Constitutional Reforms in Kenya

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Introduction
The 20-year clamour for constitutional reforms in Kenya ended on August 4, 2010, when Kenyans overwhelmingly voted for the draft constitution by 67 per cent. On August 2010, President Kibaki promulgated the Constitution at a public function at Uhuru Park, Nairobi. And this was the culmination of a long journey going back to 90s and late 1980s. When President Kibaki came to power on December 30, 2002, the constitutional review process got a major boost. The Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) had collected and collated views, leading to the first constitutional conference, the Bomas conference, and a draft constitution. Parliament amended the draft constitution, but it was rejected during Kenya’s first referendum in November 2005. But a constitutional amendment followed the political deadlock over the outcome of the 2007 presidential elections. The power-sharing deal brokered by the Panel of Eminent Persons led to the creation of the Office of the Prime Minister and two deputies. The Interim Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya (IIEC) was formed to replace the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). The Interim Independent Boundaries Commission (IIBRC) was also set up to seek views from Kenyans on constituency boundaries and demarcate them. Parliament constituted the Committee of Experts (CoE) to identify contentious issues in the constitutional review process. The committee compiled a Harmonized Draft Constitution, revised it and eventually produced a draft constitution with the input of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Review. The Kenyan economy is expected to stabilise and develop into a thriving economic boom after the promulgation of the new constitution by President Mwai Kibaki on august 24, 2010 as its implementation process begins. This is expected to be realized in the immediate long run despite the current galloping inflationary situation since the beginning of the year that has since seen the inflation rates gallop from single digit figures to double digit figures as at the end of April and still spiraling. That is mainly because the new constitutional dispensation has phased out some basic principles in the old constitution that contributed enormously to sluggish economic stimulation and growth as well as providing loopholes for economic imbalances. The general feeling not only locally but also among the country’s international development partners is that of hope that the new constitution will herald a new age where rule of law, equal opportunity and property rights lay a strong foundation for political and economic transformation in Kenya. So far, legislations have been enacted in the areas of judicial reform, electoral reform, internal security reform, public service reforms, promotion and protection of human rights, public finance, and aspects of the devolved system in an effort to operationalize the 2010 Constitution.

People’s bills of rights
Perhaps the most critical point that may form the backbone of the much expected stabilization and thriving development of the country’s economy begins right from Chapter of four the constitution that deals with the peoples’ bill of rights. The constitution under this chapter beginning right from the general provisions relating to the Bill of Rights to Part 3 – on Specific Applications of Rights documents in detail to the people’s rights and freedoms which are crucially important in setting the right atmosphere in which economic activities can thrive. It is under Part two’s Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that the constitution deals with some of the most critical factors that under the previous constitution played a central role in negating economic growth of the country over the decades like denial to access information in virtually all sectors of the economy. The end result of such restrictions to access information was to set in place an environment where making vital informed business, economic otherwise decisions in real...
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