Located on the Indian Ocean and straddling the Equator, Kenya enjoys diverse climatic and geographical trends. The country has a population of 31.6 million people, a democratic government based in the capital Nairobi, currently headed by President Mwai KIBAKI. KIBAKI's NARC coalition splintered in 2005 over the constitutional review process. Government defectors joined with KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement, which defeated the government's draft constitution in a popular referendum in November 2005. KIBAKI faced a tough reelection challenge from leading opposition candidate Raila ODINGA in the December 2007 election which resulted in allegations of vote rigging and nationwide inter-tribal fighting. An estimated 200,000 people relocated from their homes to avoid rioting and civil disorder. Following a lengthy intervention by ex-UN Secretary Kofi Annan, a coalition govenrnment was established with KIBAKI retaining the Presidential role and ODINGA the Prime Ministers position; a post re-established as part of the government re-organisation encouraged by Kofi Annan.
New elections took place on 4th March 2013 where a new electroral system was implemented. Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the first post-independence President Jomo Kenyatta, beat Rail Odinga in the election poll reaching the required 50% agaisnt 42% gathered by Rail Odinga. Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to appear before the ICC in The Hague during July 2013 to answer charges for crimes against humanity.
The country has a coastline of 536 kms with low plains rising to central highlands bisected by the Rift Valley and a fertile plateau in the west, bordering on Tanzania.
The Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest peak; the country's physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value.
Daily Nation - Kenya's Premier Newspaper
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Nearly 24% of trade focuses on agriculture with 13% on industry and 63% on services, including a significant tourism industry.
Kenya, the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, is hampered by corruption and reliance upon several primary goods whose prices remain low including coffee and tea.
Following strong economic growth in 1995 and 1996, Kenya's economy has stagnated, with GDP growth failing to keep up with the rate of population growth (Purchasing power parity in 2006 was estimated to be $1,600 per capita). Growth fell below 1% in 2002 because of erratic rains, low investor confidence, meagre donor support, and political infighting up to the elections. In the December 2002 elections, Daniel Arap MOI's 24-year-old reign ended, and a new opposition government took on the formidable economic problems facing the nation.
Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya. MOI acceded to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. President MOI stepped down in December 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform. KIBAKI's NARC coalition splintered in 2005 over the constitutional review process. Government defectors joined with KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement, which defeated the government's draft constitution in a popular referendum in November 2005. Following multi-facteted elections in December 2007, KIBAKI declared himself President despite alledged vote rigging following a close election result against ODINGA.
A siginficant development for Kenya wass the successful 'Yes' vote for a new Constitution held on 4th August 2010. This introduced new legislation regarding Presidential powers, judiciary reforms and the historically sensitive issue of land ownership.
- Life expectancy is currently estimated at 59 years.
- Unemployment is estimated at 40% (2000).
- An estimated 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Tourism is well established with numerous national parks and national reserves around the country ranging from beaches along the Indian Ocean coast to the game parks in the west, central and northern parts of the country. I recommend it highly for the first-time safari or anyone wishing to capture instant Africa in a few days.
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A varied climate ranges from a hot and humid climate along the coast all year round with temperatures averaging 30 degrees Centigrade throughout the year. This is tempered by sea breezes.
The Central Highlands and Rift Valley, including Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain, provide the most pleasant climatic conditions. Western Kenya sees temperatures averaging between 30-34 degrees Centigrade throughout the year with high humidity and rainfall throughout the year.
North and Eastern Kenya is covered by bush land and deserts. Temperatures get up to 40 degrees C during the day with sparse rainfall.
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