A Record of Good Governance
Since independence from Britain in 1963, the Kenyan government has been a model for stability in the region. In 2002, the United States Department of State commended Kenya for initiating a “re-emergence of multiparty democracy and the accompanying increase in freedom (including freedom of speech, the press, and assembly).”
Given their long-standing government stability, the unrest that resulted from the disputed elections in December 2007 was particularly surprising to many international authorities and Kenyans alike. Government officials moved to resolve the conflict through a power-sharing agreement brokered by the former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
National Accord and Grand Coalition Government
- The National Accord and Reconciliation Act of 2008 stated that a power-sharing coalition was needed to move the country forward. The coalition required a strong partnership and commitment from both sides.
- Under the agreement, Raila Odinga was granted the position of prime minister and Mwai Kibaki was granted the position of president.
- The appointments of cabinet members and justices were conducted under a system of checks-and-balances to ensure the coalition government was collaborating.
- The 42-member cabinet is the largest in Kenya’s history. It includes new ministries for cooperative development, Northern Kenya development, and Nairobi metropolitan development.
Steps towards Reconciliation
Kenya has made significant strides in the last year:
- Establishing the Kriegler Commission to investigate the election process and implement its recommendations to ensure voter integrity.
- Launching the Waki Commission and several attempts to establish a local tribunal that will put an end to impunity.
- Dissolving the Electoral Commission of Kenya [ECK] that oversaw the disputed elections, thus paving the way for electoral reforms, including the establishment of the Independent Interim Electoral Commission of Kenya [IIECK] and the Interim Boundary Review Commission.
- Establishing the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission which will be lead by Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat and seek outside counsel from international experts.
- Fortifying the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission with new commissioners and management to increase its efficacy in dealing with corruption at all levels.
- Launching the Police Reforms Task Force to drive the process of transforming the police force into a police service.
- Creating the Committee of Experts on the Constitutional Review to spearhead finalization of the review process.