Representation at the Regional Assemblies

 

At that time, each of the Regions had a semi-autonomous Regional government and Assembly -  a form of devolution that granted the people a limited level of self rule. Excerpts from Chapter 6 - Regions, Part 3 - Legislative powers of Regional Assemblies:

102. ........ a Regional Assembly shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Region or of any part thereof ........

And from Part 1 - Regions - of the same Chapter:

91. Kenya shall be divided into the Nairobi Area and the following Regions ........: (a) the Coast Region; (b) the Eastern Region; (c) the Central Region; (d) the Rift Valley Region; (e) the Nyanza Region; (f) the Western Region; and (g) the North-Eastern Region.

92. There shall be for each Region a Regional Assembly consisting of Elected Members and Specially Elected Members.

The Elected members of the regional assemblies were elected from every constituency of every District within the Region, while the Specially Elected members (elected by the Elected members) constituted one-eighth of the total membership of the assembly:

93. (3) Each constituency shall elect one Elected Member to the Regional Assembly ........

94. (1) The number of Specially Elected Members of a Regional Assembly shall be the number which results from dividing the number of seats of Elected Members of that Regional Assembly by eight ........

Representation was largely based on the geography of the constituencies that made up a District within a Region; a provision that made for an uneven form of representation by today's standards since Districts with more constituencies ended up with higher levels of representation (and clout) at the Assemblies.

At that time, a Region could determine the levels of representation at its local Assembly:

104. A law made by a Regional Assembly may prescribe the number of Elected Members of that Regional Assembly and may specify the boundaries of the constituencies into which the Districts within the Region are divided ........ Provided that, subject to provisions of section 242 of this Constitution: (b) the number of members of a Regional Assembly and the number of constituencies into which each District is divided shall always be such that all Districts within the Region return the same number of members to the Regional Assembly; ........

Not much was provided in the composition of the executive government of a Region with respect to reflecting the diversity of that Region. As a result, minorities and the marginalised had little representation and say in the affairs of the regional governments including local authorities of the time. Indeed, by failing to provision for the fair and equitable representation of all, the 1963 Constitution set the foundation for the marginalisation and exclusion of many groups for the next several decades after independence.


 

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