Kenya’s Political System

Kenya is a republic in East Africa, which has been an independent country since 1964, governed by a constitution of 1963, last revised in 2001.

Constitution and political system

According to the Constitution, Kenya is a distinct unity state, with a presidential system of government. The president is elected in the general election for five years and is both head of state, head of government and military commander. The President appoints the Vice President and the other members of government. Both the President and the members of the government must have a seat in the National Assembly.

The president must be at least 35 years old. To be elected president, a candidate must have at least 25 percent of the vote in at least five of the country’s eight provinces. There is universal suffrage for anyone over the age of 18.

Legislative power has been formally added to the National Assembly, consisting of 224 members. Of these, 210 are directly elected representatives, 12 appointed by the president and two ex-officio representatives, the Attorney General and the President of the Assembly. The last two have no voting rights. The National Assembly is elected for up to five years. However, it can be dissolved at any time by the president. The National Assembly can dissolve itself by adopting a vote of no confidence in the President; a new election must be held both at the president and at the national assembly within 90 days.

Administratively, Kenya is divided into eight provinces (mkoa), including the metropolitan area; these are again divided into 69 districts ( wilaya ) and 479 municipalities ( taarafa ).


Kenyan law is based on English common law, African customary law and on laws given by the British parliament during the colonial era and by the Kenyan parliament since independence.

The Supreme Court is Kenya’s appeal court, with one president and six other judges. The judges are appointed by the president and may also be deposed by him. Furthermore, there is a trial court with a total of 20 judges, which serves both as a court of first instance and as a court of appeal in civil and criminal cases. Finally, there are “resident” magistrate courts (with national jurisdiction) and district magistrate courts (with local jurisdiction ); they judge in minor cases.

Judging in matters of Islamic law, there are separate Kadhi dishes.

Kenya's President

Presidents of Kenya

Overview of Presidents in Kenya:

Period President
1964-1978 Jomo Kenyatta
1978-2002 Daniel arap Moi
2002-2013 Mwai Kibaki
2013- Uhuru Kenyatta

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