Corruption and Abuse of Power in Kenya: Will the Proposed New Constitution Enhance Government Accountability?

February 23, 2010
12:00 am - 12:00 am


Dr. Migai Akech
Reagan Fascell Democracy Fellow

with comments by

Dr. Joel Barkan
University of Iowa

About the Event

Kenya has made significant strides towards realizing meaningful democracy since the inception of reforms in the early 1990s. As a result of various democratization initiatives, the powers of the executive have been somewhat curtailed, and the legislature and judiciary now have considerable autonomy. Despite these gains, however, abuse of power continues to be prevalent, and arguably was partly responsible for the subversion of the electoral process that contributed to the outbreak of violence following the highly contested presidential election of December 2007. And corruption, far from abating, seems to be increasing, as is clearly demonstrated by recent scandals. At the same time, it is very likely that a new constitution will be enacted this year. This would represent the culmination of a struggle for constitutional reform that has lasted nearly two decades.

In his presentation, Dr. Migai Akech addressed the need to create auxiliary mechanisms to enhance the accountability of the three branches of government. In particular, he sees such mechanisms as constituting part of a reform agenda that will facilitate the realization of the ideals of the proposed new constitution. Dr. Joel Barkan provided comments.

About the Speakers

Dr. Migai Akech is an academic based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a graduate of the University of Nairobi, Cambridge University, and New York University’s School of Law, where he was a Hauser Global Scholar. He has taught at the University of Nairobi, where he was a senior lecturer, and at NYU School of Law. Dr. Akech is the author of numerous publications, including Privatization and Democracy in East Africa: The Promise of Administrative Law (2009). During his fellowship, Dr. Akech is examining how the distribution of power within Kenya’s executive, legislative and judicial branches of government affects democratic governance. He will also propose administrative law mechanisms to facilitate intra-branch regulation of governmental power.

Dr. Joel D. Barkan is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Iowa and senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His edited volume, Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies, was published in 2009.

Powerpoint Presentation :: PDF