Barkan and Mutua on Kenya's new constitution

Aug. 17, 2010, 9:30 a.m.

On August 4, Kenyans overwhelmingly approved a new constitution in a historic referendum.   The new constitution was proposed to resolve the political strife that engulfed the nation after the 2007 presidential elections.  Writing in Foreign Affairs, Joel D. Barkan and Makau Mutua explain the details of the new constitution and how it will affect the country.

In a historic referendum on August 4, nearly 70 percent of Kenyan voters approved a draft for a new constitution, an outcome that raises the prospects for peace and stability in East Africa's anchor state and in the surrounding region. Ratification of the new constitution also returns Kenya to the path of democratization and economic growth -- a path that was disrupted by the mass violence that threatened the viability of the state following the disputed presidential election in December 2007. In contrast to that election, the referendum was peaceful and well run by the country's reconstituted election commission.

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