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Table of Contents

  1. Preamble
  2. CHAPTER 1. SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PEOPLE AND SUPREMACY OF THIS CONSTITUTION
  3. CHAPTER 2. THE REPUBLIC
  4. CHAPTER 3. CITIZENSHIP
  5. CHAPTER 4. THE BILL OF RIGHTS
  6. PART 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE BILL OF RIGHTS
  7. PART 2. RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS
  8. PART 3. SPECIFIC APPLICATION OF RIGHTS
  9. PART 4. STATE OF EMERGENCY
  10. PART 5. KENYA NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND EQUALITY COMMISSION
  11. CHAPTER 5. LAND AND ENVIRONMENT
  12. PART 1. LAND
  13. PART 2. ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES
  14. CHAPTER 6. LEADERSHIP AND INTEGRITY
  15. CHAPTER 7. REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE
  16. PART 1. ELECTORAL SYSTEM AND PROCESS
  17. PART 2. INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION AND DELIMITATION OF ELECTORAL UNITS
  18. PART 3. POLITICAL PARTIES
  19. CHAPTER 8. THE LEGISLATURE
  20. PART 1. ESTABLISHMENT AND ROLE OF PARLIAMENT
  21. PART 2. COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP OF PARLIAMENT
  22. PART 3. OFFICES OF PARLIAMENT
  23. PART 4. PROCEDURES FOR ENACTING LEGISLATION
  24. PART 5. PARLIAMENT'S GENERAL PROCEDURES AND RULES
  25. PART 6. MISCELLANEOUS
  26. CHAPTER 9. THE EXECUTIVE
  27. PART 1. PRINCIPLES AND STRUCTURE OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE
  28. PART 2. THE PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY PRESIDENT
  29. PART 3. THE CABINET
  30. PART 4. OTHER OFFICES
  31. CHAPTER 10. JUDICIARY
  32. PART 1. JUDICIAL AUTHORITY AND LEGAL SYSTEM
  33. PART 2. SUPERIOR COURTS
  34. PART 3. SUBORDINATE COURTS
  35. PART 4. JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION
  36. CHAPTER 11. DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT
  37. PART 1. OBJECTS AND PRINCIPLES OF DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT
  38. PART 2. COUNTY GOVERNMENTS
  39. PART 3. FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF COUNTY GOVERNMENTS
  40. PART 4. THE BOUNDARIES OF COUNTIES
  41. PART 5. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS
  42. PART 6. SUSPENSION OF COUNTY GOVERNMENTS
  43. PART 7. GENERAL
  44. CHAPTER 12. PUBLIC FINANCE
  45. PART 1. PRINCIPLES AND FRAMEWORK OF PUBLIC FINANCE
  46. PART 2. OTHER PUBLIC FUNDS
  47. PART 3. REVENUE-RAISING POWERS AND THE PUBLIC DEBT
  48. PART 4. REVENUE ALLOCATION
  49. PART 5. BUDGETS AND SPENDING
  50. PART 6. CONTROL OF PUBLIC MONEY
  51. PART 7. FINANCIAL OFFICERS AND INSTITUTIONS
  52. CHAPTER 13. THE PUBLIC SERVICE
  53. PART 1. VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC SERVICE
  54. PART 2. THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
  55. PART 3. TEACHERS SERVICE COMMISSION
  56. CHAPTER 14. NATIONAL SECURITY
  57. PART 1. NATIONAL SECURITY ORGANS
  58. PART 2. THE KENYA DEFENCE FORCES
  59. PART 3. THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
  60. PART 4. THE NATIONAL POLICE SERVICE
  61. CHAPTER 15. COMMISSIONS AND INDEPENDENT OFFICES
  62. CHAPTER 16. AMENDMENT OF THIS CONSTITUTION
  63. CHAPTER 17. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  64. CHAPTER 18. TRANSITIONAL AND CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS
  65. SCHEDULES
  66. FIRST SCHEDULE. COUNTIES (ARTICLE 6 (1))
  67. SECOND SCHEDULE. NATIONAL SYMBOLS (ARTICLE 9 (2))
  68. THIRD SCHEDULE. NATIONAL OATHS AND AFFIRMATIONS (ARTICLES 74, 141 (3), 148 (5) AND 152 (4))
  69. FOURTH SCHEDULE. DISTRIBUTION OF FUNCTIONS BETWEEN THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AND THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (ARTICLE 185 (2), 186 (1) AND 187 (2))
  70. PART 1. NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
  71. PART 2. COUNTY GOVERNMENTS
  72. FIFTH SCHEDULE. LEGISLATION TO BE ENACTED BY PARLIAMENT (ARTICLE 261 (1))
  73. SIXTH SCHEDULE. TRANSITIONAL AND CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS (ARTICLE 262)
  74. PART 1. GENERAL
  75. PART 2. EXISTING OBLIGATIONS, LAWS AND RIGHTS
  76. PART 3. NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
  77. PART 4. DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT
  78. PART 5. ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
  79. PART 6. COMMISSIONS AND OFFICES
  80. PART 6. MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS

Constitution of Kenya (2010)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

2


3Preamble

4We, the people of Kenya -

5ACKNOWLEDGING the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation:

6HONOURING those who heroically struggled to bring freedom and justice to our land:

7PROUD of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, and determined to live in peace and unity as one indivisible sovereign nation:

8RESPECTFUL of the environment, which is our heritage, and determined to sustain it for the benefit of future generations:

9COMMITTED to nurturing and protecting the well-being of the individual, the family, communities and the nation:

10RECOGNISING the aspirations of all Kenyans for a government based on the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law:

11EXERCISING our sovereign and inalienable right to determine the form of governance of our country and having participated fully in the making of this Constitution:

12ADOPT, ENACT and give this Constitution to ourselves and to our future generations.

13GOD BLESS KENYA

14CHAPTER 1. SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PEOPLE AND SUPREMACY OF THIS CONSTITUTION

151. SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PEOPLE

161. All sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and shall be exercised only in accordance with this Constitution.

172. The people may exercise their sovereign power either directly or through their democratically elected representatives.

183. Sovereign power under this Constitution is delegated to the following State organs, which shall perform their functions in accordance with this Constitution-

19a.Parliament and the legislative assemblies in the county governments;

20b.the national executive and the executive structures in the county governments; and

21c.the Judiciary and independent tribunals.

224. The sovereign power of the people is exercised at-

23a.the national level; and

24b.the county level.

252. SUPREMACY OF THIS CONSTITUTION

261. This Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic and binds all persons and all State organs at both levels of government.

272. No person may claim or exercise State authority except as authorised under this Constitution.

283. The validity or legality of this Constitution is not subject to challenge by or before any court or other State organ.

294. Any law, including customary law, that is inconsistent with this Constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency, and any act or omission in contravention of this Constitution is invalid.

305. The general rules of international law shall form part of the law of Kenya.

316. Any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of the law of Kenya under this Constitution.

323. DEFENCE OF THIS CONSTITUTION

331. Every person has an obligation to respect, uphold and defend this Constitution.

342. Any attempt to establish a government otherwise than in compliance with this Constitution is unlawful.

35CHAPTER 2. THE REPUBLIC

364. DECLARATION OF THE REPUBLIC

371. Kenya is a sovereign Republic.

382. The Republic of Kenya shall be a multi-party democratic State founded on the national values and principles of governance referred to in Article 10.

395. TERRITORY OF KENYA

40Kenya consists of the territory and territorial waters comprising Kenya on the effective date, and any additional territory and territorial waters as defined by an Act of Parliament.

416. DEVOLUTION AND ACCESS TO SERVICES

421. The territory of Kenya is divided into the counties specified in the First Schedule.

432. The governments at the national and county levels are distinct and inter-dependent and shall conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation.

443. A national State organ shall ensure reasonable access to its services in all parts of the Republic, so far as it is appropriate to do so having regard to the nature of the service.

457. NATIONAL, OFFICIAL AND OTHER LANGUAGES

461. The national language of the Republic is Kiswahili.

472. The official languages of the Republic are Kiswahili and English.

483. The State shall-

49a.promote and protect the diversity of language of the people of Kenya; and

50b.promote the development and use of indigenous languages, Kenyan Sign language, Braille and other communication formats and technologies accessible to persons with disabilities.

518. STATE AND RELIGION

52There shall be no State religion.

539. NATIONAL SYMBOLS AND NATIONAL DAYS

541. The national symbols of the Republic are-

55a.the national flag;

56b.the national anthem;

57c.the coat of arms; and

58d.the public seal.

592. The national symbols are as set out in the Second Schedule.

603. The national days are-

61a.Madaraka Day, to be observed on 1st June;

62b.Mashujaa Day, to be observed on 20th October; and

63c.Jamhuri Day, to be observed on 12th December.

644. A national day shall be a public holiday.

655. Parliament may enact legislation prescribing other public holidays, and providing for observance of public holidays.

6610. NATIONAL VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNANCE

671. The national values and principles of governance in this Article bind all State organs, State officers, public officers and all persons whenever any of them-

68a.applies or interprets this Constitution;

69b.enacts, applies or interprets any law; or

70c.makes or implements public policy decisions.

712. The national values and principles of governance include-

72a.patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people;

73b.human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalised;

74c.good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability; and

75d.sustainable development.

7611. CULTURE

771. This Constitution recognises culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilization of the Kenyan people and nation.

782. The State shall-

79a.promote all forms of national and cultural expression through literature, the arts, traditional celebrations, science, communication, information, mass media, publications, libraries and other cultural heritage;

80b.recognise the role of science and indigenous technologies in the development of the nation; and

81c.promote the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya.

823. Parliament shall enact legislation to-

83a.ensure that communities receive compensation or royalties for the use of their cultures and cultural heritage; and

84b.recognise and protect the ownership of indigenous seeds and plant varieties, their genetic and diverse characteristics and their use by the communities of Kenya.

85CHAPTER 3. CITIZENSHIP

8612. ENTITLEMENTS OF CITIZENS

871. Every citizen is entitled to-

88a.the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship, subject to the limits provided or permitted by this Constitution; and

89b.a Kenyan passport and any document of registration or identification issued by the State to citizens.

902. A passport or other document referred to in clause (1) (b) may be denied, suspended or confiscated only in accordance with an Act of Parliament that satisfies the criteria mentioned in Article 24.

9113. RETENTION AND ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP

921. Every person who was a citizen immediately before the effective date retains the same citizenship status as of that date.

932. Citizenship may be acquired by birth or registration.

943. Citizenship is not lost through marriage or the dissolution of marriage.

9514. CITIZENSHIP BY BIRTH

961. A person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person's birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen.

972. Clause (1) applies equally to a person born before the effective date, whether or not the person was born in Kenya, if either the mother or father of the person is or was a citizen.

983. Parliament may enact legislation limiting the effect of clauses (1) and (2) on the descendents of Kenyan citizens who are born outside Kenya.

994. A child found in Kenya who is, or appears to be, less than eight years of age, and whose nationality and parents are not known, is presumed to be a citizen by birth.

1005. A person who is a Kenyan citizen by birth and who, on the effective date, has ceased to be a Kenyan citizen because the person acquired citizenship of another country, is entitled on application to regain Kenyan citizenship.

10115. CITIZENSHIP BY REGISTRATION

1021. A person who has been married to a citizen for a period of at least seven years is entitled on application to be registered as a citizen.

1032. A person who has been lawfully resident in Kenya for a continuous period of at least seven years, and who satisfies the conditions prescribed by an Act of Parliament, may apply to be registered as a citizen.

1043. A child who is not a citizen, but is adopted by a citizen, is entitled on application to be registered as a citizen.

1054. Parliament shall enact legislation establishing conditions on which citizenship may be granted to individuals who are citizens of other countries.

1065. This Article applies to a person as from the effective date, but any requirements that must be satisfied before the person is entitled to be registered as a citizen shall be regarded as having been satisfied irrespective of whether the person satisfied them before or after the effective date, or partially before, and partially after, the effective date.

10716. DUAL CITIZENSHIP

108A citizen by birth does not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country.

10917. REVOCATION OF CITIZENSHIP

1101. If a person acquired citizenship by registration, the citizenship may be revoked if the person-

111a.acquired the citizenship by fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact;

112b.has, during any war in which Kenya was engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with an enemy or been engaged in or associated with any business that was knowingly carried on in such a manner as to assist an enemy in that war;

113c.has, within five years after registration, been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three years or longer; or

114d.has, at any time after registration, been convicted of treason, or of an offence for which-

115i.a penalty of at least seven years imprisonment may be imposed; or

116ii.a more severe penalty may be imposed.

1172. The citizenship of a person who was presumed to be a citizen by birth, as contemplated in Article 14 (4), may be revoked if-

118a.the citizenship was acquired by fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact by any person;

119b.the nationality or parentage of the person becomes known, and reveals that the person was a citizen of another country; or

120c.the age of the person becomes known, and reveals that the person was older than eight years when found in Kenya.

12118. LEGISLATION ON CITIZENSHIP

122Parliament shall enact legislation-

123a.prescribing procedures by which a person may become a citizen;

124b.governing entry into and residence in Kenya;

125c.providing for the status of permanent residents;

126d.providing for voluntary renunciation of citizenship;

127e.prescribing procedures for revocation of citizenship;

128f.prescribing the duties and rights of citizens; and

129g.generally giving effect to the provisions of this Chapter.

130CHAPTER 4. THE BILL OF RIGHTS

131PART 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE BILL OF RIGHTS

13219. RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

1331. The Bill of Rights is an integral part of Kenya's democratic state and is the framework for social, economic and cultural policies.

1342. The purpose of recognising and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is to preserve the dignity of individuals and communities and to promote social justice and the realisation of the potential of all human beings.

1353. The rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights-

136a.belong to each individual and are not granted by the State;

137b.do not exclude other rights and fundamental freedoms not in the Bill of Rights, but recognised or conferred by law, except to the extent that they are inconsistent with this Chapter; and

138c.are subject only to the limitations contemplated in this Constitution.

13920. APPLICATION OF BILL OF RIGHTS

1401. The Bill of Rights applies to all law and binds all State organs and all persons.

1412. Every person shall enjoy the rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights to the greatest extent consistent with the nature of the right or fundamental freedom.

1423. In applying a provision of the Bill of Rights, a court shall-

143a.develop the law to the extent that it does not give effect to a right or fundamental freedom; and

144b.adopt the interpretation that most favours the enforcement of a right or fundamental freedom.

1454. In interpreting the Bill of Rights, a court, tribunal or other authority shall promote-

146a.the values that underlie an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality, equity and freedom; and

147b.the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights.

1485. In applying any right under Article 43, if the State claims that it does not have the resources to implement the right, a court, tribunal or other authority shall be guided by the following principles-

149a.it is the responsibility of the State to show that the resources are not available;

150b.in allocating resources, the State shall give priority to ensuring the widest possible enjoyment of the right or fundamental freedom having regard to prevailing circumstances, including the vulnerability of particular groups or individuals; and

151c.the court, tribunal or other authority may not interfere with a decision by a State organ concerning the allocation of available resources, solely on the basis that it would have reached a different conclusion.

15221. IMPLEMENTATION OF RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

1531. It is a fundamental duty of the State and every State organ to observe, respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

1542. The State shall take legislative, policy and other measures, including the setting of standards, to achieve the progressive realisation of the rights guaranteed under Article 43.

1553. All State organs and all public officers have the duty to address the needs of vulnerable groups within society, including women, older members of society, persons with disabilities, children, youth, members of minority or marginalised communities, and members of particular ethnic, religious or cultural communities.

1564. The State shall enact and implement legislation to fulfil its international obligations in respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

15722. ENFORCEMENT OF BILL OF RIGHTS

1581. Every person has the right to institute court proceedings claiming that a right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights has been denied, violated or infringed, or is threatened.

1592. In addition to a person acting in their own interest, court proceedings under clause (1) may be instituted by-

160a.a person acting on behalf of another person who cannot act in their own name;

161b.a person acting as a member of, or in the interest of, a group or class of persons;

162c.a person acting in the public interest; or

163d.an association acting in the interest of one or more of its members.

1643. The Chief Justice shall make rules providing for the court proceedings referred to in this Article, which shall satisfy the criteria that-

165a.the rights of standing provided for in clause (2) are fully facilitated;

166b.formalities relating to the proceedings, including commencement of the proceedings, are kept to the minimum, and in particular that the court shall, if necessary, entertain proceedings on the basis of informal documentation;

167c.no fee may be charged for commencing the proceedings;

168d.the court, while observing the rules of natural justice, shall not be unreasonably restricted by procedural technicalities; and

169e.an organisation or individual with particular expertise may, with the leave of the court, appear as a friend of the court.

1704. The absence of rules contemplated in clause (3) does not limit the right of any person to commence court proceedings under this Article, and to have the matter heard and determined by a court.

17123. AUTHORITY OF COURTS TO UPHOLD AND ENFORCE THE BILL OF RIGHTS

1721. The High Court has jurisdiction, in accordance with Article 165, to hear and determine applications for redress of a denial, violation or infringement of, or threat to, a right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights.

1732. Parliament shall enact legislation to give original jurisdiction in appropriate cases to subordinate courts to hear and determine applications for redress of a denial, violation or infringement of, or threat to, a right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights.

1743. In any proceedings brought under Article 22, a court may grant appropriate relief, including-

175a.a declaration of rights;

176b.an injunction;

177c.a conservatory order;

178d.a declaration of invalidity of any law that denies, violates, infringes, or threatens a right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights and is not justified under Article 24;

179e.an order for compensation; and

180f.an order of judicial review.

18124. LIMITATION OF RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

1821. A right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights shall not be limited except by law, and then only to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all relevant factors, including-

183a.the nature of the right or fundamental freedom;

184b.the importance of the purpose of the limitation;

185c.the nature and extent of the limitation;

186d.the need to ensure that the enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and fundamental freedoms of others; and

187e.the relation between the limitation and its purpose and whether there are less restrictive means to achieve the purpose.

1882. Despite clause (1), a provision in legislation limiting a right or fundamental freedom-

189a.in the case of a provision enacted or amended on or after the effective date, is not valid unless the legislation specifically expresses the intention to limit that right or fundamental freedom, and the nature and extent of the limitation;

190b.shall not be construed as limiting the right or fundamental freedom unless the provision is clear and specific about the right or freedom to be limited and the nature and extent of the limitation; and

191c.shall not limit the right or fundamental freedom so far as to derogate from its core or essential content.

1923. The State or a person seeking to justify a particular limitation shall demonstrate to the court, tribunal or other authority that the requirements of this Article have been satisfied.

1934. The provisions of this Chapter on equality shall be qualified to the extent strictly necessary for the application of Muslim law before the Kadhis' courts, to persons who profess the Muslim religion, in matters relating to personal status, marriage, divorce and inheritance.

1945. Despite clause (1) and (2), a provision in legislation may limit the application of the rights or fundamental freedoms in the following provisions to persons serving in the Kenya Defence Forces or the National Police Service-

195a.Article 31-Privacy;

196b.Article 36-Freedom of association;

197c.Article 37-Assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition;

198d.Article 41-Labour relations;

199e.Article 43-Economic and social rights; and

200f.Article 49-Rights of arrested persons.

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