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Structure and Functions of the Government of Kenya - History Form 3

Characteristics of Independent Churches and Schools

Independent churches and schools had several charactteristics. These include:
• They were made up of African congregation and led by Africans
• They combined African traditions and customs with Christian teachings. They allowed African practices for example, polygamy
• They served as alternative outlets of nationalism during the struggle for independence
• Teachers in the independent schools were Africans
• They adopted the use of drums and African type of music and dancing in their worship


The Formation, Structure and Functions of the Government of Kenya

The government of Kenya is at two levels, National government and County government. The two governments are distinct in their way of operation. They are meant to be independent, consultative and operate through mutual co-operation. In this topic, we shall discuss the composition, structure and functions of the national government. The National government comprises of three arms namely the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.

Nairobi Law courts

Kenya coat of arms

Kenyan Parliament

Prior Knowledge

Attempt the following exercise to help you review your knowlege on your member of Parliament and some of his or her responsibilities.

Objectives

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


1. Describe the formation and the composition of National Assembly and the Senate.


2. Discuss functions of the Legislature.


3. Analyse the concepts of parliamentary supremacy.


The Legislature

The Legislature is the arm of Government responsible for drawing the laws that govern the country. This is refered to as the Parilament of Kenya.

The Legislature

The Legislature is the arm of Government responsible for making and amending the laws that govern the country. It is also refered to as the Parliament of Kenya. It is made up of two chambers, The National Assembly and the Senate.

Kenyan parliament

Composition of the National Assembly

The National Assembly is made up of 350 members including the speaker.The National Assembly consists of;

i. 290 - elected members from constituencies

ii. 47 - women, one elected from each county

iii. 12 -Members nominated by parliamentary political parties based on their strength in National Assembly.

iv. Speaker who is an ex-officio member.

Speaker Marende

Composition of the National Assembly

The National Assembly is made up of 350 members including the speaker.The National Assembly consists of;

i. 290 - elected members from constituencies

ii. 47 - women, one elected from each county

iii. 12 -Members nominated by parliamentary political parties based on their strength in National Assembly.

iv. Speaker who is an ex-officio member.

Speaker Marende

Composition of the National Assembly

The National Assembly is made up of 350 members including the speaker.The National Assembly consists of;

i. 290 - elected members from constituencies

ii. 47 - women, one elected from each county

iii. 12 -Members nominated by parliamentary political parties based on their strength in National Assembly.

iv. Speaker who is an ex-officio member.

Speaker Marende

Composition of the Senate

The Senate or the second chamber of parliament is made up of 68 members including the speaker. The membership is as follows;

i. 47 -Members, each elected from the county

ii. 16 - Women nominated by political parties

iii. Two members, a man and a woman representing the youth

iv. 2 - Members, a man and a woman representing persons with disabilities, a man and a woman

v. The Speaker - ex-officio.

Formation of National Assembly and Senate

A person is eligible for election as a member of the National Assembly if he/she;

- Is a registered voter

- Meets education, moral and ethical standards set by an act of parliament

- Is nominated by a political party or is an independent candidate who must be supported by;

I. Atleast one thousand registered voters in the constituency in case of election to the National Assembly or

II. Atleast two thousand registered voters in the county in case of election to the senate

- Not a state or public officer

- Not a member of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the last five years

- A Kenyan citizen for at least 10 years

- To be of sound mind

- Not bankrupt

- Not a member of the county assembly

Disqualification of a Member of Parliament

A person is disqualified from being elected as a member of Parliament if he/she;

-Is a state or public officer

- Has been a member of the Independent Electrol and Boundaries Commissio (IEBC) within five years before the election

- Has not been a citizen of Kenya for atleast 10 years immediately before the date of election

- Is a member of county assembly

- Is of unsound mind

- Is declared bankrupt

-Is subject to a sentence of imprisonment of atleast six months by the date of registration as a candidate or at the date of the election

-Has misused or abused a state office or public office.

A parliamentary seat can be declared vacant due to the following circumstances;

- Death of a sitting MP

- Absence for eight consecutive sittings without permission from the speaker

- If a member resigns in writing to the speaker

- If a member resigns from the sponsoring political party

- If an independent MP joins a political party

- If one ceases to be a Kenya citizen

-If the electorate recalls the MP


Disqualification of a Member of Parliament

A person is disqualified from being elected as a member of Parliament if he/she;

-Is a state or public officer

- Has been a member of the Independent Electrol and Boundaries Commissio (IEBC) within five years before the election

- Has not been a citizen of Kenya for atleast 10 years immediately before the date of election

- Is a member of county assembly

- Is of unsound mind

- Is declared bankrupt

-Is subject to a sentence of imprisonment of atleast six months by the date of registration as a candidate or at the date of the election

-Has misused or abused a state office or public office.

A parliamentary seat can be declared vacant due to the following circumstances;

- Death of a sitting MP

- Absence for eight consecutive sittings without permission from the speaker

- If a member resigns in writing to the speaker

- If a member resigns from the sponsoring political party

- If an independent MP joins a political party

- If one ceases to be a Kenya citizen

-If the electorate recalls the MP

Disqualification of a Member of Parliament

What are the conditions that can lead to a by-election in either of the chambers ie National Assembly or the Senate?

- Death of a sitting MP

- Absent for eight consecutive sittings

- If a member resigns in writing to the speaker

- If a member resigns from the sponsoring political party

- If an independent MP joins a political party

- If one ceases to be a Kenya citizen

- If one becomes insane

- If one is declared bankrupt

- If MP is imprisoned for more than six months

- If MP abuses either public or state office

- If one becomes a member of the county assembly

Process of Election

Kenyan elections will take place after every five years. However, incase the country is at war, the parliament through a resolution of more than 2/3 majority in both chambers can prolong the life of parliament but not for more than 6 months. In case of a by-election in either chambers, the respective speaker shall notify the IEBC within 21 days. A by-election must be held within 90 days by the IEBC after this notification.

A voter casting his vote during an election.

Functions of Parliament

We shall discuss the functions of Kenyan parliament at both the Senate and National assembly. The role of the National Assembly include;

-Represents people of the constituency

- Makes and ammends laws

- Determines allocation of national revenue between the levels of governments

-Appropriates funds for expenditure by National government and national state organs

-Checks the executive and other arms of government to protect the interests of citizens

-Approves declaration of wars and extension of state of emergency

Role of senate includes;

-Represents the interests of the counties

- Makes laws concerning counties

- Determines the allocation of national revenue among counties

- Particiaptes in the oversight of state officers

- Has the last vote on consideration to removing the president or deputy president from office

.

Parliamentary Supremacy

The parliament of Kenya as is the case in the rest of commonwealth countries is supreme. It is above the other two arms of government ie the executive and the judiciary. Parliamentary programmes and debates cannot be taken to court. The executive too cannot manipulate debates. Other aspects of parliamentary supremacy include the following;-

- The parliament makes laws that affects everybody throughout the country

- Parliament controls government revenue and expenditure

- Parliament cannot legally bind the successor neither can one be bound by the predecessor i.e. each parliament session is independent

- A member cannot be arrested for anything he/she says in parliament

- An MP cannot be arrested for crime committed outside while inside the parliament premises

- The parliament has terminative powers, ie can pass a vote of no confidence on the executive

- It is the parliament that declares war in consultation with the president


Objectives

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

1) Define the Executive arm of the government

2) Discuss the powers and functions of the president

3) Discuss the functions of the Deputy President

4) Describe the composition and the functions of the Cabinet

5) Describe the functions of the Attorney General and Director of public prosecution

6) Describe the composition and functions of the public service

7) Describe the composition and functions of National Security organs

8) Describe the function of correctional services


The National Executive

The National Executive

The National executive comprises of the president, the deputy president, the cabinet and public service.

President Mwai Kibaki

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka

Powers and Functions of President

The president has powers bestowed on him by the constitution. They include;

1) President is the head of state and government

2) President is the Commander-in-Chief of the defence forces.

3)President is the chairperson of the National Security Council.

4) President is the symbol of National Unity

- Officially opens parliament after General Elections.

- Chairs Cabinet meetings.

- Appoints Cabinet members with the approval of the National Assembly

- Ensures that the international obligations of the Republic are fulfilled through the relevant Cabinet secretaries.

- The president performs other executive functions eg establishing an office in the public service.

President Mwai Kibaki

Functions of Deputy President

Let us now look at the functions of the deputy president. The deputy president is the principal assistant of the president. He or she deputizes for the president in the execution of his/her functions.The deputy president acts as the president when the president is absent or is temporarily incapacitated.It is a constituional requirement that the deputy president shall not hold any state or public office.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka

Composition and Functions of the Cabinet

The Cabinet consists of the president, the deputy president, cabinet secretaries and the Attorney General, and not fewer than fourteen and not more than twenty two cabinet secretaries. Cabinet secretaries should not hold any other state or public office. The secretary to the cabinet takes minutes during cabinet meetings and links the cabinet with the public service.

The cabinet has the following functions;

• Advisory role- The cabinet advises the president on various aspects of government policies. The cabinet secretaries ministers advise the president on the affairs of their ministries.

• Defending government policy- The cabinet has collective responsibility of defending government policies.

• Cabinet secretaries are expected to make presentations or clarify issues they are responsible for to the National Assembly or Senate whenever they are required

• They should also uphold the constitution and act according to it

• Provide parliament with full and regular reports concerning matters under their control.

Functions of the Attorney General

The Attorney General shall be appointed by the President with approval of the National Assembly;

- He/she is the principal legal advisor of the government.

- Represents the National government in court and any other legal proceedings.

- Promotes and upholds the rule of law and defend the public interest.

Prof Githu Muigai, Attorney General

Functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions

The Director of Public Prosecutions shall be nominated and with the approval of the National Assembly appointed by the president. He/she shall hold office for a term of 8 years and not eligible for reappointment


1. Directs the Inspector General of the National Police Service to investigate any information of criminal conduct.


2. Institutes and undertakes criminal proceedings against any person before any court.


3. Protects the interests of administration of justice and prevents abuse of the legal process.

Director of public procecution, Keriako Tobiko

Composition and Functions of Public Service

The public service is the section of the executive of the government which is headed by secretary to the Public Service Commission. It is composed of:


1. Principal secretaries


2. State departments


3. Public servants

An Independent Public Service commission ensures that the functions of the National Public Service are effectively carried out. Its finctions include;

- Establish and abolish offices in the public service

- Appoint persons to hold or act in those offices and confirm appointments

- Exercise disciplinary control and remove persons holding or acting in those offices.

- Investigate monitor and evaluate the administration and personnel practices of the public office.

- To develop human resources in the Public Service.

- Evaluate and report to the president and parliament on the performance of the commission.

National Security Organs

We are going to discuss the National Security. There are three organs of the National security namely;


1. Kenya Defence Forces


2. National Intelligence Services


3. National Police Service. We shall now discuss the composition of each of these organs.

Section of Kenyan Defence Forces

Kenya Defence Forces

The Kenya Defence Force is composed of:

- The Kenya Army

- The Kenya Air Force

- The Kenya Navy.

Their functions include;


1. Responsible for the defence and protection of the Sovereignty

and territorial integrity


2. Assists and cooperate with other authority in situations of emergency or disaster.


3. May be deployed to restore peace in any part of Kenya affected by unrest or instability.

Section of guard of honor mounted by the Defence Forces

National Intelligence Services

The constitution provides for the establishment of a National Intelligence services. Its functions include;


1. Provides security intelligence to enhance national security


2. Performs any other function prescribed by national legislature

The National Police Service

The National Police Service consists of the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service. Its functions include;


1. Maintaining highest standards of professionalism and discipline among its members


2. Preventing corruption and promoting transparency and accountability


3. Complying with constitutional standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms


4. Training staff on the highest possible standards of competence and integrity


5. Fostering and promoting relationship with the broader society

National Police Service in a matching exercise

Correctional Services

The correctional services are government institutions that are charged with the responsibility of rehabilitating convicted criminals. The functions of correctional services include;


1. Complimenting the work of national security organs


2. Containing the prisoners as they serve various jail terms


3. Executing court orders by implementing the decisions of the law courts with regard to how the convicts are to be punished.


4. Offering security to convicts while in detention.


5. Rehabilitating and reform convicts by changing their behavior

6. Generally looking at the welfare of the prisoners in area such as health food, shelter etc.

7. Providing labour in some national government projects through the extra-mural employment scheme such as a afforestation, digging canals, building roads etc.

The Judiciary

In this lesson, we are going to study the structure and function of the judiciary in Kenya. The Judiciary in Kenya consists of Judges, Magistrates and other Judicial Officers. The head of the Judiciary is the Chief Justice.


Objectives

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


1. Describe the structure of the Judiciary.


2. Discuss functions of the Judiciary in Kenya.


The Judiciary

In this lesson, we are going to study the structure and functions of the judiciary in Kenya. The Judiciary consists of Judges, Magistrates and other Judicial Officers. The head of the Judiciary is the Chief Justice.

Nairobi Law courts

Structure of the Court Systems in Kenya

How is the court sysytem in Kenya structured? The court system in Kenya has the following features;


1. Under the Kenya Constitution, the Supreme Court is the highest court.


2. The second highest court in Kenya is the Court of Appeal.


3. The High Court is the third highest court in Kenya.


4. The above three are referred to as Superior Courts.


5. The Subordinate Courts comprise of Magistrates Courts, Kadhis Courts and the Courts Martial.

6. The constitution empowers parliament to establish other subordinate courts and tribunals as it may seem necessary.

Functions of the Judiciary

The Judiciary in Kenya performs various functions which include:


1. Interpreting the application of laws in Kenya.


2. Adjudicating in both criminal and civil court cases.


3. Settling disputes between conflicting parties or institutions in the political structure.


4. Protecting the constitutional rights and freedoms of individuals.


5. Collecting fines imposed on those found guilty of various offences by the courts.

6. Administering the swearing in of senior government officials e.g. the president before he assumes office.

THE SUPREME COURT

- It hears and determines any case challenging the election of the president.

- Hears appeals from the court of appeal.

COURT OF APPEAL

It hears appeals from the High Court and tribunals.

HIGH COURT

Has supervisory powers over the subordinate courts.

SUBORDINATE COURTS
The Subordinate Courts are:

- Magistrates Courts

- The Courts Martial

- The Kadhis Courts- Kadhis courts deal with issues concerning marriage, divorce, inheritance for people who belong to the Muslim faith.

Concept of the Rule of Law

The concept of the rule of law entails the process of handling all legal matters in accordance with the law. All Kenyans are subject to and governed by the same laws irrespective of their status, colour or religion. It stipulates that;

1. No person is above the law.


2. Matters pertaining to law are dealt with in accordance to the law.


3. A person is presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law.

Concept of Natural Justice

The concept of Natural Justice stresses that a suspect should be treated fairly by the courts. The following principles of natural justice must be upheld before any judgement is made on a suspect:


1. The accused person is given the right to fair trial.


2. Suspected persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


3. This concept discourages mob justice.


4. An accused person is entitled to legal representation.


5. A suspect is given an opportunity to defend himself or herself in a court of law and call for witnesses.

6. All judicial decisions are based on law.

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