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Constitution and Constitution Making

In every institution, organisation or nation, there exists rules and regulations that guide the operations of the specific body. Similarly, a country is guided by rules and regulations. This is known as the constitution. A constitution is a set of agreed upon fundamental principles, rules and values which act as a guide to govern a group of people. There are two main types of constitutions, Written and Unwritten. In Kenya, we have a written constitution.

Stack of kenyan laws

Background information

We are going to listen to a conversation between a member of parliament and his constituents.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of the lesson you should be able to:

  • Define the term constitution
  • Identify the types of constitution
  • Describe the constitution making process in Kenya
  • Identify the features of the Kenya constitution
  • Describe constitutional changes in Kenya since independence



Constitution Making process in Kenya

Constitution making process refers to the organs involved and stages followed in making a constitution.

Kenyan Parliament where Kenyan Laws are made.

Stages in constitution making

There are four stages followed in constitution making in Kenya.

Civic Education, one of the stages in constitution making.

THE CONSTITUENCY CONSTITUTIONAL FORUM

This is found in every constituency and its main task is to facilitate debate, discussion and collection of views from the citizens.

THE NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL CONFERENCE

This is an Assembly of selected people from various interest groups who meet to agree on the constitution. It comprises of:-  222 members of parliament  210 district representatives  29 commissioners  125 representatives of representatives from interest groups  Representatives of political parties

THE REFERENDUM

This is a forum where people decide directly on the constitution. THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY This is the body charged with the final approval of the constitution.

 Civic Education

One of them is the civic education. This involves educating the public and raising awareness on issues of the constitution. It is done by a commission created by an act of parliament.

A facilitator conducting civic education

Public Consultation

Another stage is that of public consultation. In public consultation, the commission collects views from various constituencies which are then compiled as the draft constitution. In the year 2008, a committee of experts was formed to collect views from the public and then draft a constitution.

Members of Public in consultation

The National Constitution Conference

The National Constitution Conference is another stage in constitutional making. It is supposed to deliberate upon and adopt the draft constitution. In 2003, the National constitution conference was held at the Bomas of Kenya. In case of a disagreement in the National Constitutional Conference, the draft is subjected to a referendum. One was held in year 2005 in which the draft constitution was rejected. Another effort was initiated to review the constitution in the year 2008. The committee of experts drafted the constitution. This draft was adopted by parliament and then subjected to a referendum on 4th August, 2010. A referendum is a forum where people decide directly on the constitution by voting. In this case Kenyans voted for the constitution.

Prof Yash Pal Ghai Former chairman Constitution Review Commission of Kenya

Parliament Enactment of Draft constitution

After the draft has been approved by the National constitutional Conference or a committee of experts, it is adopted by parliament before it is subjected to a referendum. If accepted in the referendum, it becomes the constitution of the republic. The 2010 constitution was promulgated on 27th August 2010.

The Kenya parliament in session

Features of the Kenyan constitution

Features of the Kenyan constitution

The Kenyan constitution has various features. They include;

  • provides for a multi-party system of government.
  • contains a Bill of Rights or Civil Rights for citizens.
  • stipulates the procedure for the composition of the National Assembly.
  • provides for an independent Judiciary.
  • gives the ways in which one can become a Kenyan citizen.
  • provides for an independence of the Electoral Commission.
  • establishes the Consolidated Fund.
  • Ballot box used in voting

Constitutional amendment since independence

Place your cursor over the years to see the constitutional ammendment that took place.

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