Understanding Kenya's New Ballot Choices

The returning officer for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa, Gabriel Mwalenga, right, explains to registered voters how the ballot boxes will be used in the forthcoming general elections during an election mock voting exercise organized by the IEBC and sponsorThe returning officer for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa, Gabriel Mwalenga, right, explains to registered voters how the ballot boxes will be used in the forthcoming general elections during an election mock voting exercise organized by the IEBC and sponsor
x
The returning officer for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa, Gabriel Mwalenga, right, explains to registered voters how the ballot boxes will be used in the forthcoming general elections during an election mock voting exercise organized by the IEBC and sponsor
The returning officer for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa, Gabriel Mwalenga, right, explains to registered voters how the ballot boxes will be used in the forthcoming general elections during an election mock voting exercise organized by the IEBC and sponsor
Kenyans who go to the polls on March 4 will be voting for six different positions, more than in any previous election.
 
Under the new constitution, government operates at two levels – national and county. Voters will be electing the members of the executive and legislative (parliamentary) arms at both levels of government.
 
According to the head of the constitution writing team, Ekuru Aukot, the point of this “devolution” of government was to correct the wrongs left over from years of colonial rule and the legacy of former Kenyan leaders who consolidated power in the central government and in their own tribes. He says one of the concepts of devolution is “that level of inclusiveness, making every part of Kenya relevant to the governance of the country.”
 
Additional constitutional changes impacting this election:

- The president and cabinet members cannot also serve as members of parliament, as part of the separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of government.

- The National Parliament is split into two houses, the Senate and the National Assembly.
 
The six positions up for election are:

President
National level, executive
 
The president serves as head of state and government, and is the commander-in-chief of the Kenya Defence Forces and chairperson of the National Security Council. The president nominates and appoints cabinet members and oversees government ministries and departments.

National Assembly Representative
National level, legislative 
 
The National Assembly is responsible for making national laws and allocating national revenue between the levels of government. Voters will choose 290 representatives, representing each of the country’s constituencies.
 
In addition to the elected positions, the National Assembly has 12 seats dedicated to represent special interests, which will be nominated by the parties in proportion to the number of seats won in the election. The assembly members will also elect one speaker.

Women Representative
National level, legislative
 
In addition to the constituency representatives and special interest seats, 47 women will be elected to the National Assembly as women representatives – one women representative for each county. Only women may stand for these positions.

Senator
National level, legislative
 
The Senate is the other of the two houses making up the National Parliament, and represents the counties.  It is responsible for making laws for the county government and allocating national revenue among counties.
 
Voters will elect 47 senators – one for each county. 
 
In addition to the elected positions, the Senate will have 16 women members, decided through party nominations in proportion to the number of seats won in the election, 2 members representing youth, 2 members representing persons with disabilities, and a speaker elected by the members.

County Governor
County level, executive
 
The governor heads the executive at the county level and oversees county administration and departments.

County Assembly Ward Representative
County level, legislative
 
The County Assembly makes laws for the county, and each ward elects one person to represent them in the assembly.

Additional members of the County Assembly are nominated by political parties in proportion to the number of seats won in the election.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs