Politics & Elections Under the New Constitution
Ideology. Integrity. Issues
The Constitution of Kenya 2010, provides for a general election every five years. Voting for all positions is by secret ballot and takes place on the same day. Each voter has one vote and makes a single selection on the ballot paper for a candidate of their choice for a specific elective seat. Generally, the candidate first-past-the-post is the automatic winner, albeit with a few exceptions. This system, is designed to set the foundation for a credible, free and fair electoral process.
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 has sought to regularise and standardise the formation, structures and operations of political parties and any coalitions. Accordingly, all political parties must meet certain minimum requirements of compliance in order to be granted registration, to receive funding, and to be allowed to participate in an election. The New Constitution has gone on to introduce a new code of conduct for voters, party members, candidates, and party leaders by specifying who is eligible to vote, who can run for an elective position and who can hold a political party position. These far-reaching political, civic and social changes aim to level the political space, expand that space and choice, and transform the content and delivery of political agenda, as well as raise the quality and integrity of the elected. In a nutshell, to set the foundation for a mature and progressive political space.
Electoral Seats to be contested under the New Constitution are tightly woven around the idea of devolution and affirmative action. Five of the six electoral seats are tied to the County i.e, Governor, Senator, Women Representative, Member for Constituency, and Member of the County Assembly. Other memberships to legislative assemblies at the local and national levels are by way of nomination through political party-lists to fulfill the New Constitutional provisions that no more than two-thirds of the members of an elective public body be of the same gender; and that 5% of all elective positions be reserved for persons with disabilities.
A Presidential candidate must be nominated by at least 2,000 voters from more than half of the 47 Counties. To be elected as President, the winner must receive 50%+1 of the votes cast, and garner at least 25% of votes in more than half of the 47 Counties. In the event that no candidate is found to have won under these terms, a runoff election between the top two candidate must be held in the space of one month and the first-past-the-post is declared elected. These requirements have been designed to ensure that the President enjoys wide and popular support.
The hopes of the people of Kenya are that the business of politics will always be inclusive, issue driven, based on ideology, and practiced with integrity.
Follow the links in the first column in the table above for more on the great promises the Constitution of Kenya 2010 holds on Elections and Politics.
1. Constitution of Kenya, 2010. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney General.
2. The Political Parties (Amendment) Act, 2012. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney General.
3. The Elections (Amendment)(No 3) Act, 2012. National Council for Law Reporting. The Attorney General.