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Kenya Country Background
Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya. MOI acceded to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. President MOI stepped down in December 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition, defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform.

The regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. In 1997, the IMF suspended Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program due to the government's failure to maintain reforms and curb corruption. A severe drought from 1999 to 2000 compounded Kenya's problems, causing water and energy rationing and reducing agricultural output. As a result, GDP contracted by 0.2% in 2000. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through the drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. Despite the return of strong rains in 2001, weak commodity prices, endemic corruption, and low investment limited Kenya's economic growth to 1.2%. Growth lagged at 1.1% in 2002 because of erratic rains, low investor confidence, meager donor support, and political infighting up to the elections. In the key December 2002 elections, Daniel Arap MOI's 24-year-old reign ended, and a new opposition government took on the formidable economic problems facing the nation. In 2003, progress was made in rooting out corruption and encouraging donor support. GDP grew more than 5% in 2005.

head of government: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002); Vice President Moody AWORI (since 25 September 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); in addition to receiving the largest number of votes in absolute terms, the presidential candidate must also win 25% or more of the vote in at least five of Kenya's seven provinces and one area to avoid a runoff; election last held 27 December 2002 (next to be held December 2007); vice president appointed by the president.

election results: President Mwai KIBAKI elected; percent of vote - Mwai KIBAKI 63%, Uhuru KENYATTA 30%

A unicameral National Assembly or Bunge (224 seats; 210 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms, 12 so-called "nominated" members who are appointed by the president but selected by the parties in proportion to their parliamentary vote totals, 2 ex-officio members)

elections: last held 27 December 2002 (next to be held by early 2007)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NARC 125, KANU 64, FORD-P 14, other 7; ex-officio 2; seats appointed by the president - NARC 7, KANU 4, FORD-P 1
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