It was whiles in Kenya that I heard the word; “Promulgate” for the first time in my life. According to Dictionary.com; to promulgate means – to make known by open declaration; publish; proclaim formally or put into operation (a law, decree of a court, etc.).
Kenya has done it! Yes, the constitution of Kenya got promulgated on Friday, 27th Aug, 2010. I was so glad, blessed and honored to be in Kenya when this historic event took place at the Uhuru Park in Nairobi.
Citizens of Kenya overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. The new constitution heralds a new beginning for the country. It addresses political patronage, gender disparity, negative ethnicity and land grabbing; issues which have afflicted Kenya since independence.
The expanded Bill of Rights guarantees equal representation for women and increased rights holders’ participation in democratic governance. A lot of humanitarian organizations including ActionAid Kenya laud the provisions for socio- economic rights which guarantee right to health, right to clean environment, right to life and right to decent housing.
“Kenya joins a few socio- democratic states in Africa, which constitutionally bind governments to concrete actions to provide for social- economic rights. Socio- economic rights are major tenets of human development and social justice.”
The new constitution delivers on many points that have been at the heart of pro-women movement in Kenya since 1980’s. Key among them is the provision for at least one third representation of either gender in all governance structures.
“The new constitution gives the Kenyan women new impetus to claim their position of influence with the governance structures. This is a position women have fought so hard for and must take full advantage of.
The new law also prohibits all forms of discrimination including violence against women and any customary law that perpetuates such acts. The new constitution again gives women the legitimacy to pass citizenship to their spouses or children born outside the country.
The increase in women representation both at the policy and judicial level as provided by the constitution will ensure that the gains made are followed through and fully implemented. Among other far-reaching changes in the new constitution is land use. Land disputes have been an underlying cause of the blood-letting that followed the last General Election in Kenya.
The constitution says land in the new Kenya will be;
“held, used and managed in a manner that is equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable”.
It sets out to address the disparities that have seen a few individuals own large tracts of land even in highly populous areas by requiring Parliament to “prescribe minimum and maximum land holding acreages in respect of private land.
The new constitution will come into full implementation in 2012.
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