Following the adoption of a new Constitution in Kenya in 2010, its implementation has seen significant improvements in the promotion and protection of human rights, gender equality and access to justice. Nonetheless, sustainable development of the country and strengthened public confidence in the judiciary continue to be key priorities requiring ongoing reforms.
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.
Kenya has formally launched a National Action Plan on Legal Aid for 2017-2022, the first of its kind in Kenya and in the region.
The national commission overseeing gender and equality matters in Kenya has published model legislation on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), designed to help county governments effectively protect women and girls from violence.
September 1, 2017 – Today’s decision by the Kenya Supreme Court demonstrates that the Kenyan Judiciary can effectively and efficiently handle electoral disputes in line with the Constitution, said the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).
“The ruling is a clear demonstration of why supporting the independence of the Judiciary and investing in building judicial capacity, including to resolve electoral disputes, builds the democratic process.”
The public backlash against the judiciary following the Presidential Petition decision in the Supreme Court in 2013 provides a lesson on the immense difficulties of convincing a cynical public that judicial decisions are based on legal reasoning and not political influence.
(Nairobi, Kenya) August 25, 2017 – In preparation for potential electoral disputes in Kenya resulting from the 2017 elections, and to expand Kenya’s jurisprudence under the 2010 Constitution, a new tool on non-party participation in litigation to ensure fair, consistent and efficient rulings by the Judiciary was launched at an event today.
The legal concept of ‘friend of the court’, or ‘amicus curiae’, refers to the participation in litigation of individuals or organizations who are not party to a case but have a strong interest in its subject matter.
The Judiciary Committee on Elections, JCE, is a successor of the judicial working committee on election preparation, which organized all the judiciaries around the 2013 elections. There were a lot of lessons learned.
The legal concept of “friend of the court”, or “amicus curiae”, refers to the participation in litigation of individuals or organizations who are not party to a case but have a strong interest in its subject matter.
On August 8, Kenya holds its general election to vote for the president along with senators, county governors and members of the national and county assemblies. While the 2007 Kenya elections saw much violence and unrest, the 2013 elections were relatively peaceful.
Promoting Healthy Diets and Physical Activity in Kenya
Justice within the context of commercial law is premised on the fact that an effective commercial justice system meets and facilitates the specialized needs of the business community and the private sector at large. However, there are persistent challenges related to the dispensation of commercial justice in Kenya.
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, 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.