The Arms of government

The Arms of government are:

  • The Legislature
  • The Executive 
  • The Judiciary

Play the video below:


The Legislature

- The Legislature consists of the National Assembly and the Senate.

- The image below shows the current state of the two;

The National Assembly

In the constitution, the National Assembly comprises:

  • 290 elected members each representing one of the 290 constituencies provided for in the constituency.
  • 47 elected women each representing a county.
  • 12 members nominated by political parties according to their representation in the house.
  • The speaker of the National Assembly who is an ex officio member.


A view from the inside of the National Assembly


Functions of the National Assembly

1. To determine the allocation of national revenue between the different levels of government.

2. To make and amend laws that govern the people of Kenya.

3. To deliberate on and resolves issues of concern to the people.

4. To represent the people in the constituency and their interest to the national assembly.

5. To approve declarations of war and extensions of state emergency.

6. To approve or disapprove presidential appointees.

7. To review the conduct in the office of the President, the Deputy President, and other State officers and initiates the process of removing them from office; and exercises oversight of state organs.

8. To exercise oversight over national revenue and its expenditure.

9. To appro[riate funds for expenditure by national government and other national state organs.

The Senate

This part of the parliament consists of: 

  • 47 elected members each representing a county.
  • 16 women nominated by political parties.
  • 2 members (a man and a woman) representing the youths.
  • 2 members (a man and a woman) representing persons with disabilities.
  • The speaker who is an ex officio member.

It has a total of 68 members.

See the representation below:


Functions of the Senate

1. To represent the counties, and serves to protect the interests of the people in the counties and the county governments.

2. To participate in the law-making function of Parliament by considering, debating and approving Bills concerning counties.

3. To determine the allocation of national revenue among counties, as provided and exercise oversight over national revenue allocated to the county governments.

4. The Senate participates in the oversight of state officers by considering and determining any resolutions to remove the President or Deputy President from office in cases of gross misconduct.

The Executive

This arm consists of:

  • The President
  • The Deputy President
  • The Cabinet Secretaries
  • The Attorney General

See the image below:

a) The President

i) The president is elected by registered voters in a national election. An election of the  President is held on the same day as a general election of Members of Parliament.

ii) The President is the head os state and government. He exercises the executive authority of the republic, with the assistance of the Deputy President and Cabinet Secretaries.

iii) The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces. He is the chairperson of the National Security Council and is a symbol of national unity.


Functions of the president

1. The president addresses the opening of each newly elected parliament.

2. He or she also address a special sitting of parliament once every year.

3. The president also reports, in an address to the nation, on all the measures of the national taken and the progress achieved in the realization of national values.

4. The President nominates and, with the approval of the National Assembly, appoints, and may dismissthe cabinet Secretaries, the attorney general, the Secretary to the Cabinet, Principal Secretaries, High commissioners, ambassadors, and diplomatic and consular representatives.

5. The President chairs the Cabinet meetings.

6. The President directs and co-ordinates the functions of ministries and government departments

7. The president receives foreign diplomats and consular representatives.

8. President pardons convicted criminals.

9. Confers honours and national awards in the name of the people and the republic.

10. Declares a state of emergency and with approval of parliament, declares war.

11. The President shall ensure that international obligations of the republic are fulfilled through the actions of the relevant Cabinet Secretaries.

12. The President assents to bills passed by Parliament for implementation.


b) The Deputy President

1. Each candidate in a presidential election nominates a person who is qualified for nomination for election as President, as a candidate for Deputy President.

2. The Deputy President it the principal assistant of the president and deputies for the President in the execution of the President's functions.


Functions of the Deputy President

1. The Deputy President is the principal assistant of the President and deputizes for the President in the execution of the President's functions.

2. The Deputy President performs the functions conferred by the Constitution and any other functions of the President may assign.

3. With the absence of the President or is temporarily incapacitated and during any period that the President decides, the Deputy President acts as the President.


c) The cabinet

The cabinet consists of:

 i) the President

ii) the Deputy President

iii) the Attorney-General

iv) Cabinet Secretaries ( not fewer than fourteen and not more than twenty-two)


Functions of the Cabinet

1. Provides parliament with reports.
2. Manages the various government reports
3. Cabinet Secretaries formulate government policies.
4. Advises the president in the running of the government.
5. The Cabinet Secretaries are the chief accounting officers of the ministries.
6. The Attorney General is the Legal Advisor of the government.
7. The Attorney General represents the national government in any legal proceedings to which it is a party.

The Judiciary

The Judiciary consists of the judges of the superior courts, magistrates, other judicial officers, and staff.

There is also the office of:

  • The Chief Justice, who is the Head of the Judiciary.

  • The Deputy Chief Justice, who is the Deputy Head of the Judiciary.

  • The Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, who is the chief administrator and accounting officer of the Judiciary.

The system of courts

The court system of Kenya is classified into two;

1. The superior courts which include:

  • The Supreme Court

  • The Court of Appeal
  • The High Court

2. The subordinate courts which include:

  • The Magistrates Courts
  • The Kadhis’ Courts

  • The Courts Martial
  • Any other court or local tribunal

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court consists of:

  • The Chief Justice, who is the president of the court.
  • The Deputy Chief Justice who deputises for the Chief Justice; and is the vice president of the court. There are also five other judges.


Functions of the Supreme Court

  • It hears and determines disputes relating to the elections to the office of the President.
  • It hears and determines appeals from the Court of Appeal and any other court or tribunal.
  • It gives advice to the National Government, County Government or any state organ upon request.

The image below shows :


The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal consists of twelve or more judges.

It is headed by the president of the Court of Appeal elected by the judges of this court from among themselves.

The function of this court is to hear appeals from the High Court and any other court or tribunal.


The High Court

The High Court has several judges.

It is headed by the Principal Judge who is elected from among the judges of this court.

An image showing the High court in session:

The functions of the High Court;

  • Handles criminal cases.
  • Handles cases relating to the denial, violation and infringement of rights and freedoms in the Bill of Rights.
  • Hears cases relating to the interpretation of the Constitution of Kenya.


The Magistrates Courts

These courts handle civil and criminal cases.

See the image below:

The Kadhis’ Courts

These courts deal with disputes among Muslims especially on marriage and inheritance issues.

The Courts Martial

This handles disciplinary cases of the officers of the Defence Forces.


Functions of the Judiciary

In exercising judicial authority, the courts and tribunals serve the following functions:

  • Ensure that justice is done to all, irrespective of status.
  • See that justice is not be delayed.
  • Guarantee that alternative forms of dispute resolution including arbitration, reconciliation, mediation and traditional mechanisms of dispute resolution are promoted.
  • Ensure that justice is administered in the correct procedure.
  • Ensure that purpose and principles of the constitution are protected and promoted.

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