthen its capacity to administer and enhance access to justice for all Kenyans.

  • The Constitution of Kenya, adopted in 2010, made way for a new governance system composed of a national government and 47 county governments. Most of the assistance provided to the county governments has been focused on technical support. However, there is also a need to support the preparation of quality draft legislation to the county assemblies so that it meets the constitutional requirements. 

  • In 2010, the people of Kenya overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new Constitution, following a protracted struggle for constitutional reform spanning over two decades. Under the new Constitution, the elections of 2013 were the first in Kenya’s multiparty history with Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) processes in place. With these mechanisms, disputes can be resolved legally, peacefully and speedily – as opposed to resulting in violence or being allowed to drag through the courts. 

  • Ongoing reform of its energy legal framework has made Kenya a regional leader in promoting policies and laws that encourage sustainable investment in energy development the sector The country, however, still struggles to meet its energy demands. More than 33 million Kenyan citizens live without electricity.Properly harnessing resources, and targeting efforts at making eflectricity more accessible and affordable, would ensure that Kenya’s energy demands were fully and sustainably met.

  • Climate change is threatening to reverse Kenya’s progress on poverty reduction and exacerbate economic and social inequality. In order to build resilience and outline a low-carbon approach to development, IDLO has assisted the Kenyan Government in drafting a comprehensive National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017. This technical assistance included compiling a Legal Preparedness Assessment Report and establishing a Climate Law Working Group, made up of law students from Kenya’s leading universities.

  • IDLO is working with the Government of Kenya to advance gender equality across the country and enact gender provisions contained in the Constitution. Since 2013, IDLO has partnered to enhance the capacity of the Government of Kenya to mainstream gender at both the national and county levels. IDLO’s support included strategic policy development, critical legislative review, expert technical advice, and institutional strengthening.

  • While the new Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides for the right of every Kenyan to access justice, its implementation is vital to strengthen and support the changes required for a better Kenya. IDLO is supporting the Kenyan Government to implement the Constitution in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner, in accordance with international standards and best practices. This is being done with a view to enhancing access to justice for Kenyans, especially for women, children and other vulnerable populations.

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