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Kenya’s New Constitution Signed Into Law

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, right, takes a new oath of office after signing the new constitution into law, at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, 27 Aug 2010

August 27, 2010

(KATAKAMI/ VOA)  Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki signed into law a new constitution Friday in Nairobi before a large crowd, African leaders, and international dignitaries.

President Kibaki and other government leaders were also sworn into office under the new constitution that changes the country’s governing principles.

Kenyans overwhelmingly approved the new constitution in a referendum vote earlier this month.

The new constitution curbs the president’s authority, gives greater powers to local government, and limits the Cabinet to 22 members

Kenya’s executive branch held great power under the previous governmental system, leading to charges that presidents favored their own tribes for government jobs and money.

In addition to reduced presidential powers, the new constitution will abolish the post of prime minister, which was created in a power-sharing deal between President Kibaki and Raila Odinga, his opponent in the sharply contested 2007 general election.  Mr. Odinga became prime minister under the agreement, which ended weeks of violence that killed 1,300 people.

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