Understanding the Kenya Government

Though countries in Africa may seem distant and exotic, the Kenya government isn’t that different from many Western countries.


Form of Government

The Kenya government is structured as a republic, meaning that there are no hereditary political positions, but the representatives are chosen by the people. Kenya has a representative form of government: the people themselves to not directly vote on changes in law or policy, except in isolated cases such as the constitutional referendum in 2005.

The President

The country is led by an elected president who is both the head of state and head of government, much like the presidential role in the United States. The president of Kenya is elected by popular vote (though irregularities and fraud have played in role in most elections), and must also be an elected member of parliament. The president chooses his cabinet from among the members of the legislative National Assembly. The president, vice-president and cabinet make up the executive branch of the Kenya government.

The Legislature

The other component of the system is the legislative branch, where laws and policy are created. In Kenya, this is made up of a parliament called the National Assembly. There are 224 members of the Assembly, with 210 of them being elected by their constituencies. The remaining seats are appointed directly by their political parties.

Local Administration

Beneath these central government bodies, there are a number of smaller divisions for day-to-day management of political affairs. The 8 provinces are broken down into 69 districts, each led by an appointed commissioner. The districts are further divided into divisions. The district structure is currently under review and may be further split to create another 37 new districts.

Kenya Political Parties

After the violent elections in December 2007, much of the Kenyan government is changing. There are a number of new and re-organized political parties in the legislature.

The party that holds the majority of parliamentary seats is the Orange Democratic Movement, the Party of National Unity, the Orange Democratic Movement – Kenya and the Kenya African National Union. With new power-sharing agreements being made, the government makeup is far from settled. Since 2005, many parties have split, regrouped and restructured themselves making the political climate pretty confusing.

Related Pages:


Backgrounds of the Kenya election unrest

Official results from the 2007 elections

The Constitutional Referendum of 2005

The Kenya Economy

The Kenya Revenue Authority

What Does The Kenya Customs Department Do?

Introduction To The Kenya Police

The Kenya Law System

The Kenya Human Rights Situation

Poverty in Kenya: The Facts

How Corrupt is Kenya?

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