Last Updated: 3 April 2020

Kenya is a constitutional republic, governed by an elected president for up to two five-year terms, a bicameral legislature elected every five years, and an independent judiciary. As head of state, the President appoints the cabinet and is the principal strategic decision-maker within the country’s political system.

Following a landmark constitutional revision process in 2010, greater administrative powers were devolved from the National Government with the creation of 47 Counties, each of which has a County Assembly and a County Executive led by a Governor. The Counties have responsibilities in many areas including agriculture, health, and county planning and development. Meanwhile, functions such as foreign affairs, defence and national policy-making remain the preserve of the National Government.

The Jubilee Party under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta is currently in power, having won the contested 2017 general elections. The Party had previously ruled at the head of a formal alliance of parties following its victory in the 2013 elections, before merging the alliance into a single party structure. During the 2017 elections, oppositions parties formed a coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA), which was led by long-standing opposition leader Raila Odinga. The elections were fiercely contested and the presidential poll was subject to a re-run after Kenyatta’s initial victory was annulled by the Supreme Court following a legal challenge by the opposition. The subsequent re-run was ultimately boycotted by the opposition which accused the government of failing to commit to a free and fair electoral process, paving the way for a Kenyatta victory.

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