The Kenyan Cabinet [official website] on Thursday authorized [press release] a 3.5 billion shilling expenditure to finance the transition to the country's new constitution. The funds, roughly USD $43 million [Reuters report], are intended to facilitate implementation of the revised charter by the close of the current fiscal year. The new constitution includes numerous checks on presidential authority [JURIST report], among which are the creation of a supreme court and senate.The constitution also requires reforms [Guardian report] to the nation's judiciary and land tenure system and improvements in civil rights and women's representation. The document has been received as one of the most significant events in Kenya since its independence, and its implementation was originally thought to require as long as five years.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] signed the new constitution into law in August, weeks after it was approved [JURIST report] by popular referendum. The document's creation was part of a power-sharing agreement [JURIST report] reached in 2009 between Kibaki and opposition leader Prime Minister Raila Odinga [official website] that brought an end to the civil unrest that followed the contested 2007 presidential election [JURIST report]. Election officials sought to make the referendum as inclusive and peaceful as possible by allowing prisoners to vote and prosecuting those who suggested violence in reaction to the changes [JURIST reports] under hate speech laws.