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Constitutionalism in Kenya: Two Steps Forward or One Step Back?

Ousseina Alidou, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures and Director, Center for African Studies, Rutgers University-New Brunswick ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )


On August 27, 2010 Kenya joined South Africa by setting a marvelous example in constitution-making, by voting in a referendum in favor of a relatively progressive Constitution whose crafting involved the nation from the grassroots up. The process set in motion by the Kenya Constitution Review Commission was a successful experimentation with participatory democratic constitution-making that signaled hope for Africa. This national achievement was particularly remarkable in that the leadership involved Kenyan women across all communities and resulted, in part, in the establishment of national and institutional gender mainstreaming policies and later to the enactment of the Sexual Offenses Act. Wanjiru Kabira (2102) provides several examples of inspiring stories of Kenya women leaders in the forefront of the struggle to forge a new democratic and constitutional culture in the nation. 

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