Katiba Corner

Thinking about the right to education

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The “right to education” is well-known. The President’s task force on education last year used the phrase several times. It recognised that among the obstacles to achieving that right is violence in school, including physical punishing, sexual violence, bullying and cyber-violence. They also mentioned the Garissa terrorist attack and we could add banditry (and floods). […]
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There are more ways to kill Constitution than repealing it

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The Kenyan constitution is unusually emphatic about its central role in the nation’s life. It is, of course, our basic, fundamental law. It is the framework for government, the basis for all policy making and lawmaking. It should even be basic in our daily lives, because the human rights chapter makes the respect for rights […]
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‘Living within our means’ –What does the Constitution say?

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Various officials of government have been telling us, “We must live within our means.” Among various natural reactions, including “deal with corruption” and “cut the wasteful spending” one was very prominent on X (formerly Twitter). It was something like, “It is ironic that our political class gets away with high salaries, ridiculous allowances, and unnecessary […]
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Can state officers elected as independents join parties?

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All elected politicians were members of Kanu before 1992 (except for a short period after Independence). From 1982, section 2A of the old Constitution made this the legal position. Once section 2A was removed in 1992, people could join other parties and stand for elections. Multi-party had returned. But not “no party”. You could not […]
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The rule of law, and unconstitutional laws

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The courts’ powers to declare law unconstitutional, and their willingness, are crucial to maintaining the “rule of law” in Kenya – a phrase that appears seven times in the Constitution. It might be interesting for readers to know a bit more about how this is done. It is perhaps more common than you might imagine, […]
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Declaring law unconstitutional a critical power of courts

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An item in the Standard (Monday, March 25) was headed, dramatically, “State Property can be auctioned or Cabinet Secretary jailed over debt” and it purported to explain a ruling/judgment by Justice Sifuna on March 15 . It told us that the judge had declared two sections of the Government Proceedings Act unconstitutional and that this […]
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What are Kenyan judges doing when they sentence someone to death?

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When the death penalty was still imposed (and carried out) in England, judges would put on a formal black cap and pronounce: “You are sentenced to be taken hence to the prison in which you were last confined, and from there, to a place of execution where you will be hanged by the neck until […]
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Parliament is supposed to represent us – it’s not just for them

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News about our MPs is rarely positive. Recently an audit report said many MPs claim travel expenses for non-existent visits to their constituencies. Apart from the dishonesty involved, this indicates that MPs do not visit their constituencies much. But how can they understand the issues of their constituents if they do not go there? Visiting […]
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