The Citizen Handbook
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010: The People’s Power
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010: My Constitution, My Future
Leadership & Good Governance
This section describes how the Constitution
aims to revolutionize leadership and governance in the country. It outlines the
principles and values that leaders are required to adhere to and the ways in
which citizens can use them to evaluate the performance of their leaders.
Emphasis on Leadership
The Constitution includes specific
qualifications for and the means to regulate leadership. Chapter Six emphasizes
that public trust is the basis for leadership and authority given to state or
public officials. This means that the people assign authority to a leader,and
the leader is only the custodian of this authority. In this regard, citizens
are responsible for directing how the state exercises its authority. This
includes determining the requirements of those who seek leadership and the type
of actions that disqualify people from leadership positions. Chapter Six of the Constitution exists to ensure that the priority of leaders is the service of
their people and their nation. As such, leadership is an instrument of service in
the constitution and not a means of personal enrichment or pride.
Authoritarian vs. Democratic Leadership
The quality of a country's capacity to lead
is a key factor in determining good governance. In this context, active
participation by citizens in governance is as important as having leaders who
are accountable. It is important, therefore, to look briefly at the two most
general types of leadership styles: (1) authoritarian leadership and (2)
· Authoritarian leadership is a style of leadership where the person in charge does not consult with her/his people or even with her/his colleagues when making decisions. In this type of leadership style, the leader believes that s/he has the right to decide what is best for her/his people. Authoritarian leaders are not tolerant of opposing views or differences of opinion, nor do they safeguard the civil and political rights of the people they lead.
· Democratic leadership is a style of leadership where the leader acts in the interests of his/her people. S/he is prepared to make her/his-self accountable to the people s/he serve and to the institutions they lead. This type of leadership encourages as many people as possible to be part of the decision making process. One way of being accountable to citizens is by not interfering with their right to organize and participate in the management of public affairs.
Oath of State Officers
In an effort to reinforce the importance of
leadership and level of integrity expected of all those elected to serve
positions of power, the Constitution requires newly elected state officers to
take an oath upon the commencement of their term of service. The Third Schedule
of the Constitution provides a series of oaths for State officers and positions
of President, Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries, Chief Justice, Court of
Appeals and High Court Judges, members of Parliament and the Speaker and Deputy
Speaker of the Senate.
Guiding Principles of Leadership and Integrity
The Constitution revolutionizes the
standard of leadership of public and state officers by placing a strong
emphasis on the importance of exercising honesty, transparency, and integrity. It
stresses that the responsibility of representing the people of Kenya is a
privilege and that individuals who fill this role must be dedicated to
expressing their gratitude by ensuring that their actions meet the moral
standards expressed in the Constitution.
Specifically, Chapter 6 of the Constitution includes a thorough explanation of the ways in which the characteristics of leadership and integrity should shape the actions and governance by leaders serving our people. The principles of leadership and integrity in the Constitution, therefore, should serve as guidelines for citizens to consult when electing their representatives.
Citizenship and Leadership
The Constitution links citizenship to
several opportunities to hold public leadership positions. For example, only
citizens may pursue an appointment as a state officer. The Constitution also
prevents individuals holding dual citizenship from serving as state officers or
members of the Kenya Defence Forces.
Conduct of State Officers
Article 75 of the Constitution gives an
overview of the expected conduct of state officers in their service as leaders,
their interactions with members of the public, and their private lives.
Specifically, state officers are required to prevent personal interests from
influencing or hindering their function and decision-making as leaders.
Article 75(2) outlines the consequences and penalties associated with violating the leadership and integrity obligations of a state officer. Furthermore, Article 76 explicitly prohibits state officers from absorbing public financial contributions, from having a bank account outside of the country, and from receiving loans that can potentially interfere with the integrity required of a state officer.
Restriction on State Officers
There are several prohibited activities of
state officers outlined in Article 77 of the Constitution. For example, state
officers may not pursue or accept any other form of employment or occupy any
leadership position in a political party. The intention of Article 77 is to
ensure a state officer remains focused solely on serving citizens in a manner
that demonstrates honesty, integrity, and accountability.
Expected Conduct of State Officers
75 (1) of the Constitution stipulates that “State officer shall behave,
whether in public and official life, in private life, or in association with
other persons, in a manner that avoids—
any conflict between personal interests and public or official duties;
compromising any public or official interest in favour of a personal
demeaning the office the officer holds.”
75 (1), The Constitution of Kenya, 2010
Leadership and Integrity Legislation
Article 80 of the Constitution directs
Parliament to enact legislation on Chapter 6 of the Constitution on Leadership
and Integrity. This legislation, according to the Constitution, should include
provisions on enforcing Chapter Six as well as prescribing penalties for
violators. Additionally, the Constitution directs Parliament to establish a
commission for ethics and anti-corruption, which will assist in promoting and
enforcing the principles of leadership and integrity.
The Leadership and Integrity Act (No. 19 of 2012), assented to on 27 August 2012, establishes procedures and mechanisms for the effective administration of Chapter Six of the Constitution. The Act also provides a general Leadership and Integrity Code for State officers, which covers such issues citizenship, public trust, and financial integrity.
Furthermore, the Act addresses personal behavioural issues of state officers like impartiality, bullying, and conduct of private affairs. It also outlines specific enforcement measures and penalties to ensure all state officers follow the Code. The Act has two Schedules: the First Schedule includes a “Self-Declaration Form” that must be completed by state officers, and the Second Schedule, which gives a list of "interests" all state officers should disclose publicly. This includes any existing contracts for goods and services held by a state officer, directorships in public or private companies, and land or property in their possession.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission
shall enact legislation to establish an independent ethics and
anti-corruption commission, which shall be and have the status and powers of
a commission under Chapter Fifteen, for purposes of ensuring compliance with,
and enforcement of, the provisions of this Chapter."
79, The Constitution of Kenya, 2010
Application & Implication
The Constitution provides clear principles
on integrity for our leaders to follow no matter what level of government. The
implications for our leaders are that they have clearly written values to guide
them in their work and to hold them accountable in a realistic way. Similarly,
the Constitution's principles on leadership and integrity arm you with the
power to hold your leaders accountable. These principles are also something you
can consult during the process of selecting an individual to represent you in government.