Remembering Why Kenya Needed a New Constitution–the fundamentals

From a speech by James Orengo in 2000 at Concordia University in Minnesota:

The constitution of Kenya was deliberately designed to fail. We borrowed the worst features of other people’s constitutions. The result is a machine without rhythm or reason. We have borrowed the American presidential system but ignored the checks and balances that make the president accountable to the Americans. We have borrowed the parliamentary system from Britain but none of the parliamentary practices that makes the British parliament effective. We borrowed the Bill of Rights from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but added in all the exceptions to rights that were common in Stalinist countries. In short, we now have a presidency without checks, a parliament without teeth, and a Bill of Rights that reads more like a Bill of Exceptions rather than Rights.

And M. Munene, 2001,in The Politics of Transition in Kenya 1995-1998 Nairobi, Friends of the Book Foundation:

the republican constitution that Kenyatta talked about rolled the powers of the governor-general and those of the prime minister into one in the name of the president and enabled him to enjoy those powers unfettered by the British government, any party opposition, or constitutional position that he did not like . . . the governor-general and the prime minister became, in 1965, the absolute president.

As quoted in Nasong’o, S.W. and T.O. Ayot (2007) “Women in Kenya’s Politics of Transition and Democratization”, in G.R. Murunga and S.W. Nasong’o, (eds), Kenya: The Struggle for Democracy London: Zed Books

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