Taskforce visited all 47 Counties, and it heard from an inclusive group of citizens from every Constituency that paid attention to gender, ethnic and religious diversity, youth, elders, persons living with a disability, civil society, and the public and private sectors. The Face of Kenya was captured in this process.
The Building Bridges to Unity Advisory Presidential Taskforce has submitted this report which reflects some of the most extensive public consultations ever undertaken by a similar body in Kenyan history. The
The Taskforce heard from more than 400 elected leaders past and present; prominent local voices from the community; and young people who added their voice to citizens in the Counties. This included more than 35 Governors and their Deputies as well as dozens of Senators, MPs, and MCAs in the Counties and in Nairobi. Submissions were given by 123
individuals representing major institutions, including constitutional bodies and major stakeholders in the public and private sectors; 261 individuals and organizations who sent memoranda via (e)mail; and 755 citizens who offered handwritten submissions during public forums in the Counties. Kenyans made their views heard as individual citizens, institutionally and based on diverse interests and experiences. This report reflects their views and insights.
Kenyans feel Kenyan when political competition and the use of ethnicity as an organizing tool are at rest between elections.
Across the country, they are extremely concerned at the poor values we express as a people and a leadership crisis at multiple levels, reflected above all in the continuing elevated levels of corruption. Kenyans are tired of elections that bring the economy to a standstill every few years and feel that politics has become too adversarial
while trying to entrench itself in every facet of their waking lives. They would like a more stable and predictable politics that is democratic and produces governance at the National and County levels that is inclusive of our ethnic, religious, and regional diversity.
While a major focus of this report, again reflecting what we heard from Kenyans, is about Government and the Public Service, the country is far more worried by the lack of jobs and income. This has led to so much poverty, inequality, and frustrated hopes, that our continuity as a unified and secure country is uncertain should we persist in the present course. We desperately need a shift in our economic paradigm if we are to provide enough jobs to our youth and have enough revenue to meet the service and welfare needs of Kenyans.
This report is structured to respond to the nine major national challenges to a united Kenya that were contained in the Joint Communiqué issued following the famous ‘Handshake’ of 9 March 2018.
However, before going forward, the Taskforce would like to give a special note of thanks and recognition to Rt. Hon. Raila A. Odinga, EGH. As earlier indicated, the Taskforce was responding to the Joint Communique that was agreed by the two leaders. Their bold step
and support in establishing this process have become milestones in the building of
bipartisanship and unity in Kenyan history, and further afield.
Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a nation of blood ties to a NATION or ideals 8
Knowing well the Kenyan tendency to keep report-reading light, and thus to focus mostly on
executive summaries, we urge every Kenyan to go deeper into the report. The different
chapters are linked and missing the context and analysis in one leads to a shortfall in
understanding the recommendations in others.
The nine core challenges in the order they are presented in the report are: lack of a national
ethos; responsibilities and rights of citizenship; ethnic antagonism and competition; divisive
elections; inclusivity; shared prosperity; corruption; devolution; and safety and security.
The major recommendations are made at the end of each of the chapters dealing with these
challenges, while Annex 1 lists the recommendations in detail. The challenges are preceded
by key observations made by the Taskforce in the ‘notable issues’ chapter on matters of
such gravity that the Taskforce feels impelled to share them. They frame many of the
specific recommendations that will follow, and therefore should be regarded as integral to
We lack shared beliefs, ideals and aspirations about what Kenya can become
if we all subscribed to a national ethos that builds and reinforces our unity. This report is a
historic opportunity for us to begin willingly defining, developing and subscribing to an
enduring collective vision that would lead to a united Kenya equal to all its major challenges.
It would appreciate and honour excellence in leadership, in the civic practices of citizenship,
and in our care and consideration of one another. Such an ethos would be deeply respectful
of differences in culture, heritage, beliefs and religions. Its character would guide and
constrict the planning and actions of the State to the benefit of the people of Kenya. The
journey to developing such a national ethos begins by accepting the desperate need for it.
That is the most important recommendation made in this report.
Kenya is made up of cultures that have endured for many generations, and that have at their
core the development of ethical and honourable people. Our national ethos will emerge
from expanding our sense of belonging beyond our blood ties so that we come to regard
every Kenyan, and our collective existence as a nation, to be worthy of our personal
commitment and ownership. We will need to have conversations and initiatives that allow
us to innovatively combine the young, dynamic and urbanising cultures with the enduring
wisdom of our diverse cultures.
This is bottom-up work, starting in the family and the community, supported by initiatives
that embrace the positive cultures, beliefs and ideals of Kenya’s diverse communities and
facilitated by civil society, the private sector, and State institutions. It will become
embedded in the formal education system, starting from the earliest age and lasting for a
lifetime, religious and cultural institutions, the media, and our arts sector. It will not be an
ethos made of a single note but will be a complex song of many voices that are inspired by
the desire to contribute to, own and build a nation to which we all belong. A Kenya in which
a Kenyans’ character of embracing hard-work, honesty, integrity, and respectful behaviour
will be recognised and rewarded.
Building Bridges to a United Kenya:
from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 9
Among other important recommendations, the Taskforce believes it is profoundly important
that we give ourselves an official and inclusive national history, of every community, and
stretching back a thousand years. Knowledge of our histories is necessary for us to see far
into the future. The Taskforce has also recommended the formation of an Ethics Commission
to sit under the Office of the President that will keep track of and support the diverse efforts
to develop, build and entrench a new national ethos.
Responsibilities and rights of citizenship:
Kenya is increasingly a nation of distinct
individuals instead of an individually distinct nation. And we have placed too much emphasis
on what the nation can do for each of us — our rights — and given almost no attention to
what we each must do for our nation: our responsibilities. The Taskforce calls for us to
develop a responsibility and execution culture through mechanisms embedded in schools.
There is also a recommendation that leaders in Public Service personally use the services
they govern, to increase ‘skin in the game’. The need for educated parenting is flagged as
key to raising healthy and responsible children in an increasingly complex and fast-changing
Kenya. The duties articulated in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights should be
included in civics curriculums as Kenyans undergo continuous training throughout their lives.
The Taskforce also believes that Kenyan holders of dual citizenship should be equal citizens.
The Kenyan constitution, reflecting the deepest shared ideals of our nation, makes it a
requirement that the human rights of every Kenyan be protected by all Kenyans and by
every organ and office of the State.
At present, unfortunately there is an emerging political
practice that seeks to create two-lanes to citizenship whereby one group of citizens, by
virtue of their dual citizenship, should not have the equal rights to serve in Government.
Regarding Kenyans with dual citizenship as being somehow untrustworthy or unworthy
amounts to discrimination and a lowered standard of protection and recognition. Kenyans
willing to serve should be judged according to their character and track record and not
presumed to have split loyalties that compromise their integrity or patriotism. Furthermore,
there is little argument about how valuable the learning, remittances and voice of Kenyans
in the diaspora are to the prosperity and well-being of Kenyans.
Many members of the Diaspora, if not the majority, yearn to return home to serve their fellow Kenyans, while hoping that their children, born abroad, will one day also return home and take up their
place. The limits to the ability of holders of dual citizenship from serving Kenyans should
therefore be highly limited. One such acceptable instance is in regard to the defence forces,
which constitutionally are ‘responsible for the defence and protection of the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of the Republic’.
This means that, in defence of Kenya, they may be called on to take up arms against the armed forces of other countries in which they may hold citizenship. In this rare, but still possible scenario, there would be potential legal penalties for the Kenyan with dual citizenship if Kenya’s defence forces undertake hostile actions against his or her other country of citizenship. In light of these observations, the Taskforce recommends that the only limit to State service by Kenyans with dual citizenship be the
Commander-in-Chief of the Defence forces, members of the defence forces, and the membership of the Defence Council.
Ethnic antagonism and competition:
These are a major threat to Kenya’s success and to the
very continuity of our country. The Taskforce calls for us to do away with a winner-take-all
Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 10
model for the Presidency and opt for a more consociational model that works best for
ethnically divided societies. All political parties should also be compelled to reflect the Face
of Kenya in ethnic, religious, regional, and gender terms. Individual Kenyans should be
educated, exposed, and incentivised to respect ethnic and religious diversity, and this
principle should be reflected in the Public Service.
In addition, the per capita share ofnational resources for every Kenyan should be carefully balanced to account for every
Kenyan being treated as equal, as the Constitution makes clear, while ensuring that those
who have been marginalised in the past, or are being marginalised at present, are given
extra help where they need it. Regional integration should be accelerated to change the
ethnic calculus of our politics with the East African Community project to achieve political federation following confederation being accelerated. To ensure that we deepen our unity,
the Taskforce recommends that the President, as the symbol of national unity, should
benefit from the private advice of eminent, experienced, and honourable citizens serving in
a Council of Advisors on a non-salaried basis.
In our rush to adopt, and even mimic, foreign models, particularly from
the democratic West, we have forged a politics that is a contest of us versus them. And we
have chosen our ‘us’ and ‘them’ on an ethnic basis, especially in competing for the
Presidency, which is the highest office in Kenyan politics. Lack of inclusivity is the leading
contributor to divisive and conflict-causing elections. Kenyans associate the winner-take-allsystem with divisive elections and want an end to it.
The Taskforce recommends a system
that addresses our unique needs, especially in forging a homegrown or autochthonous
national Executive structure with an Executive President who will be Head of State and
Government and Commander-in-Chief, and be the central symbol of national unity, who
appoints a Prime Minister to deliver on the day-to-day implementation of policy. The
President shall be elected through universal suffrage. For a candidate to be declared the
winner of the presidential election, he or she must win 50% + 1 of the presidential votes and
at least 25% of the votes cast in each of more than half of the Counties, as is now the case.
The President will remain the Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief, and be
the central symbol of national unity. He shall chair the Cabinet that compromises the Deputy
President, the Prime Minister, and Cabinet Ministers. The Taskforce has called for the
retaining of the present two-term limit of presidential terms.
A Prime Minister –
The role of a Prime Minister will be crucial in strengthening inclusivity
and accountability. It will ensure that the work of Government is better overseen by
Parliament, while also ensuring greater inclusivity from political parties with strength in the
Within a set number of days following the summoning of Parliament
after an election, the President shall appoint as Prime Minister, an elected Member of the
National Assembly from a political party having a majority of Members in the National
Assembly or, if no political party has a majority, one who appears to have the support of a
majority of MPs. The nominee shall not assume office until his or her nomination is first
confirmed by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by a majority vote of the
The nominee for Prime Minister shall not assume office until his or her
appointment is first confirmed by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by an
absolute majority vote of MPs. If the Prime Minister nominee is not confirmed, the President
Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 11
shall have another set number of days to make another appointment. This process shall
continue until there is a successful nomination for Prime Minister; a measure to ensure that
this process is not indefinite, and that governance is continuous should be considered. The
Prime Minister may be dismissed by the President or through a vote of no confidence in the
The Prime Minister shall have authority over the supervision and execution of the day-to-day
functions and affairs of the Government. He or she shall be the Leader of Government
Business in the National Assembly. On the President’s tasking, the Prime Minister will chair
In the exercise of his authority, the Prime Minister shall perform or
cause to be performed any matter or matters which the President directs to be done. The
Prime Minister will continue to earn his or her salary as a Member of Parliament with no
additional salary for the prime ministerial role.
The Taskforce recommends that to avoid the politicisation of the Public Service, the
Permanent or Principal Secretaries will not be subject to Parliamentary approval. Their
accountability will be strictly administrative and technical. The work of these senior
administrative officers will be coordinated by the Permanent/Principal Secretary in the
Office of the Prime Minister who will chair the Technical Implementation Committee of
The Cabinet is a crucial part of the Executive arm of Government. Similarly, its
structure is critical to an inclusive and efficient Government. The current debate on whether
the Cabinet adds enough value in governance and delivery has revolved around three key
issues. The first issue has been whether it ought to be a cabinet of technocrats (like the
American system) or whether it should be composed of elected Members of Parliament
(akin to the British parliamentary system). There is discontent with the current system,
judging from what Kenyans told the Taskforce.
The Taskforce proposes that the Cabinet be structured as follows:
- The President will appoint Cabinet Ministers after consultation with the Prime
Minister. The Ministers shall be responsible for the offices that the President
establishes in line with the Constitution.
- The Cabinet shall be drawn from both parliamentarians and technocrats with the
latter being made ex-officio Members of Parliament upon successful Parliamentary
- The Taskforce is also recommending that the Cabinet Secretary be renamed Cabinet
- To ensure more effective political direction and Parliamentary accountability, there
shall be a position of Minister of State that will be appointed from members of the
National Assembly and taking direction in their ministerial duties from Cabinet
Ministers. These Ministers of State will continue to earn their salary as MP with no
additional salary for their ministerial role. The Taskforce further recommends
eliminating the post of Chief Administrative Secretary.
Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 12
The runner-up of the Presidential election becomes an ex-officio Member of Parliament and
the Leader of the Official Opposition if his or her party is not represented in the
Government, or of a coalition of Parliamentary parties not represented in the Government.
The Leader of the Official Opposition shall be enabled to have a Shadow Cabinet to challenge
the Government’s positions in Parliament.
A critical part of the Taskforce’s recommendations is on representation. The success and
sustainability of democracy, to a great extent, depends on the fairness of representation in
the electoral system. Kenyans expressed a powerful attachment to their right to fair
representation that is accessible and responds to their needs. In light of this, the Taskforce
strongly recommends that whatever form reforms to representation take, that they accord
to the following principles if Kenyans are to be fairly and equally represented:
- That the people’s choice, as reflected in the election of their representatives,
including in Party primaries and nominations, shall be upheld through fair, free and
transparent elections. This principle should be provided for in the Political Parties
- Individuals included in any Party lists shall initially have undergone a process that
uses transparent public participation in the Counties even before any other vetting
procedure is used. This principle should be provided for in the Political Parties Act.
- That there shall be the equalisation of representation and equality of citizenship, as
much as possible, by ensuring that each Kenyan vote has the same status and power,
as envisaged in the Constitution.
- Parties should be compelled through the Political Parties Act to be consistent with
the Constitution to meet the Gender Rule and other Constitutional measures of
inclusion through their party lists. This will equalise both genders in political terms,
rather than creating a parallel system that creates a sense of tokenism.
- Party lists for Members of County Assemblies shall follow the same principles and
processes of public participation, elections and vetting as the National Assembly. This
will ensure that the people and parties can ensure that there is accountability in a
- The existing constituencies will be saved, including the protected seats because they
have become key for representation of sparsely populated areas.
- The nomination lists through parties should be completed in a transparent process
governed by the political parties overseen by the Registrar of Political Parties and the
There are also recommendations by the Taskforce on changes to the Independent Electoral
and Boundaries Commission.
In its consultations, the Taskforce heard a lot about the desire for inclusivity and
came to understand that Kenyans have a very particular ethnic interpretation of this
principle that is changing fast, particularly due to rapid urbanisation. The Taskforce found
Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 13
that Kenyans, at core, interpret inclusivity in very political terms as ‘who gets what, when
and how’, and focus on the authoritative allocation of resources and values. They therefore
yearn for more inclusion in executive power, at the National and County levels, as
articulated in the section on divisive elections. Connected to this is Kenyans’ need for fair
and equal representation, and their desire to respond to the inequality in the power of the
vote that has grown over the years, with some areas needing many more votes to elect a
representative. The Taskforce makes major recommendations on increasing inclusivity on a
political, economic, social, religious, cultural, youth, and gender basis.
It also seeks to reduce the ironic phenomenon of those marginalised at the national level being responsible for
marginalising others in the Counties. A critical aspect of inclusivity is that it must be
perceived as reality, especially in job allocation in the Public Service, which should reflect the
ethnic, religious, regional, and cultural Face of Kenya, and should be free of corruption in
recruitment. An elevated concern is in corruption in the recruitment of Kenyans into the
disciplined services, which causes incoming officers to be inducted into a bribe-demanding
culture right from the start of their careers. The Taskforce recommends an out-of-the-box
solution to utilise private sector recruitment companies with internationally reputable
brands to help in filling the recruitment pool for the disciplined services in a way that reflects
merit and the Face of Kenya.
Shared prosperity: We need an economic revolution, to build an economy that can produce
the jobs we need, urgently.
Kenyans speaking in every consulting session run by the
Taskforce, in every County, spoke of their problems fed by poverty and joblessness or underemployment. No country has progressed based on such disparities — including corruption,
exclusion, increasing poverty, hunger, unemployment and persistent inequalities — while
lacking a common national character. The single most important matter facing Kenyans
when it comes to shared prosperity is generating enough jobs and employment, particularly
for young people.
It is not enough to merely improve our economic output and present rates of investment:
we must entirely transform the way our economy operates if we are to deal with the present
lack of jobs. It is therefore crucial for us to build an economy that is founded on the
principles and practices of value creation, and that rejects the extractive model as the
primary mode of economic activity.
This will require a new economic paradigm for jobs and
prosperity that raises national domestic savings beyond 25%, that enables rapid growth of
labour-intensive manufacturing through deeper regional integration, and that uses
economic coordination by the State though not State ownership to grow markets and
industries. Kenya will become more prosperous, with far more jobs created, if we deepen
our regional integration with neighbouring countries in achieving a genuine common market
underpinned by eventual political federation.
The future of the global economy is in innovation and invention using intellectual property,
genes, and the living bodies of knowledge developed by generation after generation of our
people. Kenyan laws must be fashioned to protect these resources fiercely, and the
Government structured to project compliance throughout the world. This should be
accompanied by frameworks for use that maximise the ability of Kenyans to build upon
Building Bridges to a United Kenya:
from a nation of blood ties to a nation of ideals 14 these properties. To build actual wealth and jobs, a surge in entrepreneurship will be
needed, and should be provided through widespread training, and macro- and microeconomic policies that favour start-ups and small growing businesses.
We will need to think big and long term if we are building an industrialised economy that
meets the needs of the current and future generations. We must start with a 50-year plan
that has as its aim, Kenya joining the world’s most prosperous, shared and sustainable
economies. To ensure that our prosperity is indeed shared, the Taskforce calls for the
entrenching of Article 43 on economic and social rights in political platforms and national
It also recommends using scarce public resources for development not bureaucracy
by targeting a ratio or ceiling, written into law of 70:30 for development versus recurrent
expenditure. In addition, young people should be allowed more employment and livelihood
chances by Government making it easier for small businesses to compete and grow.
Corruption: The growing public perception of Kenya having a rigged system that rewards
cronyism and corruption, as opposed to the productive and hardworking, is the greatest risk
to Kenya’s cohesion and security. Tackling corruption is the single most important mission
Kenya has now.
Many Kenyans told the Taskforce that it is the lure of illicit financial gain
through the holding of elected or appointed positions that drives much of the aggressive and
negative ethnicization and even militarisation of political competition. The Taskforce makes
major and actionable recommendations on freeing Kenya from cartel capture; that Public
Officers should not be in business with Government; and that wealth declaration forms
should be made public including a written narrative of how wealth above Kshs 50 million
was acquired. It also calls for making Kenya a 100% e-services nation by digitising all
Government services, processes, payment systems, and record keeping. These services must
be secured from criminal tampering.
The Taskforce calls for more resignations to show that
leaders in executive positions should take responsibility for disasters on their watch by
resigning. The Taskforce has also recommended that strong reforms need to be undertaken
to increase public confidence in the Judiciary, which at the moment is relatively low. The
Taskforce understands that core constitutional principles in Kenya are the separation of
powers, between arms of Government, and accountability to the people of Kenya. This
means that in undertaking reforms, the independence of the Judiciary must be protected as
a fundamental principle, while the Judiciary should be accountable in a clear manner to the
sovereign people of Kenya.
Devolution has largely been a success. However, devolution is still frustrated by
serious challenges that if unaddressed, will raise questions about its political and economic
sustainability. Kenyans overwhelmingly told the Taskforce that they wanted their Counties
to remain as they are but with services further decentralised to the ward level; and that each
ward should benefit by receiving at least 30% of the development fund in each five-year
Kenyans want far better service delivery and for development projects to receive
enough oversight to prevent wastage and corruption. Kenyans told the Taskforce that they
lament the devolution of corruption and impunity to the County Governments and called for
strong anti-corruption measures to be taken. The same calls for inclusion that were made by
Kenyans regarding the National Government were made for the Counties. The ‘winner-take-
Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 15
all’ phenomenon in Counties, following elections, is said by many Kenyans to lead to
discrimination, inequality, and inequity in resource distribution.
The Taskforce calls for the retention of the 47 Counties and for support to the voluntary
process of Counties forming regional economic blocs. Depending on further consultation
with Kenyans, consider that while Kenyans are strong supporters of devolution and their
counties, they also want better value for money and more money to be used for
development as opposed to high recurrent and administrative costs. Perhaps there is a way
that the 47 Counties can be maintained as the focus of development implementation and
the provision of services, while representation and legislation are undertaken in larger
It recommends increasing the resources to the Counties by at least 35% of
the last audited accounts and ensuring that the focus is on service delivery in the settled and
serviced areas, including for people living near the furthest boundaries.
Public resources should follow people not land mass. Meaning that services provided by the
Counties must be as equal as possible by population, and there should be investment in
critical areas such as health, agriculture, and the urban areas, while taking account of past
and existing marginalisation. The aim should be for all Kenyans to have to cover the same
distances to access public services.
The Taskforce proposes changes to the County Executive,including, but not limited to, the running mate of every candidate for the position of
Governor being of the opposite gender. Steps should be taken to strengthen the ability of
the Members of County Assemblies in providing proper oversight on the County
Government. At a minimum, this should be done by ensuring that the transmission and
management of County Assembly budgets are insulated from arbitrary or politicallymotivated interference by County Executives; these processes should also be subjected to
rigorous public finance management processes.
Recognising the critical importance of growing the national economy, the Taskforce calls for Counties to encourage their residents
to be more entrepreneurial, and to compete for investment from other parts of the country,
and abroad, to flow into the County. In addition, a recommendation is made to strengthen
dialogue and the integration of communities in the Counties, especially those that are multiethnic, with a focus on ensuring minorities are heard and respected.
Safety and security: Kenyans told the Taskforce that they do not feel sufficiently safe and
The Taskforce noted the dangerous region Kenya is in and the continuing threats of
terrorism, failing or fragile states and countries with territorial ambitions, police abuses and
rogue illegal actions that violate human rights. The Taskforce strongly recommends that the
value of a Kenyan life impacted by violence, insecurity and poor safety standards should be
the same across Kenya in terms of police response, investigation and prosecution. A life in an
upscale Nairobi suburb should be equally protected as one in Loima village. It also calls for
every incoming President within three months of taking office to publish a comprehensive
National Security and Safety Strategy and renew it two years later. It should be pro-active,
preventive, and pre-emptive, while reflecting the priorities and needs of the entire
Government as well as all sectors of society. There is also an urgent need to strengthen the
performance and public-service orientation of the National Police Service, as well as
supporting the mental health and wellness of officers.
Building Bridges to a United Kenya:
from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 16
Commissions and cross-cutting issues — The Taskforce recommends the transfer of work
reporting on, promoting and enforcing ethical conduct to a proposed Ethics Commission (in
the chapter on National Ethos).
This will mean separating the obligation to conduct criminal
investigations from the obligation to promote and enforce ethics in Public Service.
It also calls for strengthening the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to complement the
independence of the criminal-justice system which includes the Director of Public
Prosecutions and the Judiciary. There should also be an in increase in the resources for the
Director of Public Prosecutions to enable effective prosecutions.
The Taskforce strongly recommends that regulation in Kenya be simplified and made more
transparent and predictable. This can start with the rationalising of the mandates of
regulatory bodies to ensure lack of duplication, and to ease transparency, affordability and
prompt service to enable higher levels of regulatory compliance.
The Taskforce has recommended that it is critical that every organ and arm of Government
be accountable to the people of Kenya. That means that every independent commission
must have internal accountability systems that clearly and transparently separate the power
of appointment and promotion from that of interdiction and censure. In addition, rigorous
audits that inquire into value for money and upholding sound principles of public finance
management should apply to every arm of government and every public institution.
The Taskforce in listening to views on resource sharing, and the provision of services has
come to the conclusion that Nairobi, by virtue of being the national capital and an extraterritorial seat of the United Nations, which has the city as its third global headquarters, is
dissimilar to other counties. The Kenyan people look to the capital as the seat of all arms of
Government and as a critical location for their civic participation in national life.
This means that the Commission of Revenue Allocation formula would struggle to take into
consideration this special status of Nairobi and the demands for services that come with it.
Further to this consideration as capital city, the 26 March 1975 agreement between the
Republic of Kenya and the United Nations regarding the headquarters of the UN
Environment Programme in Nairobi agrees actions by the National Government that touch
on the environment, infrastructure, amenities, public services, and accessibility of the
To demonstrate the far-reaching implications of the agreement, consider its
agreement that ‘the headquarters seat shall be supplied with the necessary services
including without limitation by reason of this enumeration, electricity, water, sewerage, gas,
post, telephone, telegraph, local transportation, drainage, collection of refuse and fire
protection…’ It also holds that ‘in case of any threatened interruption of such services, the
appropriate Kenyan authorities shall consider the needs of UNEP as being of equal
importance with those of essential agencies of the Government…’ These actions are agreed
with the National Government and not the County Government. The status of Nairobi as
host of a global UN headquarters is a big reason why it has become a diplomatic hub with
dozens of countries establishing missions that will allow them representation at UNEP and
other UN bodies governed from Nairobi.
These missions in turn demand a minimum level of
services and facilitation from the National Government. The Taskforce recommends that
Building Bridges to a United Kenya: from a naion of blood ies to a naion or ideals 17
Nairobi be accorded a special status as capital city that allows the National Government the
means to provide the services and facilitation necessary to maintaining it as a capital city
and as a diplomatic hub. At the same time, such a special status should not impede the
rights of the Kenyan people to representation at the ward and parliamentary levels.