Kenyan constitutional referendum, 2010

In the constitutional referendum of 4 August 2010, the people of Kenya voted by a clear majority of a new constitution, to restrict the rights of the President in favor of Parliament. The new constitution came into force 27 August 2010 and replaced the 1963 Valid that was formulated with the participation of the former colonial power Britain.


The valid since independence Kenya's Constitution granted the president sweeping powers and supported for decades operated one-party system. International pressure forced President Daniel arap Moi in the early 1990s to re-establish a multi-party system, found in the December 1992 parliamentary elections for the first time with the participation of opposition parties instead.

The democratization process in Kenya led to several constitutional amendments, comprehensive constitutional reform, however, was delayed by Moi and his successor, Mwai Kibaki long. On 21 November 2005, a first referendum on a new constitution took place; the constitutional amendments were rejected by the population with 58 % of votes cast.

Two years after the failed constitutional referendum led the controversial re-election to Kibaki's week-long unrest in Kenya, which ended only after formation of a coalition government. As a result of the unrest efforts were again made ​​to formulate a new constitution.

On 17 November 2009, prepared by the grand coalition draft of the new constitution of Kenya has been submitted. The final formulation of the constitutional text was published on 6 May 2010, a week later, August 4, 2010 was set as the date for the constitutional referendum.

In the debate on the new constitution, six people were killed by an unknown assailant in a demonstration of the opponents of reform in Nairobi with a hand grenade on 13 June 2010. Opponents of the reform were the churches and the former President Daniel arap Moi and some ministers of the coalition government. As a supporter among others, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were. Especially in the Rift Valley, the center of the riots of 2007, was expected to be high number of negative votes.

Content of the draft Constitution

The presented draft constitution contained the largest political change in Kenya. It provides for the limitation of the powers of the President as well as the implementation of land reform. In addition, a Senate is created next to the National Assembly. Abortion for medical reasons should remain allowed. In addition to fundamental rights and equality between women warrants carried out a reform of the judiciary and dual citizenship are possible. The traditional Muslim jurisdiction to be enshrined in the Constitution. MPs should be able to be deselected in the future of their constituencies, again, if they neglect their parliamentary work. The number of ministers should be reduced to 22.


The created after the 2007 elections post of prime minister was abolished. All ministers, ambassadors, high judicial officers and secretaries of state must be approved by Parliament. The President may rule a maximum of two times for five years.


The Senate shall consist of the representatives of 47 administrative districts, 16 representatives of the National Assembly, two representatives of youth organizations and disabled people. The Senate may issue the President by no-confidence motion along with the National Assembly.


The new Verfrassung the establishment of a Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Kenya was provided.

Land reform

It is a commission with wide-ranging powers to be created, which is to correct " injustices " in land distribution. You can cancel illegal land transactions and return lands to local communities. In addition, be subject to an upper limit on private ownership of land. Foreigners will be allowed to lease land only to a maximum of 99 years.


The referendum was by and large peaceful. Due to the high turnout in some cases long queues formed outside polling stations. 70,000 security forces were in use nationwide.


The Constitution was adopted by a clear majority. 66.9 % of the votes cast were in favor of the new constitution. The turnout was 72.2 %. The only province in which the new constitution was rejected, Rift Valley. Disputes over land reform should have been decisive for the outcome of the election here.

On August 27 President Mwai Kibaki put the Constitution officially in force. At the ceremony also searched for war crimes, Sudanese President Omar al -Bashir was present, which attracted international criticism.


During the announcement of partial results confessed to the opponents of the new Constitution defeat one. Education Minister William Ruto, the leader of the Constitutional opponents declared to respect the decision of the people. After the adoption of the official results, President Kibaki laid the August 27, 2010 as the date of entry into force of the new Constitution.

Kiraitu Murungi Energy Minister spoke of a rebirth of Kenya. Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta called on both sides to further cooperation.

The EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton welcomed the vote on August 5, and spoke of a historic event for Kenya.