Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa lies on the equator. With the Indian Ocean to its south-east, it is bordered by Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya has a land area of 580,000 km2 and a population of a little over 43 million residents. (Dell D6400 battery) The country is named after Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and second among Africa's highest mountain peaks. Its capital and largest city is Nairobi.
Kenya has a warm and humid climate along its coastline on the Indian Ocean, which changes to wildlife-rich savannah grasslands moving inland towards the capital. Nairobi has a cool climate that gets colder approaching Mount Kenya, which has three permanently snow-capped peaks(Dell HF674 battery). The warm and humid tropical climate reappears further inland towards lake Victoria, before giving way to temperate forested and hilly areas in the western region. The North Eastern regions along the border with Somalia and Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid areas with near-desert landscapes. Lake Victoria, the world's second largest fresh-water lake (after Lake Superior in the US and Canada) (Dell N3010 battery) and the world's largest tropical lake, is situated to the southwest and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya is famous for its safaris and diverse world-famous wildlife reserves such as the East and West Tsavo National Park, the Maasai Mara, Nakuru National Park, and Aberdares National Park.
The African Great Lakes region, of which Kenya is a part, has seen human habitation since the Lower Paleolithic period(Dell Inspiron N4010 battery). The Bantu expansion reached the area from West-Central Africa by the first millennium AD, and the borders of the modern state comprise the crossroads of the Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic ethno-linguistic areas of the continent, making Kenya a multi-cultural country. European and Arab presence in Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period(Dell INSPIRON 1100 battery), but European exploration of the interior began only in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, known from 1920 as the Kenya Colony. The independent Republic of Kenya was founded in December 1963. Following a referendum in August 2010 and adoption of a new constitution that replaced the old one that was inherited from the British at independence(Dell Inspiron 1200 battery), Kenya is now divided into 47 counties that are interdependent with the National government and conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation. The counties are governed by elected governors and operate independent of the central government in Nairobi.
The capital, Nairobi, is a regional commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. (Dell Inspiron 1420 battery) Agriculture is a major employer and the country traditionally exports tea and coffee, and more recently fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is a major economic driver. Kenya is a member of the East African Community.
Further information: Names on Mount Kenya
The word Kenya, /ˈkɛnjə/, originates from the Kikuyu, Embu and Kamba names for Mount Kenya, "Kirinyaga", "Kirinyaa" and "Kiinyaa". Prehistoric volcanic eruptions of Mount Kenya (now extinct) may have resulted (Dell Inspiron 1464 battery)in its association with divinity and creation among the indigenous Kikuyu-related ethnic groups who are the native inhabitants of the agricultural land surrounding Mount Kenya.[original research?]
The Wakamba first pointed out the second mountain to Dr. Krapf called "Kĩ-Nyaa" or "Kĩĩma- Kĩĩyaa" which is similar to Kĩrĩma Kĩrĩnyaga in Kikuyu... (Dell Inspiron 1564 battery) probably because the pattern of black rock and white snow on its peaks reminded them of the feathers of the cock ostrich.
The word "Nyaga" is a Kikuyu – Embu word meaning "spot". It is a diminutive for "Manyaganyaga" (spots). The spots of the black rock and the white snow could be the origin of the words "Kĩrĩ-nyaga" which in this case means 'spotted'. Therefore, Mwene- Nyaga (Agikuyu God) means "The owner/guardian of the spotted Mountain"(Dell Inspiron 1764 battery).
In the 19th century, the German explorer Ludwig Krapf recorded the name as both Kenia and Kegnia believed by some to be a corruption of the Kamba version. Others say that this was—on the contrary—a very precise notation of a correct African pronunciation /ˈkɛnjə/. A map drawn by Joseph Thompsons, 1882 a Scottish geologist and Naturalist indicated Mt. Kenya as Mt. Kenia, 18620. (Dell Inspiron 1520 battery)
Geography and climate
Main articles: Geography of Kenya and Climate of Kenya
See also: Environmental issues in Kenya
Mount Kenya is the highest peak in Kenya at 5,199 m (17,057 ft). Kenya is named after the mountain.
At 580,367 km2 (224,081 sq mi), Kenya is the world's forty-seventh largest country (after Madagascar). It lies between latitudes 5°N and 5°S, and longitudes 34° and 42°E. From the coast on the Indian Ocean(Dell Inspiron 1521 battery), the low plains rise to central highlands. The highlands are bisected by the Great Rift Valley; a fertile plateau lies in the east. The Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. The highlands are the site of the highest point in Kenya (and the second highest in Africa): Mount Kenya, which reaches 5,199 m (17,057 ft) and is the site of glaciers(Dell inspiron 1525 battery). Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/19,341 ft) can be seen from Kenya to the South of the Tanzanian border.
Kenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate inland to arid in the north and northeast parts of the country. Kenya receives a great deal of sunshine all the year round, and summer clothes are worn throughout the year(Dell inspiron 1526 battery). It is usually cool at night and early in the morning inland at higher elevations. The "long rains" season occurs from March/April to May/June. The "short rains" season occurs from October to November/December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The temperature remains high throughout these months of tropical rain. The hottest period is February and March(Dell Inspiron 1720 battery), leading into the season of the long rains, and the coldest is in July and August.
Kenya has considerable land area devoted to wildlife habitats, including the Masai Mara, where Blue Wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 blue wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. (Dell Inspiron 2000 battery)The "Big Five" animals of Africa can be found in Kenya and in the Masai Mara in particular: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in the country. The annual animal migration – especially migration of the wildebeest(Dell INSPIRON 2600 battery) – occurs between June and September with millions of animals taking part.
Kenya is the setting for one of the Natural Wonders of the World – the great wildebeest migration. 11.5 million of these ungulates migrate a distance of 1,800 miles from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya, in a constant clockwise fashion, searching for food and water supplies(Dell INSPIRON 3800 battery).
Main article: History of Kenya
The African theropod Spinosaurus was the largest known carnivorous dinosaur.
Giant crocodile fossils have been discovered in Kenya, dating from the Mesozoic Era, over 200 million years ago. The fossils were found in an excavation conducted by a team from the University of Utah and the National Museums of Kenya in July–August 2004 at Lokitaung Gorge, near Lake Turkana. (Dell INSPIRON 4000 battery)
Fossils found in East Africa suggest that primates roamed the area more than 20 million years ago. Recent finds near Kenya's Lake Turkana indicate that hominids such as Homo habilis (1.8 and 2.5 million years ago) and Homo erectus (1.8 million to 350 000 years ago) are possible direct ancestors of modern Homo sapiens and lived in Kenya during the Pleistocene epoch(Dell Inspiron 5000 battery). In 1984, one particular discovery made at Lake Turkana by famous palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey and Kamoya Kimeu was the skeleton of a Turkana boy, belonging to Homo erectus from 1.6 million years ago. Previous research on early hominids is particularly identified with Mary Leakey and Louis Leakey, who were responsible for the preliminary archaeological research at Olorgesailie and Hyrax Hill(Dell INSPIRON 500M battery). Later work at the former was undertaken by Glynn Isaac.
Kenya has been inhabited by people for as long as human history has existed.
This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. Please improve the article by adding information on neglected viewpoints, or discuss the issue on the talk page. (August 2012)
The first inhabitants of present-day Kenya were hunter-gatherer groups, akin to the modern Khoisan speakers. (Dell INSPIRON 5100 battery)These people were later replaced by agropastoralist Cushitic speakers from the Horn of Africa. During the early Holocene the regional climate shifted from dry to wetter climatic conditions, providing an opportunity for the development of cultural traditions, such as agriculture and herding, in a more favorable environment. (Dell INSPIRON 510M battery)
Around 500 BC Nilotic speaking pastoralists (ancestral to Kenya's Nilotic speakers) started migrating from present-day Southern Sudan into Kenya. Nilotic groups in Kenya include the Samburu, Luo, Turkana, Maasai.
By the first millennium AD, Bantu-speaking farmers moved into the region. The Bantus originated in West Africa along the Benue River in what is now eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon. (Dell INSPIRON 6000 battery)The Bantu migration brought new developments in agriculture and iron working to the region. Bantu groups in Kenya include the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Kisii, Ameru, Aembu, Ambeere and Mijikenda among others.
Remarkable prehistoric sites in the interior of Kenya include the archaeoastronomical site Namoratunga on the west side of Lake Turkana and the walled settlement of ThimLich Ohinga in Nyanza Province(Dell INSPIRON 600M battery).
Arab traders began frequenting the Kenya coast around the 1st century AD. Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization, and Arab and Persian settlements sprouted along the coast by the 8th century.
The Kenyan coast had served host to communities of ironworkers and communities of subsistence farmers, hunters and fishers who supported the economy with agriculture, fishing, metal production and trade with foreign countries. (Dell Inspiron 6400 battery)
The Great Mosque of Kilwa Kisiwani, one of the many mosques built by the Persian founders of the Kilwa Sultanate.
The Kilwa Sultanate was a medieval sultanate, centered at Kilwa in modern-day Tanzania. At its height, its authority stretched over the entire length of the Swahili Coast, including Kenya. It was founded in the 10th century by Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi, a Persian Prince of Shiraz. (Dell INSPIRON 7000 battery)The Persian rulers would go on to build elaborate coral mosques and introduced copper coinage.
During this period, Arabs from southern Arabia settled on the coast. They established many new autonomous city-states, including Mombasa, Malindi and Zanzibar. The Arab migrants also introduced Islam and the Omani dialect of Arabic to the area. This blending of cultures left a notable Arabian influence on the local Bantu Swahili culture and language of the coast. (Dell INSPIRON 700M battery) The Arabs built Mombasa into a major port city and established trade links with other nearby city-states, as well as commercial centers in Persia, Arabia, and even India. By the 15th-century, Portuguese voyager Duarte Barbosa claimed that "Mombasa is a place of great traffic and has a good harbour in which there are always moored small craft of many kinds and also great ships(Dell Inspiron 710m battery), both of which are bound from Sofala and others which come from Cambay and Melinde and others which sail to the island of Zanzibar."
In the centuries preceding colonization, the Swahili coast of Kenya was part of the east African region which traded with the Arab world and India especially for ivory and slaves (the Ameru tribe is said to have originated from slaves escaping from Arab lands sometime around the year 1700) (Dell INSPIRON 8200 battery). Initially these traders came mainly from Arab states, but later many came from Zanzibar (such as Tippu Tip). Close to 90% of the population on the Kenya coast was enslaved. Swahili, a Bantu language with Arabic, Persian, and other Middle Eastern and South Asian loanwords, later developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples. (Dell INSPIRON 8600 battery)
Throughout the centuries the Kenyan Coast has played host to many merchants and explorers. Among the cities that line the Kenyan coast is the City of Malindi. It has remained an important Swahili settlement since the 14th century and once rivaled Mombasa for dominance in this part of East Africa. Malindi has traditionally been a friendly port city for foreign powers(Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery). In 1414, the Arab Sultan of Malindi initiated diplomatic relations with Ming Dynasty China during the voyages of the explorer Zheng He. Malindi authorities welcomed Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, in 1498.
Main article: History of Kenya#Colonial history
Britain's possessions in British East Africa during the colonial period.
The colonial history of Kenya dates from the establishment of a German protectorate over the Sultan of Zanzibar's coastal possessions in 1885(Dell INSPIRON 9200 battery), followed by the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1888. Incipient imperial rivalry was forestalled when Germany handed its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890. This was followed by the building of the Kenya–Uganda railway passing through the country. This was resisted by some tribes — notably the Nandi led by Orkoiyot Koitalel Arap Samoei for ten years from 1890 to 1900 —(Dell INSPIRON 9300 battery) still the British eventually built the railway. The Nandi were the first tribe to be put in a native reserve to stop them from disrupting the building of the railway. During the railway construction era, there was a significant inflow of Indian peoples, who provided the bulk of the skilled manpower required for construction.
While building the railroad through Tsavo, a number of the Indian railway workers and local African labourers were attacked by two lions known as the Tsavo maneaters(Dell Inspiron 9400 battery). They and most of their descendants later remained in Kenya and formed the core of several distinct Indian communities such as the Ismaili Muslim and Sikh communities.
Statue of Dedan Kimathi, a Kenyan rebel leader with the Mau Mau who fought against British colonization in the 1950s.
At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the governors of British East Africa (as the Protectorate was generally known) and German East Africa agreed a truce in an attempt to keep the young colonies out of direct hostilities(Dell Inspiron E1505 battery). Lt Col Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck took command of the German military forces, determined to tie down as many British resources as possible. Completely cut off from Germany, von Lettow conducted an effective guerilla warfare campaign, living off the land, capturing British supplies, and remaining undefeated(Dell Inspiron E1705 battery). He eventually surrendered in Zambia eleven days after the Armistice was signed in 1918. To chase von Lettow the British deployed the British Indian Army troops from India and then needed large numbers of porters to overcome the formidable logistics of transporting supplies far into the interior on foot. The Carrier Corps was formed and ultimately mobilised over 400,000 Africans, contributing to their long-term politicisation. (Dell Inspiron Mini 9 battery)
During the early part of the 20th century, the interior central highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who became wealthy farming coffee and tea. (One depiction of this period of change from one colonist's perspective is found in the memoir "Out of Africa" by Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke, published in 1937.) (Dell Latitude D400 battery) By the 1930s, approximately 30,000 white settlers lived in the area and gained a political voice because of their contribution to the market economy. The area was already home to over a million members of the Kikuyu people, most of whom had no land claims in European terms, and lived as itinerant farmers. To protect their interests, the settlers banned the growing of coffee, introduced a hut tax(Dell STUDIO 1450 battery), and the landless were granted less and less land in exchange for their labour. A massive exodus to the cities ensued as their ability to provide a living from the land dwindled. By the 1950s, the white population numbered 80,000.
In 1952, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Phillip were on holiday at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya when her father, King George VI, passed away in his sleep. The young princess cut-short her trip and returned home immediately to take her throne(Dell Vostro 1400 battery). Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at the Westminster Abbey in 1953 and, as one gentleman put it, she went up a tree in Africa a princess, and came down a queen.
Kenya–Uganda railway near Mombasa, about 1899
From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the King's African Rifles. The British began counter-insurgency operations(Dell Vostro 1500 battery); in May 1953 General Sir George Erskine took charge as commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces, with the personal backing of Winston Churchill.
The capture of Warũhiũ Itote (aka General China) on 15 January 1954 and the subsequent interrogation led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure. Operation Anvil opened on 24 April 1954, after weeks of planning by the army with the approval of the War Council. The operation effectively placed Nairobi under military siege(Dell XPS M1210 battery), and the occupants were screened and the Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. The Home Guard formed the core of the government's strategy as it was composed of loyalist Africans, not foreign forces like the British Army and King's African Rifles. By the end of the emergency, the Home Guard had killed 4,686 Mau Mau, amounting to 42% (Dell XPS M1330 battery)of the total insurgents. The capture of Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956 in Nyeri signified the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau and essentially ended the military offensive. During this period, substantial governmental changes to land tenure occurred. The most important of these was the Swynnerton Plan, which was used to both reward loyalists and punish Mau Mau(Dell XPS 1340 battery).
The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. Despite British hopes of handing power to "moderate" African rivals, it was the Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta that formed a government shortly before Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963, on the same day forming the first Constitution of Kenya. (Dell XPS M1530 battery)During the same year, the Kenyan army fought the Shifta War against ethnic Somalis who wanted Kenya's Northern Frontier District joined with the Republic of Somalia. The Shifta War officially ended with the signature of the Arusha Memorandum in October, 1967, but relative insecurity prevailed through 1969. To discourage further invasions, Kenya signed a defence pact with Ethiopia in 1969, which is still in effect. (Dell XPS M170 battery)
The former Kenyan President and founder of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta.
On 12 December 1964 the Republic of Kenya was proclaimed, and Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya's first president. At Kenyatta's death in 1978, Daniel arap Moi became President. Daniel arap Moi retained the Presidency, being unopposed in elections held in 1979, 1983 (snap elections) and 1988, all of which were held under the single party constitution(Dell XPS M1710 battery). The 1983 elections were held a year early, and were a direct result of an abortive military coup attempt on 2 August 1982.
The abortive coup was masterminded by a low ranked Air Force serviceman, Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka and was staged mainly by enlisted men in the Air Force. The attempt was quickly suppressed by Loyalist forces led by the Army, the General Service Unit (GSU) — a paramilitary wing of the police — and later the regular police, but not without civilian casualties(Dell XPS M1730 battery). This event led to the disbanding of the entire Air Force and a large number of its former members were either dismissed or court-martialled.
The election held in 1988 saw the advent of the mlolongo (queuing) system, where voters were supposed to line up behind their favoured candidates instead of a secret ballot. This was seen as the climax of a very undemocratic regime and it led to widespread agitation for constitutional reform(Dell XPS M2010 battery). Several contentious clauses, including one that allowed for only one political party were changed in the following years. In democratic, multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997, Daniel arap Moi won re-election. In 2002, Moi was constitutionally barred from running, and Mwai Kǐbakǐ, running for the opposition coalition "National Rainbow Coalition" — NARC, was elected President(Dell Latitude E5400 battery). Anderson (2003) reports the elections were judged free and fair by local and international observers, and seemed to mark a turning point in Kenya's democratic evolution.
Government and Politics
Main article: Politics of Kenya
Current president Mwai Kibaki
Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is both the head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government(Dell Latitude E5500 battery). Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. There was growing concern especially during former president Daniel arap Moi's tenure that the executive was increasingly meddling with the affairs of the judiciary. (Dell Latitude E6400 battery)
Following general elections held in 1997, the Constitution of Kenya Review Act designed to pave the way for more comprehensive amendments to the Kenyan constitution was passed by the local parliament.
In December 2002, Kenyans held democratic and open elections, most of which were judged free and fair by international observers(Dell Latitude E6500 battery). The 2002 elections marked an important turning point in Kenya's democratic evolution in that power was transferred peacefully from the Kenya African National Union (KANU), which had ruled the country since independence to the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), a coalition of political parties.
Under the presidency of Mwai Kibaki(Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery), the new ruling coalition promised to focus its efforts on generating economic growth, combating corruption, improving education, and rewriting its constitution. A few of these promises have been met. There is free primary education. In 2007 the government issued a statement declaring that from 2008, secondary education would be heavily subsidised, with the government footing all tuition fees. (Dell XPS M140 battery)
Main article: Kenyan presidential election, 2007
Orange Democratic Movement supporters at a rally during the 2007–08 Kenyan crisis
The latest general elections were held on 27 December 2007. In them, President Kibaki under the Party of National Unity ran for re-election against the main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). The elections were seen to have been flawed with international observers saying that they were below international standards(Dell XPS 13 battery). After a split which would take a crucial 8% of the votes away from the ODM to the newly formed Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K)'s candidate, Kalonzo Musyoka, the race tightened between ODM candidate Raila Odinga and Kibaki. As the count came in to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) headquarters, Odinga was shown to have a slight, and then substantial lead as the results from his strongholds came in early(Dell XPS 16 battery). As the ECK continued to count the votes, Kibaki closed the gap and then overtook his opponent by a substantial margin after votes from his stronghold arrived later. This led to protests and open discrediting of the ECK for complicity and to Odinga declaring himself the "people's president" and calling for a recount. (Dell XPS 1640 battery)
The protests escalated into ethnic violence and destruction of property, almost 1,000 people were killed and nearly 600,000 displaced. The dispute caused underlying tensions over land and its distribution to re-erupt, as it had in the 1992 and 1997 elections. Hundreds of thousands were forced off their land to relatives elsewhere in the country and some claim weapons are being bought in the region, perhaps in anticipation of the 2012 elections. (Dell XPS 1645 battery)
A group of eminent persons of Africa, led by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, brokered a peaceful solution to the political stalemate.
Since the election riots, the government and civil society organisations started programmes to avoid similar disasters in the future, sais Agnes R. M. Aboum - executive director of TAABCO Research and Development Consultants in Nairobi - in the magazine D+C Development and Cooperation(Dell XPS 1647 battery). For example, the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission initiated community dialogues, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya started peace meetings and the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process was started.
Current prime minister Raila Odinga
On 28 February 2008, Kibaki and Odinga signed an agreement on the formation of a coalition government in which Odinga would become Kenya's second prime Minister. Under the deal, the president would appoint cabinet ministers from both PNU and ODM camps depending on each party's strength in Parliament(Dell Latitude 131L battery). The agreement stipulated that the cabinet would include a vice-president and two deputy Prime Ministers. After being debated and passed by Parliament, the coalition would hold until the end of the current Parliament or if either of the parties withdraws from the deal before then.
The new office of the PM will have power and authority to co-ordinate and supervise the functions of the Government and will be occupied by an elected MP who will be the leader of the party or coalition with majority members in Parliament(Dell Latitude C400 battery). The world watched Annan and his UN-backed panel and African Union chairman Jakaya Kikwete as they brought together the erstwhile rivals to the signing ceremony, beamed live on national TV from the steps of Nairobi's Harambee House. On 29 February 2008, representatives of PNU and ODM began working on the finer details of the power-sharing agreement. (Dell Latitude C500 battery) Kenyan lawmakers unanimously approved a power-sharing deal 18 March 2008, aimed at salvaging a country usually seen as one of the most stable and prosperous in Africa. The deal brought Kibaki's PNU and Odinga's ODM together and heralded the formation of the grand coalition, in which the two political parties would share power equally. (Dell Latitude C510 battery)
On 13 April 2008, President Kibaki named a grand coalition cabinet of 41 Ministers- including the prime minister and his two deputies. The cabinet, which included 50 Assistant Ministers, was sworn in at the State House in Nairobi on Thursday, 17 April 2008 in the presence of Dr. Kofi Annan and other invited dignitaries(Dell Latitude C540 battery).
A constitutional change was considered that would eliminate the position of Prime Minister and simultaneously reduce the powers of the President. A referendum to vote on the proposed constitution was held on 4 August 2010, and the new constitution passed by a wide margin. Among other things(Dell Latitude C600 battery), the new constitution delegates more power to local governments and gives Kenyans a bill of rights. It was promulgated on 27 August 2010 at a euphoric ceremony in Nairobi's Uhuru Park, accompanied by a 21-gun salute. The event was graced by a number of African leaders and praised by the international community. As of that day, the new constitution heralding the Second Republic came into force(Dell Latitude C610 battery).
Main articles: Provinces of Kenya, Districts of Kenya, and Divisions of Kenya
Provinces of Kenya
Kenya is divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties that will be headed by governors who will be elected in the first general election under the new constitution in August 2012 (There is still controversy over whether the elections should be held in August or December 2012). Under the old constitution, Kenya comprised eight provinces each headed by a Provincial Commissioner (centrally appointed by the president) (Dell Latitude C640 battery). The provinces (mkoa singular mikoa plural in Swahili) were subdivided into districts (wilaya). There were 69 districts as of 1999 census. Districts are then subdivided into 497 divisions (taarafa). The divisions are then subdivided into 2,427 locations (mtaa) and then 6,612 sublocations (mtaa mdogo). The City of Nairobi enjoys the status of a full administrative province. The government supervises administration of districts and provinces(Dell Latitude C800 battery).
Under the current Kenya constitution, local government authorities are not recognized. However, under the old constitution, local governance in Kenya was practised through local authorities. Many urban centres host city, municipal or town councils. Local authorities in rural areas are known as county councils. Local councillors are elected by civic elections, which are held alongside general elections(Dell Latitude C810 battery).
Constituencies are an electoral subdivision. An Interim Boundaries commission was formed in year 2010 to review the constituencies and in its report, it recommended creation of additional 80 constituencies. Currently, there are 210 Constituencies in Kenya.
Main article: Economy of Kenya
20 shilling note from 1994, depicting then-President Daniel arap Moi
Although Kenya is the biggest and most advanced economy in east and central Africa, it is still a poor developing country with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.509(Dell Latitude C840 battery), putting the country at position 143 out of 185 – one of the lowest in the world and half of Kenyans live in absolute poverty. The important agricultural sector is one of the least developed and largely inefficient, employing 75 percent of the workforce compared to less than 3 percent in the food secure developed countries(Dell Latitude D410 battery).
Despite western donors' early disillusionment with the government, the economy has seen much expansion, seen by strong performance in tourism, higher education and telecommunications, and acceptable post-drought results in agriculture, especially the vital tea sector. Kenya's economy grew by more than 7% in 2007, and its foreign debt was greatly reduced. (Dell Latitude D420 battery) But this changed immediately after the disputed presidential election of December 2007, following the chaos which engulfed the country.
East and Central Africa's biggest economy has posted tremendous growth in the service sector, boosted by rapid expansion in telecommunication and financial activity over the last decade, and now contributes 62 percent of GDP(Dell Latitude D430 battery). Unfortunately, a massive 22 percent of GDP still comes from the unreliable agricultural sector which employs 75 percent of the labor force (a consistent characteristic of under-developed economies that have not attained food security – an important catalyst of economic growth) and a significant portion of the population regularly starves and is heavily dependent on food aid(Dell Latitude D500 battery). Industry and manufacturing is the smallest sector that accounts for 16 percent of the GDP.
Kenya has traditionally been a liberal market with minimal government involvement (price control) seen in the oil industry. However, recent legislation allows the government to determine and gazette price-controls on essential commodities like maize flour, kerosine and cooking oil(Dell Latitude D505 battery).
Privatisation of state corporations like the defunct Kenya Post and Telecommunications Company, which resulted in East Africa's most profitable company – Safaricom, has led to their revival due to massive private investment.
As of May 2011, economic prospects are positive with 4–5% GDP growth expected, largely because of expansions in tourism, telecommunications, transport, construction and a recovery in agriculture(Dell Latitude D510 battery). The World Bank predicts growth of 4% in 2010 and a potential of 4.9% growth in 2011.
In March 1996, the Presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda re-established the East African Community (EAC). The EAC's objectives include harmonizing tariffs and customs regimes, free movement of people, and improving regional infrastructures. In March 2004, the three East African countries signed a Customs Union Agreement(Dell Latitude D520 battery).
The more efficient and lucrative technology-knowledge-and-skill-based service; industry and manufacturing sectors only employ 25 percent of the labor force but contributes the remaining 75 percent of the GDP.
Kenya ranks poorly on Transparency International's corruption perception index.
Kenya is East and Central Africa's hub for Financial services. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is ranked 4th in Africa in terms of Market capitalization. (Dell Latitude D600 battery) The Kenya banking system is supervised by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). As of late July 2004, the system consisted of 43 commercial banks (down from 48 in 2001), several non-bank financial institutions, including mortgage companies, four savings and loan associations, and several score foreign-exchange bureaus. (Dell Latitude D610 battery)
Tourists on a safari in Kenya
Kenya's services sector, which contributes about 63 percent of GDP, is dominated by tourism. The tourism sector has exhibited steady growth in most years since independence and by the late 1980s had become the country's principal source of foreign exchange. Tourists, the largest number from Germany and the United Kingdom, are attracted mainly to the coastal beaches and the game reserves(Dell Latitude D620 battery), notably, the expansive East and West Tsavo National Park (20,808 square kilometers) in the southeast. Tourism has seen a substantial revival over the past several years and is the major contributor to the pick-up in the country's economic growth. Tourism is now Kenya's largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee. In 2006 tourism generated US$803 million, up from US$699 million the previous year.
Main article: Agriculture in Kenya(Dell Latitude D630 battery)
Cultivation on the slopes of Mount Kenya
Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's gross domestic product (GDP), after the service sector. In 2005 agriculture, including forestry and fishing, accounted for about 24 percent of GDP, as well as for 18 percent of wage employment and 50 percent of revenue from exports. The principal cash crops are tea, horticultural produce, and coffee(Dell Latitude D800 battery); horticultural produce and tea are the main growth sectors and the two most valuable of all of Kenya's exports. The production of major food staples such as corn is subject to sharp weather-related fluctuations. Production downturns periodically necessitate food aid—for example, in 2004 aid for 1.8 million people because of one of Kenya's intermittent droughts. (Dell Latitude D810 battery) Tea, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, corn, and wheat are grown in the fertile highlands, one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. Livestock predominates in the semi-arid savanna to the north and east. Coconuts, pineapples, cashew nuts, cotton, sugarcane, sisal, and corn are grown in the lower-lying areas(Dell Latitude D820 battery).
Unfortunately, the country has not attained the level of investment and efficiency in agriculture that can guarantee food security and coupled with resulting poverty (53 percent of the population lives below the poverty line), a significant portion of the population regularly starves and is heavily dependent on food aid(Dell Latitude D830 battery). Poor roads, an inadequate railway network, under-utilised water transport and expensive air transport have isolated mostly arid and semi-arid areas and farmers in other regions often leave food to rot in the fields because they cannot access markets. This was last seen in August and September 2011 prompting the Kenyans for Kenya initiative by the Red Cross. (Dell Latitude 2100 battery)
Industry and manufacturing
Although Kenya is the most industrially developed country in East Africa, manufacturing still accounts for only 14 percent of the GDP. Industrial activity, concentrated around the three largest urban centers, Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, is dominated by food-processing industries such as grain milling, beer production, and sugarcane crushing, and the fabrication of consumer goods(Dell Latitude 2110 battery), e.g., vehicles from kits. There is a vibrant and fast growing cement production industry. Kenya has an oil refinery that processes imported crude petroleum into petroleum products, mainly for the domestic market. In addition, a substantial and expanding informal sector commonly referred to as Jua Kali engages in small-scale manufacturing of household goods, motor-vehicle parts, and farm implements. (Dell Latitude E4300 battery)
Kenya's inclusion among the beneficiaries of the U.S. Government's African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has given a boost to manufacturing in recent years. Since AGOA took effect in 2000, Kenya's clothing sales to the United States increased from US$44 million to US$270 million (2006). (Dell Vostro 1310 battery)Other initiatives to strengthen manufacturing have been the new government's favorable tax measures, including the removal of duty on capital equipment and other raw materials.
Logo of KenGen, the largest electricity producer in Kenya.
The largest share of Kenya's electricity supply comes from hydroelectric stations at dams along the upper Tana River, as well as the Turkwel Gorge Dam in the west. A petroleum-fired plant on the coast, geothermal facilities at Olkaria (near Nairobi) (Dell Vostro 1320 battery), and electricity imported from Uganda make up the rest of the supply. Kenya's installed capacity stood at 1,142 megawatts between 2001 and 2003. The state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), established in 1997 under the name of Kenya Power Company, handles the generation of electricity, while the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) (Dell Vostro 1510 battery), which is slated for privatization, handles transmission and distribution. Shortfalls of electricity occur periodically, when drought reduces water flow. To become energy sufficient, Kenya aims to build a nuclear power plant by 2017.
Workers at Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant
Kenya has proven deposits of oil in Turkana but the commercial viability of drilling not known. Kenya currently imports all crude petroleum requirements. Kenya, east Africa's largest economy(Dell Vostro 1520 battery), has no strategic reserves and relies solely on oil marketers' 21-day oil reserves required under industry regulations. Petroleum accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the national import bill.
The official logo of Vision 2030.
In 2007, the Kenyan government unveiled Vision 2030, an economic development programme it hopes will put the country in the same league as the Asian Economic Tigers by the year 2030.
Oil exploration(Dell Vostro 2510 battery)
Kenya has proven oil deposits in Turkana District: President Mwai Kibaki announced on 26 March 2012 that Tullow Oil, an Anglo-Irish oil exploration firm, had struck oil but its commercial viability and subsequent production would take about three years to confirm.
Early in 2006 Chinese President Hu Jintao signed an oil exploration contract with Kenya, part of a series of deals designed to keep Africa's natural resources flowing to China's rapidly expanding economy(Dell Vostro 1014 battery).
The deal allowed for China's state-controlled offshore oil and gas company, CNOOC, to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of Sudan and Somalia and in coastal waters. There are formal estimates of the possible reserves of oil discovered. (Dell Inspiron 1410 battery)
Main article: Demographics of Kenya
Kikuyu woman in traditional attire.
Kenya has a diverse population that includes most major ethnoracial and linguistic groups found in Africa. There are an estimated 42 different communities, with Bantus (67%) and Nilotes (30%) constituting the majority of local residents. Cushitic groups also form a small ethnic minority, as do Arabs, Indians and Europeans(Dell Vostro 1014N battery).
According to the U.S. CIA, ethnic groups in the nation are represented as follows: Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%.
The country has a young population, with 73% of residents aged below 30 years due to rapid population growth; from 2.9 million to 40 million inhabitants over the last century. (Dell Vostro 1015 battery)
Kenya's various ethnic groups typically speak their mother tongues within their own communities. The two official languages, English and Swahili, are used in varying degrees of fluency for communication with other populations. English is widely spoken in commerce, schooling and government. Peri-urban and rural dwellers are less multilingual, with many in rural areas speaking only their native languages. (Dell Inspiron 1088 battery)
According to Ethnologue, there are a total of 69 languages spoken in Kenya. Most belong to two broad linguistic families: Niger-Congo (Bantu branch) and Nilo-Saharan (Nilotic branch), spoken by the country's Bantu and Nilotic populations, respectively. The Cushitic and Arab ethnic minorities speak languages belonging to the separate Afro-Asiatic family(Dell Vostro A840 battery), with the Hindustani and European residents speaking languages from the Indo-European phylum.
In addition, Kenya's capital, Nairobi, is home to Kibera, one of the world's largest slums. The shanty town is believed to house between 170,000 and 1 million locals. The UNHCR base in Dadaab in the north also currently houses around 500,000 people. (Dell Vostro A860 battery)
Main article: Religion in Kenya
Holy Ghost RC cathedral in Mombasa.
The vast majority of Kenyans are Christian (83%), with 47.7% regarding themselves as Protestant and 23.5% as Roman Catholic. 621,200 of Kenyans are Orthodox Christians. Notably, Kenya has the highest number of Quakers in the world, with around 133,000 members. Sizeable minorities of other faiths do exist (SONY PCG-5G2L battery) (Muslim 11.2%, irreligious 2.4%, indigenous beliefs 1.7%). Sixty percent of the Muslim population lives in Coast Province, comprising 50 percent of the total population there. Western areas of Coast Province are mostly Christian. The upper part of Eastern Province is home to 10 percent of the country's Muslims, where they constitute the majority religious group. (SONY PCG-5G3L battery) In addition, there is a large Hindu population in Kenya (around 50,000), who have played a key role in the local economy. There is also a small group of Baha'is.
Main article: Health in Kenya
See also: Healthcare in Kenya
The bulk of medical care is provided by nurses who run most dispensaries and private medical clinics in rural and under-served urban areas where 80 percent of the population lives. Complicated cases are referred to clinical officers, medical officers and specialist physicians. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics(SONY PCG-F305 battery), in 2011 there were 65,000 qualified nurses registered in the country; 8,600 clinical officers and 7,000 doctors for the population of 43 million people (These figures from official registers include those who have died or left the profession hence the actual number of these workers may be lower).
Despite major achievements in the health sector, Kenya still faces many challenges(SONY PCG-5J1L battery). The life expectancy estimate has dropped to approximately 55 years in 2009 – five years below 1990 levels. The infant mortality rate is high at approximately 44 deaths per 1,000 children in 2012. The WHO estimated in 2011 that only 42% of births were attended by a skilled health professional.
Diseases of poverty directly correlate with a country's economic performance and wealth distribution: (SONY PCG-5J2L battery) Half of Kenyans live below the poverty line near a struggling middle-class and preventable diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition are the biggest burden, major child-killers and responsible for much morbidity; weak policies, corruption, inadequate health workers, weak management and poor leadership in the public health sector are largely to blame(SONY PCG-5K2L battery). According to 2009 estimates, HIV prevalence is about 6.3% of the adult population. However, the 2011 UNAIDS Report suggests that the HIV epidemic may be improving in Kenya, as HIV prevalence is declining among young people (ages 15–24) and pregnant women.
The total fertility rate in Kenya is estimated to be 4.49 children per woman in 2012. Maternal mortality is high, partly because of female genital mutilation. (SONY PCG-5L1L battery) This practice is however on the decline as the country becomes more modernised and the practice was also banned in the country in 2011.
Main article: Education in Kenya
School children in a classroom.
Independent Kenya's first system of education was introduced by British colonists. After Kenya's independence on 12 December 1963, an authority named the Ominde Commission was formed to introduce changes that would reflect the nation's sovereignty. The commission focused on identity and unity, which were critical issues at the time(SONY PCG-6S2L battery). Changes in the subject content of history and geography were made to reflect national cohesion. Between 1964 and 1985, the 7–4–2–3 system was adopted – seven years of primary, four years of lower secondary, two years of upper secondary, and three years of university. All schools had a common curriculum. (SONY PCG-6S3L battery)
In 1981, the Presidential Working Party on the Second University was commissioned to look at both the possibilities of setting up a second university in Kenya as well as the reforming of the entire education system. The committee recommended that the 7–4–2–3 system be changed to an 8–4–4 system (eight years in primary, four years in secondary(SONY PCG-6V1L battery), and four years in university education). The table under Present-day education in Kenya below shows the structure of the 8–4–4 system. Although the 7–4–2–3 system theoretically ended with the introduction of the new 8–4–4 system in 1985, the last batch of students from the former system graduated from Kenyan Universities in 1992. (SONY PCG-6W1L battery)
The current 8–4–4 system was launched in January 1985. It put more emphasis on vocational subjects on the assumption that the new structure would enable school dropouts at all levels either to be self-employed or to secure employment in the informal sector. In January 2003, the Government of Kenya announced the introduction of free primary education(SONY PCG-7111L battery). As a result, primary school enrollment increased by about 70%. Secondary and tertiary education enrollment has not increased proportionally because payment is still required for attendance. In 2007 the government issued a statement declaring that from 2008, secondary education would be heavily subsidized, with the government footing all tuition fees(.html">SONY PCG-71511M battery).
An MSc student at Kenyatta University in Nairobi
Children attend nursery school, or kindergarten in the private sector, until they are five years old. This lasts one to three years (KG1, KG2 and KG3) and is financed privately because there has been no government policy regarding it until recently. There is much celebration and a graduation ceremony at the end of KG3 when the children are ready to join class one in primary school(SONY PCG-6W3L battery).
Basic formal education starts at age six years and lasts 12 years comprising eight years in primary school and four years in high school or secondary school. Primary school is free in public schools and those who exit at this level can join a vocational youth/village polytechnic or make their own arrangements for an apprenticeship program and learn a trade such as tailoring(SONY PCG-7113L battery), carpentry, motor vehicle repair, brick-laying and masonry for about two years. Those who complete high school can join a polytechnic or other technical college and study for three years or proceed directly to the university and study for four years. Graduates from the polytechnics and colleges can then join the workforce and later obtain a specialised higher diploma qualification after a further one to two years of training(SONY PCG-7133L battery), or join the university – usually in the second or third year of their respective course. The higher diploma is accepted by many employers in place of a bachelors degree and direct or accelerated admission to post-graduate studies is possible in some universities.
Public universities in Kenya are highly commercialised institutions and only a small fraction of qualified high school graduates are admitted on limited government-sponsorship (SONY PCG-7Z1L battery)into programmes of their choice. Most are admitted into the social sciences, which are cheap to run, or as self-sponsored students paying the full cost of their studies. Most qualified students who miss-out opt for middle-level diploma programmes in public or private universities, colleges and polytechnics(SONY PCG-7Z2L battery) .
The country's literacy level stands at 85% of the whole population. Preschool, which targets children from age three to five, is an integral component of the education system and is a key requirement for admission to Standard One (First Grade). At the end of primary education, pupils sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), (SONY PCG-8Y1L battery) which determines those who proceed to secondary school or vocational training. Primary school age is 6/7-13/14 years. For those who proceed to secondary level, there is a national examination at the end of Form Four – the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), which determines those proceeding to the universities, other professional training or employment. Students sit examinations in eight subjects of their choosing(SONY PCG-8Y2L battery). However, English, KiSwahili (Languages) and Mathematics are compulsory subjects. The result of this examination is needed for placement at secondary school. In form four of secondary schools the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) is taken.
The Joint Admission Board (JAB) is responsible for selecting students joining the public universities. Other than the public schools, there are many private schools in the country, mainly in urban areas(SONY PCG-8Z2L battery). Similarly, there are a number of international schools catering for various overseas educational systems.
Main article: Culture of Kenya
Dressed up Maasai warriors
Kenya is a diverse country. Notable peoples include the Swahili on the coast, pastoralist communities in the north, and several different communities in the central and western regions. The Maasai culture is well known because of tourism, despite being a minor percentage of the Kenyan population. They are renowned for their elaborate upper body adornment and jewelry.
Kenya has an extensive music, television and theatre scene(SONY PCG-8Z1L battery).
Main article: Literature of Kenya
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o is one of the best known writers of Kenya. His book, Weep Not, Child, is an illustration of life in Kenya during the British occupation. This is a story about the effects of the Mau Mau on the lives of Kenyans. Its combination of themes—colonialism, education, and love—helped to make it one of the best-known novels in Africa(SONY PCG-7112L battery).
M.G. Vassanji's 2003 novel The In-Between World of Vikram Lall won the Giller Prize in 2003. It is the fictional memoir of a Kenyan of Indian heritage and his family as they adjust to the changing political climates in colonial and post-colonial Kenya. Since 2003, the literary journal Kwani? has been publishing Kenyan contemporary literature(SONY PCG-6W2L battery).
Main article: Music of Kenya
Popular Kenyan musician Jua Cali.
Kenya has a diverse assortment of popular music forms, in addition to multiple types of folk music based on the variety over 40 regional languages.
The guitar is the most dominant instrument in Kenyan popular music. Guitar rhythms are very complex and include both native beats and imported ones, especially the Congolese cavacha rhythm. Music usually involves the interplay of multiple parts, and more recently, showy guitar solos as well(SONY PCG-5K1L battery).
Lyrics are most often in Swahili or English. There's also some emerging aspect of Lingala borrowed from Congolese musicians. Lyrics are also written in the indigenous languages, though urban radio will generally not play music in one of the "tribal" languages. This however has been seen through the emergence of vernacular radio stations that broadcast in native languages(SONY VGP-BPS9 battery).
Benga music has been popular since the late 1960s, especially around Lake Victoria. The word benga is occasionally used to refer to any kind of pop music. bass, guitar and percussion are the usual instruments.