Under the Constitution, legislative power is vested in a Parliament consisting of a President and a National Assembly. This comprises the Speaker, the Attorney-General, 216 elected members of the Assembly and 12 nominated members. The life of the Assembly is five years and members are elected by universal adult suffrage.
The Kenya constitution which previously allowed only one political party has been amended to allow many political parties. Candidates for civic and National Assembly elections must be sponsored by a registered political party. Election must take place every five years. The Assembly also controls the Executive through the power that requires cabinet ministers to attend sessions of the Assembly and answer questions asked by members.
Executive power lies with the President of Kenya who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Election to this office is linked to the general election of members to the National Assembly of which the President is a member. He is entitled to address the National Assembly and, as an elected member of it, may attend its meetings, take part in its proceedings and vote on any question before it.
In the event that the President becomes incapacitated, new national presidential elections must be held within ninety days. The Vice-President acts in the interim, but there are limits on his authority. For example, he can neither dissolve parliament nor dismiss cabinet members. The Vice-President is the President s principal assistant. He is appointed by the President from among the elected members of the National Assembly, and he may be removed by the President. The office falls vacant upon he election of a new president or whenever the Vice President ceases to be an elected or nominated member of parliament.
The Cabinet consists of the President, Vice President and other Ministers and is collectively responsible to Parliament. Ministers are appointed and may be removed by the President. They must, however, be chosen from the elected or nominated members of the national Assembly.
The Cabinet serves as the policy making body of the Executive. Its decisions, if they do not require legislative approval, are carried out by the individual Ministers and their ministries. As cabinet members they draft the legislation to be presented to the National Assembly.
The Bill of Rights in the Constitution provides for a strong and detailed protection of fundamental rights and freedom of the individual. Both substantive and procedural rights are affirmed, as are traditional political and civil liberties. Inhumane treatment of prisoners and arbitrary search are forbidden.
Freedom of conscience, thought and religion, are affirmed. Freedom of expression and of assembly, including the right to form labor unions or other specialized associations, are also guaranteed.
Citizens are protected from legal discrimination based on race, tribe, place of origin or residence or other local connection, political opinion, colour or creed.
There is also strong protection for property rights. In the public interest; the Government may expropriate private property but on condition that there shall be prompt payment of full compensation. The Constitution allows for a judiciary which interprets and administers the country’s laws.
The judiciary is independent of both the Executive and the Legislature. The Chief Justice and the judges of the Court of Appeal are appointed by the President. All other judges are appointed by the President acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.
Government expenditure on health increased by more than 23% in 1991 compared with 1990, representing 4.8% of total Government spending. There are 264 hospitals, 294 health centers and 1555 sub-centers and dispensaries. 3266 registered doctors served the population in 1989.
Education takes the largest share of Government spending, amount to 30% of the total recurrent expenditure. Most of this expenditure is allocated to teacher training and higher education. Over 5 million pupils enrolled in primary schools and more than 12,000 students enrolled at Nairobi, Kenyatta, Moi and Egerton University in 1989. A number of polytechnics and technical and agricultural institutes also exist.
The majority of the population of Kenya lives in simple traditional housing constructed of locally obtained materials. The National Housing Corporation has been instrumental in providing dwelling units in urban areas. Most people in urban areas rent flats or houses but home-ownership schemes are increasing. High demand for certain types of rented accommodation had helped to push rental costs upwards in recent years. A variety of sizes and quality of residential units is available.