Multiparty Democracy


During the seventies and eighties, Kenya was under the single-party rule of the Kenya African National Union, KANU. Only until 1991 did the country revert to a multi-party democracy upon the repeal of section 2A of the Old Constitution. This repeal did not come easy and was the culmination of internal struggles and external pressure on the then government of KANU. Since then, Kenyans have embraced multi-party democracy as an important ingredient of democracy, freedom of political association and thought, and the periodic conduct of credible elections. Out of hindsight and the painful lessons of the past multi-party democracy has been anchored in the New Constitution. Chapter 2 - The Republic:

4. (2) The Republic of Kenya shall be a multi-party democratic State founded on the national values and principles of governance referred to in Article 10.

Political parties therefore, are in a sense, a tool by which the people of Kenya hope to enjoy their rights to good governance all round - a reflection of their shared universal belief that multi-partyism is an enhancer of democracy and enabler of the people's right to participate in the internal affairs of their country. Under the single-party rule of the 70s and 80s, KANU had become the all-knowing, all-wise, benevolent, and controlling party which strode across all the three arms of government to stifle free-will and to frustrate democracy and justice. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 has sought to go full-throttle on changes that deliver a complete turnaround of the laws governing political parties to return control of politics to the people. To borrow from an old saying: political parties are established to serve the people and not the people to serve political parties. 

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