A short history of the 2010 Kenya constitution
Like other British colonies in Africa, Kenya gained independence after the Lancaster House Conferences presided by Britain decided to set free its colonies anytime from 1953 to 1979. And since its independence in 1964, Kenya has had three constitutions and two major amendments including the last 2010 Kenya Constitution, according to modern Kenya history.
The 1963 Kenya Constitution was a negotiated effort between Britain and of dominant political parties in the Kenya ending colonial rule and making Kenya a dominion that followed the British parliamentary system. It provided for parliamentary governance whose executive powers rest on the cabinet led by a Prime Minister whom the British monarch appoints from among Parliament’s ruling party.
In 1964, Kenya history shows that its constitution was so fundamentally and radically altered, it became known as the 1964 Constitution. Through extensive parliamentary amendments, it transformed the country into a republic with a presidential system of government. But it didn’t end here, the 1964 Constitution spawned years of political crises one after the other resulting in a split of executive powers between opposition Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki that finally led to an overhaul of the constitution in several amendments leading up to the 2010 Kenya Constitution.
In between, the constitution saw several minor and major changes culminating in the 1982 Constitutional Amendment that transformed Kenta from a multi-party to a single-party state. The 1983 and 1988 elections affirmed and strengthen the single-party system headed by the Kenya African National Union or KANU.
The 1990s witnessed institutional decay, social breakdown and economic distress that conspired to agitate reform movements with roots dating back in the 80s. Abetted by US pressures to achieve a clean governance, its parliament amended the constitution in 1991 that resulted in a multiparty elections held in December 1992.
After the 1997 general elections, Parliament enacted the Constitution of Kenya Review Act that formed the legal groundworks for a more thorough constitutional reforms. The Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) created for the purpose provided civic education, and public input to help draft a new constitution to be studied by the National Constitutional Conference (NCC). Sadly, the process got messed up in deep political conflicts between local powers that led to the e draft constitution being rejected in the 2005 referendum. The draft was eventually revived after the 2007-2008 post-election violence and garnered a 67% approval in the 2010 referendum to become the Kenya constitution 2010.