Also available in Deutsch
Freedom, justice and solidarity are the basic principles underlying the work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). The KAS is a political foundation, closely associated with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). As co-founder of the CDU and the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) united Christian-social, conservative and liberal traditions. His name is synonymous with the democratic reconstruction of Germany, the firm alignment of foreign policy with the trans-Atlantic community of values, the vision of a unified Europe and an orientation towards the social market economy. His intellectual heritage continues to serve both as our aim as well as our obligation today.
In our European and international cooperation efforts we work for people to be able to live self-determined lives in freedom and dignity. We make a contribution underpinned by values to helping Germany meet its growing responsibilities throughout the world.
We encourage people to lend a hand in shaping the future along these lines. With more than 70 offices abroad and projects in over 120 countries, we make a unique contribution to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and a social market economy. To foster peace and freedom we encourage a continuous dialogue at the national and international levels as well as the exchange between cultures and religions.
Human beings in their distinctive dignity and with their rights and responsibilities are at the heart of our work. We are guided by the conviction that human beings are the starting point in the effort to bring about social justice and democratic freedom while promoting sustainable economic activity. By bringing people together who embrace their responsibilities in society, we develop active networks in the political and economic spheres as well as in society itself. The guidance we provide on the basis of our political know-how and knowledge helps to shape the globalization process along more socially equitable, ecologically sustainable and economically efficient lines.
We cooperate with governmental institutions, political parties, civil society organizations and handpicked elites, building strong partnerships along the way. In particular we seek to intensify political cooperation in the area of development cooperation at the national and international levels on the foundations of our objectives and values. Together with our partners we make a contribution to the creation of an international order that enables every country to develop in freedom and under its own responsibility.
The political background of Kenya
The current political landscape is heavily influenced by the post election violence of 2008 and the consequent National Accord and Reconciliation Act, 2008 and the Comprehensive Reform Framework popularly known as ‘Agenda 4’. Albeit the slow pace of implementing the required reforms, Kenya took a major stride forward by adopting a new progressive Constitution in August 2010 when over 68% voted in favour of the new Supreme law in a peaceful referendum. The new constitution was developed by a Committee of Experts comprising of mainly the Kenyan people drawn from various sectors such as legal experts, civil society, religious organizations and few selected international experts. As Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) engaged in this process for many years mainly through our partnership with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) with whom we convened several seminars around the country and the Media Development Association (MDA) who published regularly on the topical constitutional issues and the reform agenda in general in the Katiba News Magazine, the outcome of the referendum was a great success for KAS.
The new Constitution provides a solid framework upon which many of Kenya’s perennial challenges such as weak political checks and balances system, unclear separation of powers, weak democratic and governance institutions and weak human rights record can be addressed in a coordinated, progressive and sustainable manner. Among the key highlights of the new constitution are the incorporation of a comprehensive Bill of Rights, creation and revamping of democratic and governance institutions such as the judiciary and the establishment of a devolved form of government.
Whereas the new Constitution offers the ideal opportunity to address many of the country’s challenges, the major hurdle remains the full implementation of that Constitution and the adherence to the timelines provided for this purpose.
Another major problem which cannot wholly be eradicated by the new constitution in Kenya is widespread corruption. There is general lack of transparency and responsibility particularly on the part of the high and mighty members of the society when dealing with matters of public welfare. Weak political parties which are often individualised and ethicized have led to weak and chaotic political and governance system in the country. Already new parties and alliances are being formed by leaders who are in parliament or hold key positions in other parties as the next general elections draws closer. Nevertheless, the new constitution, the political Parties Act, 2008 and the peaceful referendum in August 2010 provide hope for peaceful, free and fair elections in 2012.
Positive attributes in the recent past has been the demand for accountability and responsibility on the part of political leaders with unprecedented number of them being held accountable for their actions. The country has also witnessed unprecedented number nullification of constituency election results, resulting into many by-elections where most of the incumbents lost their seats. Although not enough in the eyes of most Kenyans, there have been suspensions from public office as well as prosecution of some high profile leaders on suspicion of corruption.
Prosecution of those who are alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for atrocities post the 2007 disputed elections at the ICC, in The Hague is also another positive step in the country’s fight against impunity.
KAS in Kenya
Utmost priority of KAS in Kenya is the promotion and stabilization of Democracy. The implementation of the new constitution will be crucial for the political development and the stabilization of democracy. The new constitution demands that the citizens of Kenya, the civil society and religious organizations, political parties and other stakeholders are all involved in the implementation process. It also demands for the legislation of 49 different bills by parliament. In this context it is inevitable that MPs, politicians and political parties must have a profound knowledge of the relevant background on the respective proposed laws and must engage the public more often and closely.
KAS is cooperating with three political parties which have their origin in the Democratic Party (DP) in the monitoring of the implementation of the new constitution. In this regard, KAS is offering these parties an opportunity to discuss the proposed bills and develop a party position on certain issues which may be published.
Discussions on the creation of county governments is ongoing and KAS in collaboration with other partners particularly the aforementioned political parties, seeks to raise awareness among potential candidates at the county level on the specific tasks and duties of such leaders and the counties in general in accordance with the new constitution. It is hoped that this will help political parties to nominate suitable candidates for various positions.
Additionally joint workshops with CJPC are conducted to initiate a dialogue within the Catholic Church about the implementation process of the new constitution. The main objective of these dialogues is to identify similarities in the new constitution and the social doctrine of the church. As the Kenyan churches have a wide influence on the Kenyan people they can also influence the public opinion on various key issues of national interest.
For many years, KAS in partnership with Daraja has promoted the importance of civic education in schools which has resulted into its incorporation in the regular curriculum. Subsequently teaching materials were developed and teachers of primary and secondary schools were provided with specific training on civic education. At the same time activities were conducted in cooperation with Universities and teacher colleges to discuss the integration of civic education into the regular teachers’ training program. After the promulgation of the new constitution teaching materials have to be updated accordingly. Civic education in schools is crucial for the participation of the younger generation in the political landscape of Kenya.
Relating to the fight against corruption, KAS partners with the Residents’ Associations to monitor the use of public funds in their respective regions. From the beginning of 2011, KAS will merge the Residents’ Associations with other CSOs to create networks at the county level in order to create more effective structures. The monthly magazine “The Link” supplements the work of these networks with regional news, information, support and the possibility to publish their own articles.