International Criminology World

World : Africa : Kenya

Fossils found in East Africa suggest that protohumans roamed the area more than 20 million years ago. Recent finds near Kenya's Lake Turkana indicate that hominids lived in the area 2.6 million years ago.

Cushitic-speaking people from northern Africa moved into the area that is now Kenya beginning around 2000 BC. Arab traders began frequenting the Kenya coast around the first century A.D. Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization, and Arab and Persian settlements sprouted along the coast by the eighth century. During the first millennium A.D., Nilotic and Bantu peoples moved into the region, and the latter now comprises three-quarters of Kenya's population.

The Swahili language, a mixture of Bantu and Arabic, developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples. Arab dominance on the coast was eclipsed by the arrival in 1498 of the Portuguese, who gave way in turn to Islamic control under the Imam of Oman in the 1600s. The United Kingdom established its influence in the 19th century.

The colonial history of Kenya dates from the Berlin Conference of 1885, when the European powers first partitioned East Africa into spheres of influence. In 1895, the U.K. Government established the East African Protectorate and, soon after, opened the fertile highlands to white settlers. The settlers were allowed a voice in government even before it was officially made a U.K. colony in 1920, but Africans were prohibited from direct political participation until 1944.

From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the "Mau Mau" rebellion against British colonial rule. During this period, African participation in the political process increased rapidly.

The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. Kenya became independent on December 12, 1963, and the next year joined the Commonwealth. Jomo Kenyatta, a member of the large Kikuyu ethnic group and head of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), became Kenya's first president. The minority party, Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), representing a coalition of small ethnic groups that had feared dominance by larger ones, dissolved itself voluntarily in 1964 and joined KANU.

A small but significant leftist opposition party, the Kenya People's Union (KPU), was formed in 1966, led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, a former vice president and Luo elder. The KPU was banned and its leader detained after political unrest related to Kenyatta's visit to Nyanza Province. No new opposition parties were formed after 1969, and KANU became the sole political party. At Kenyatta's death in August 1978, Vice President Daniel arap Moi became interim President. On October 14, Moi became President formally after he was elected head of KANU and designated its sole nominee.

In June 1982, the National Assembly amended the constitution, making Kenya officially a one-party state, and parliamentary elections were held in September 1983. The 1988 elections reinforced the one-party system. However, in December 1991, Parliament repealed the one-party section of the Constitution. By early 1992, several new parties had formed, and multiparty elections were held in December 1992.

President Moi was reelected for another 5-year term. Opposition parties won about 45% of the parliamentary seats, but President Moi's KANU Party retained a majority of the legislature. Parliamentary reforms in November 1997 expanded political rights in Kenya, and the number of political parties grew rapidly. President Moi won re-election as President in the December 1997 elections, and his KANU Party narrowly retained its parliamentary majority, with 109 out of 122 seats.

Today, Kenya is a republic dominated by a strong presidency. President Daniel Arap Moi, who has led the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) and served as President since 1978, was reelected most recently in 1997 in the country's second general election since the restoration of multiparty politics in 1991. Since independence in 1963, no president ever has left because of an electoral loss, and KANU has controlled both the presidency and the national legislature continuously, although other parties were illegal only from 1982 to 1991. KANU won a majority of the popular vote and a narrow majority of parliamentary seats in the 1997 general elections. While there were numerous flaws in the 1997 elections, observers concluded that the vote broadly reflected the popular will. In June President Moi appointed National Development Party (NDP) leader Raila Odinga and three other NDP Members of Parliament (M.P.'s) to his cabinet. KANU and NDP have formed an alliance and are contemplating a full merger. At year's end 2001, KANU and NDP members held 139 of 222 seats in the unicameral National Assembly. In addition to his role as President, Moi is the commander in chief of the armed forces, and he controls the security, university, civil service, judiciary, and provincial, district, and local governance systems. The judiciary suffers from corruption and is subject to executive branch influence.


Mob violence continued at high levels during the year 2001, which observers believe may have been associated with a continuing high crime rate. According to the Government and the KHRC, 56 persons were killed in mob violence during the year 2001. Human rights observers attribute mob violence to a lack of public confidence in the police and the judicial process. The great majority of mob violence victims, who died by lynching, beating, or burning, were persons suspected of criminal activities, including robbery, cattle rustling, and membership in terror gangs. However, the social acceptability of mob violence also provided apparent cover for personal vengeance under the guise of "mob justice." In late April in a Nairobi slum, following beatings of two gang members by residents angered over recent gang muggings, the remaining gang members attacked the residents; seven people were killed in the ensuing violence. A man also was stoned to death during the violence after he shot and killed an 8-year-old boy.

In early May in the Kericho District of Rift Valley Province, a mob attacked a suspected murderer and set fire to many houses in revenge for the killing of a local businessman. Although police rescued the suspected murderer from the mob, a man was stoned to death as he fled his burning home. The incident also reportedly exacerbated ethnic tension in the area.

Occasionally mobs killed members of their communities on suspicion that they practiced witchcraft; however, there were no statistics available on the number of such deaths during the year 2001.

Interethnic violence continued to cause numerous deaths. Some of these disputes spilled over into the country from neighboring countries.

In 2000 armed men reportedly from Ethiopia killed nine persons and seriously injured five others near the border town of Moyale. Local politicians claimed that the attackers had support from Ethiopian security forces; the incident was not resolved by year's end.

Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), an Ethiopian rebel group, laid landmines in northern areas of the country near the Ethiopian border.



The large agricultural sector provides food for local consumption, substantial exports of tea, coffee, cut flowers, and vegetables, and more than 70 percent of total employment for the country's population of approximately 29 million. Estimates for the unemployment rate range from the official 25 percent to more than 50 percent. Although many sectors continued to be dominated by state-owned monopolies, the nonfarm economy includes large privately owned light manufacturing, commercial, and financial sectors. Tourism was the third largest source of foreign exchange earnings after tea and other agricultural exports. Major international financial institutions continued their suspension of financial assistance following a 2000 court ruling that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority's investigatory and prosecutorial powers were unconstitutional, and the cancellation of other anti-corruption measures. During the year 2001, annual per capita gross domestic product declined in real terms to approximately $271 (21,200 shillings). The spread of HIV/AIDS, which was estimated to have infected approximately 14 percent of the population between the ages of 14 and 49, as well as drought and famine in some rural areas during the year 2001, exacerbated economic problems.

After independence, Kenya promoted rapid economic growth through public investment, encouragement of smallholder agricultural production, and incentives for private (often foreign) industrial investment. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual average of 6.6% from 1963 to 1973. Agricultural production grew by 4.7% annually during the same period, stimulated by redistributing estates, diffusing new crop strains, and opening new areas to cultivation.

Between 1974 and 1990, however, Kenya's economic performance declined. Inappropriate agricultural policies, inadequate credit, and poor international terms of trade contributed to the decline in agriculture. Kenya's inward-looking policy of import substitution and rising oil prices made Kenya's manufacturing sector uncompetitive. The government began a massive intrusion in the private sector. Lack of export incentives, tight import controls, and foreign exchange controls made the domestic environment for investment even less attractive.

From 1991 to 1993, Kenya had its worst economic performance since independence. Growth in GDP stagnated, and agricultural production shrank at an annual rate of 3.9%. Inflation reached a record 100% in August 1993, and the government's budget deficit was over 10% of GDP. As a result of these combined problems, bilateral and multilateral donors suspended program aid to Kenya in 1991.

In 1993, the Government of Kenya began a major program of economic reform and liberalization. A new minister of finance and a new governor of the central bank undertook a series of economic measures with the assistance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As part of this program, the government eliminated price controls and import licensing, removed foreign exchange controls, privatized a range of publicly owned companies, reduced the number of civil servants, and introduced conservative fiscal and monetary policies. From 1994-96, Kenya's real GDP growth rate averaged just over 4% a year.

In 1997, however, the economy entered a period of slowing or stagnant growth, due in part to adverse weather conditions and reduced economic activity prior to general elections in December 1997. In 2000, GDP growth was negative, but improved slightly in 2001 as rainfall returned closer to normal levels.

In July 1997, the Government of Kenya refused to meet commitments made earlier to the IMF on governance reforms. As a result, the IMF suspended lending for 3 years, and the World Bank also put a $90-million structural adjustment credit on hold. Although many economic reforms put in place in 1993-94 remained, Kenya needed further reforms, particularly in governance, in order to increase GDP growth and combat poverty among the majority of its population.

The Government of Kenya took some positive steps on reform, including the 1999 establishment of the Kenyan Anti-Corruption Authority, and measures to improve the transparency of government procurements and reduce the government payroll. In July 2000, the IMF signed a $150 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, and the World Bank followed suit shortly after with a $157 million Economic and Public Sector Reform credit. The Anti-Corruption Authority was declared unconstitutional in December 2000 and other parts of the reform effort faltered in 2001. The IMF and World Bank again suspended their programs. Various efforts to restart the program through mid-2002 were unsuccessful.

Nairobi continues to be the primary hub of East Africa. It enjoys the region's best transportation linkages, communications infrastructure, and trained personnel, although these advantages are less prominent than in past years. A wide range of foreign firms maintain regional branch or representative offices in the city. In March 1996, the Presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda re-established the East African Cooperation (EAC). The EAC's objectives include harmonizing tariffs and customs regimes, free movement of people, and improving regional infrastructures.



Kenya police classify crimes into serious offenses and nonserious offenses. Serious crimes include murder, robbery, burglary, rape, kidnapping, and arson. Non-serious crimes include petty theft (maximum value of 20 USD), assault, stealing a neighbor's domestic animal, and city and state regulation violations.

The age of criminal responsibility in Kenya is 18. Persons 7 to 17 years old are treated as juveniles.

Drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are prohibited by law.


The following crime statistics on the number of crimes reported to the police are provided by Kenya Police Force Headquarters in Nairobi. Kenya Police crime statistics are not recorded according to regions or provinces and keeping crime statistics according to ethnicity or tribe is considered offensive. In 1989, the population of Kenya was 23,727,000.

In 1989, there were 836 murders reported to the police in Kenya, for a rate of 3.53 per 100,000 population. (The number of murders being reported has been dropping since 1980. Numbers for the previous years are as follows: 896 (1980); 878 (1981); 870 (1982); 860 (1983); and 851 (1988). This drop could be as a result of the following: a) There is capital punishment for murder; b) Private ownership of handguns and assault weapons is a felony offense; and c) Fear of revenge by the relatives of the victim has been the traditional method of controlling murder). Attempts are included in this figure.

In 1989, there were 309 reports of rape to the Kenya police, for a rate of 1.3 per 100,000 population. (Although rape is a very serious offense in Kenya, date-rape is not a crime. This is because the culture provides that a woman should stay away from a man who has no ties of consanguinity with her.

If she is invited by a man who has no blood relationship with her, she should know that a demand for sexual favor will be a likely prospect. If she does not expect to yield to the possible sexual demand of the invitee, she should decline the invitation. Therefore, in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and many other countries in Africa south of the Sahara, it is inherently contradictory and ridiculous for a woman to report that she was raped by her friend or boyfriend who invited her for a date. The cultures of these countries send a message to women, "Beware in responding to a man's invitation. If you accept the invitation, then you pick the consequences." The number of reported rapes for previous years are the following: 330 (1980); 301 (1981); 356 (1982); 373 (1983); and 418 (1988)). Attempts are included.

In 1989, there were 17,299 reports of theft reported to the police in Kenya, for a rate of 72.9 per 100,000 population. ( Most crimes in Kenya are property crimes. The number of thefts for previous years are the following: 15,672 (1980); 13,833 (1981); 13,548 (1982); 14,797 (1983); and 16,888 (1988). Not included in these figures are theft of vehicles, bicycles, produce, or theft by servants). (This figure includes 1,388 reports of cattle theft, but does not include theft of vehicles, bicycles, produce, or theft by servants.)

The types of urban crimes recorded in European cities are very often committed in the cities of Kenya, particularly in Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombasa. Crimes such as robbery, burglary, auto theft, rape, larceny, murder, smuggling, forgery, and prostitution are frequently committed in these cities.



There have been many high "crime waves" since Kenya's neighbors, Uganda and Ethiopia, engaged in a civil war. Many refugees, young and old, from Uganda, Sudan, Chad, and Ethiopia immigrated into Kenya in the 1970s and 1980s, thereby increasing the unemployment rates in the cities of Kenya. In effect, the incidence of robbery, burglary, stealing and other forms of property and personal crimes increased by leaps and bounds. Crime control, therefore, became one of the most challenging problems facing Kenya today.



Kenya's legal system is based on Kenyan statutory law, Kenyan and English common law, tribal law, and Islamic law. Kenya's legal system has evolved from the inheritance of its English Common Law tradition. The courts adhere to the principle of stare decisis, and like other common law countries, the legal system is adversarial in its procedure. Theoretically, the suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In practice, however, the burden of proof is often placed on the defendant.

Kenya's customary courts and traditional criminal procedures have been modified by the colonial administration. Its court system conforms with the British system of indirect rule that had once existed when the colonial government allowed local chiefs to rule the rural areas of Kenya.

Kenya has an informal, customary criminal justice system. This system is carried out by local chiefs and a council of elders in remote villages, where police and formalized courts are not readily accessible. The colonial government and the post-independence governments have limited the types of criminal cases that these local chiefs and councils of elders can try, although these informal courts often exceed the limits of their powers. These informal courts help to reduce the delays and backlog of cases occurring at the formal customary courts and at the English-based courts.

After Britain declared Kenya a Crown Colony, the Colonial Parliament passed laws that in effect, formed the basis of the criminal laws in Kenya. Some of the colonial criminal laws were unacceptable to the Kenyan people, such as the bigamy law, laws against stealing cattle, which was an attack against Maasai beliefs and religion, and tax evasion laws. (The Maasi is one of the three major ethnic groups in Kenya, along with the Kikuyu and the Kamba. When Kenya was annexed and declared a Crown Colony by Britain in 1921, the Kikuyu, the Kamba and the Maasai launched stiff resistance against British domination and rule. This fight against British colonization resulted in the Mau-Mau uprisings in the 1950s and led to Kenya's independence from Britain

In time, Kenyans accepted the English laws to the extent that these laws did not totally violate their customary beliefs and values. After declaring independence in December of 1963, the Kenya Independence Parliament revoked colonial laws that were contrary to their values, such as the bigamy law. As of 1993, the criminal laws of Kenya are made up of both colonial laws that are still in force and Acts of the post-independence parliaments from the first Head of State, Nze Jomo Kenyatta to the current Head of State, President Arap Moi. Prior to 1990, it was very easy to pass laws in the Kenyan Parliament because of its unicameral system of government. There was a clear absence of long debates which characterize multiparty systems in the passage of bills. In 1990, however, after stiff resistance by the government of President Arap Moi, the Kenyan people voted to return to a multiparty system of government. Since then, Kenya has had opposition parties in the parliament in which the Kenya African National Union (KANU) is a major party.



In addition to the armed forces, there is a large internal security apparatus that includes the police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS), the National Police, the Administration Police, and the paramilitary General Services Unit (GSU), which details members on a rotating basis to staff the 700-person Presidential Escort. The CID investigates criminal activity and the NSIS collects intelligence and monitors persons whom the State considers subversive. In 1999 in an effort to improve the accountability of investigative services, Parliament passed and implemented laws that removed arrest authority from the NSIS and separated the organization from the CID. While civilian authorities generally maintain effective control of the security forces, there were some instances in which the security forces acted independently of government authority. Members of the security forces, especially the police, continued to commit numerous, serious human rights abuses.

There are three branches of the Kenya Police Force: the Regular Kenya Police, the Administrative Police, and the General Service Unit. (The modern police system in Kenya emerged after the British Foreign Office took over the administration of the region from the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1896. The first police organization was established in Mombasa which was a major center of commerce. The Mombasa police unit became Kenya police after Kenya was declared a Colony and Protectorate of Britain in 1920. The Kenya Police increased in strength during the Mau-Mau uprisings between 1952 and 1956.

In 1964, following the adoption of a unitary system of government, the Kenya Police Force was reorganized from a federal structure into a national force. When Kenya became a Republic, the Kenya Police Force was controlled by Kenyan nationals. At the top of the Kenya Police Force is the Commissioner of Police who acts as Chief Administrative Officer and is stationed at Kenya Police Headquarters in Nairobi. The Commissioner of Police reports to the President of Kenya for orders. The President can remove the Commissioner of Police at any time and replace him with any person of his own choice. The power of the President to appoint the Commissioner of Police is provided in the Republican Constitution. Other officers and ranks of the Kenya Police Force are:

Two Deputy Commissioners, Senior Assistant Commissioners, who are in charge of the Provincial Sub-Headquarters, Nairobi Capital Territory, and Divisional Police Headquarters, Chief Inspectors, Inspectors, and Non-Commissioned Officers.

The Regular Kenya Police are the general duty police in charge of law enforcement and traffic control. The Administrative Police are mainly responsible for law and order in the rural areas where the Regular Police cannot reach. Administrative Police Officers are recruited from the communities in which they serve and work under a District Commissioner, who is accountable to a Provincial Commissioner.

The General Service Unit (GSU) is a mobile police force that is separately organized from the rest of the Kenya Police. It is a paramilitary police force used for the apprehension of dangerous, syndicated, or armed criminals (Syndicated criminals involve groups of criminals generally with a specialty crime such as drug smuggling. They are often located throughout several parts of the country and sometimes have international criminal dealings).

The Kenya Police reached approximately 2,000 in strength by 1992.

Kenya's police force is equipped with motor vehicles, but the actual number is not available. Kenya's police force is equipped with radio communication devices, radar, and computers. While the Regular Police generally only carry batons, the GSU can carry pistols or rifles depending on the nature of the operation, and are always on standby.

Kenya Police recruits and officers are trained at the Kiganjo Police College. Some specialized training for officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOS) are provided at institutions within and outside the police organizations. Some officers and NCOS are sent to Europe and America for specialized and refresher courses. In addition, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which functions similarly to the United State's Federal Bureau of Investigation, has a training school in Nairobi. The minimum qualification for police recruits is a high school diploma, although some officers have university degrees or Ordinary National Diplomas.

It is common for force to be used as a method of arresting a suspect. It is also common for deadly force to be used by Kenya's police whenever a suspect resists an arrest or tries to escape.

While the police can arrest a suspect caught in the act, they can also arrest a person for "wandering" (or loitering), especially after midnight. There are certain judge-made rules concerning arrest procedure (similar to the Miranda Doctrine of the U.S.), but the police hardly adhere to the rules. This is primarily allowed because of the ignorance of the masses about their rights as citizens.

Kenya police have wide discretionary power to arrest a suspect with or without a warrant, although the law requires probable cause to exist. The probable cause requirement states that there must be some facts and circumstances that justify the arrest. There must be solid grounds to believe that the suspect really committed the crime. For instance, an arrest can be made when a police officer observes a crime being committed. However, less than 50% of offenders in Kenya are caught in the act because law enforcement is primarily static. Police do not routinely patrol the neighborhoods looking for law violators.

Most arrests are made when citizens report crimes in progress or when the crimes have already been committed and the identity of the offender is known. Citizens are permitted to arrest offenders and bring them to the nearest police station.

Kenya Criminal Procedure Law does not allow search and seizure without a warrant issued by a magistrate.

Although not required by law, a police officer may force a suspect to confess to committing a crime. In some cases, brutal methods are used to get the truth from the suspect, particularly if the suspect was not caught in the act.

The Kenya Police Force is supervised by the Public Service Commission. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is supposed to discipline corrupt police officers. However, since the Kenya Police Force is a political institution and the Public Service Commission is composed of politicians who are appointed by the President, disciplinary action is rarely taken against a delinquent police officer

Security forces, particularly the police, continued to commit extrajudicial killings, torture and beat detainees, use excessive force, rape, and otherwise abuse persons. Prison conditions remained life threatening. Police harassed and arbitrarily arrested and detained persons, including journalists, politicians, and political activists. The Government arrested and prosecuted a number of police officers for abuses; however, most police who committed abuses were neither investigated nor punished.

Security forces, especially members of the police, the GSU, and the CID, continued to use lethal force and committed a number of extrajudicial killings. According to government figures, police killed 137 suspected criminals, and another 31 suspects and detainees died while in police custody during the year 2001. The Kenyan Human Rights Commission (KHRC), a domestic NGO, reported that police killed 251 persons during the year 2001 (compared with 198 persons in 2000), including 49 by torture. However, People Against Torture (PAT) reported 70 cases of death by torture and still was documenting cases at year's end 2001. Police often were not restrained in the use of lethal force, especially when confronting armed criminal suspects, and the Government generally failed to take appropriate action against members of the security forces accused of unlawful or arbitrary killings.

The Constitution states that "no one shall be subject to torture or degrading punishment or other treatment;" however, security forces continued to use torture and physical violence during interrogation and to punish both pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. Although authorities periodically issue directives against the use of torture by police, the problem persists. Human rights organizations, churches, and the press highlighted and criticized numerous cases of torture and several cases of indiscriminate beating of groups of persons by police during the year 2001. Common methods of torture practiced by police included hanging persons upside down for long periods, genital mutilation, electric shocks, and deprivation of air by submersion of the head in water. The KHRC reported 49 torture-related deaths during the year 2001, and PAT reported 70 cases of death by torture and 238 total cases of torture; however, PAT still was documenting cases at year's end 2001.

There were numerous allegations of police use of excessive force and torture. The KHRC believe police brutality is widespread and estimated that there were hundreds of cases during the year 2001. Detainees routinely claimed that they had been tortured, making it difficult to separate real from fabricated incidents. According to MUHURI, on January 18, police allegedly tortured, shot, and killed Abdillahi Mohamed Mashuhuri; no action was taken against the responsible officers by year's end.

At times authorities infringed on citizens' privacy rights. Although the Constitution provides that "no person shall be subjected to the search of his person or his property or the entry by others on his premises", it permits searches without warrants "to promote the public benefit." The Police Act permits police to enter a home forcibly if the time required to obtain a search warrant would "prejudice" their investigation. Although security officers generally obtain search warrants, they occasionally conduct searches without warrants to apprehend suspected criminals or to seize property believed to be stolen. Citizens frequently accuse police officers of soliciting bribes during searches or of falsely arresting individuals to extract bribes. Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that Nairobi police searched offices of the media without warrants.

The police continued to conduct massive warrantless searches ("sweeps") for illegal immigrants and firearms in residential neighborhoods of major cities. The KHRC recorded 1,950 arrests during sweeps in 2000. Residents complained that police who entered homes on the pretense of searching for weapons often asked for radio, television, and video receipts and permits and demanded bribes to refrain from confiscating those items in the absence of such documents. During one such sweep in May, police arrested approximately 1,400 suspects; Nairobi Police Chief Geoffrey Mwathe announced that he had directed a "massive operation to pick up all known criminals for known offenses and unknown offenses" and admitted that some innocent people were "likely to suffer."

Security forces monitored closely the activities of dissidents, following or otherwise harassing them. They employed various means of surveillance, including a network of informants to monitor the activities of opposition politicians and human rights advocates. Some opposition leaders, students, journalists, and others continued to report that the Government subjected them to surveillance and telephone wiretaps; however, there were no reports of interference with written correspondence during the year 2001.


Despite constitutional protections, police continued to arrest and detain citizens arbitrarily. The Constitution provides that persons arrested or detained be brought before a court within 24 hours in noncapital offenses and within 14 days in capital cases. The Penal Code specifically excludes weekends and holidays from this 14-day period. The law does not stipulate the period within which the trial of a charged suspect must begin. Indicted suspects often are held for months or years before being brought to court. The Government has acknowledged cases in which persons have been held in pretrial detention for several years. Police from the arresting location are responsible for serving court summons and for picking up remandees from the prison each time the courts hear their cases. Police often fail to show up or lack the means to transport the remandees, who then must await the next hearing of their case. For example, in the case of six army officers who pursued charges of torture against members of the 66th Artillery Battalion, the courts later criticized Police Commissioner Philemon Abong'o for failing to serve the accused army officials with the court summons.

The law provides that families and attorneys of persons arrested and charged are allowed access to them, although this right often is not honored. Family members and attorneys may visit prisoners only at the discretion of the authorities. This privilege often is denied. For those who have been charged, it often is possible to be released on bail with a bond or other assurance of the suspect's return.

Prison overcrowding is a problem, and the backlog of cases in the penal system continues to fill the remand sections of prisons. Many detainees spend more than 3 years in prison before their trials are completed, often because they cannot afford even the lowest bail.

In 2000 the Government instituted the Community Service Order (CSO), a program whereby petty offenders perform community service rather than serve a custodial sentence. According to the Home Affairs Permanent Secretary, the Government spent $250,000 (20 million shillings) on the CSO in 2000 and $500,000 (40 million shillings) before year's end. There were 11,000 petty offenders participating in the program during the year 2001. The program eventually may help alleviate overcrowding; however, there was no indication of any relief by year's end.

Citizens frequently accuse police officers of soliciting bribes during searches or falsely arresting individuals to extract bribes. The police continued repeatedly to conduct massive searches ("sweeps") for illegal immigrants and firearms. The KHRC recorded 1,950 arrests during sweeps in 2000. In May police arrested approximately 1,400 suspects during a single sweep. It was unknown if they had been released by year's end.


Rights of the accused are stated in Kenya Criminal Procedure Law. Kenya observes the Human Rights prescriptions of the United Nations. Suspects have a right against self-incrimination, a right to an attorney, and a right to contact relatives. A suspect must also be made aware of the reason for arrest and there must be a speedy trial of the case.

An accused can arrange to secure for himself a defense attorney. If he cannot afford a defense attorney, the government has the obligation to provide a public defender.

When a police officer makes an arrest, the offender is brought to the nearest police station for further questioning, especially with regard to the motives for the crime. Any case that reaches the court indicates the desire of the police to have that case processed in court. If the offender is caught in the act by a police officer, there is no waste of time in bringing the case before the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

Whether the suspect was caught by a police officer or by ordinary citizens, the suspect may be detained at the police district headquarters pending the filing of a formal charge. However, Kenya Criminal Procedure Law states that there should be no unlawful detention without compensation. The state is liable to offer monetary compensation if someone is falsely accused and detained.

The District Magistrate's Court is the starting point of almost all criminal cases. The prosecutor, as a representative of the state, studies the case and designs how to present the case on the day of the trial. There is a preliminary hearing during which both the prosecution and defense present their cases. Witnesses may be introduced by both parties.

At the second hearing, which is the main trial of the case, the prosecution presents all of the evidence to prove the defendant committed the offense. The defense attorney may plead to the magistrate to dismiss the case entirely or alternatively, plead for mercy if the prosecution's evidence indicates that the client committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defense claims insanity as a factor in the crime, psychiatrists can be consulted.

The post-independence Kenya criminal justice system does not provide for a jury trial. The jury trial in Kenya was removed with the end of colonial rule. Only the magistrate, the judge of a High Court, or a panel of judges on the Court of Appeal can render decisions on a criminal case.

The prosecutor at the District Magistrate's Court is usually a senior police officer who has been trained for the position, but is not a certified lawyer. The use of a police officer as a prosecutor is a remnant of the British colonial administration. The English legal system requires that "any person may initiate a prosecution unless otherwise provided by statute."

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) handles mostly serious cases: those involving murder, armed robbery, and drug smuggling. All other prosecutions are conducted by the investigating police officer. Often, the DPP appoints a senior police officer who acts as a prosecutor in a criminal case. This has been the case in Kenya since the existence of the dual justice system of the colonial era to the present unified system.

The Kenya criminal justice system does not allow for plea bargaining. The Magistrate or Judge of the High Court cannot reduce the penalty for an offense simply because the offender pleaded guilty at some point during the trial procedure.

If the offense is serious, the suspect may be sent to a provincial prison in an awaiting trial status pending the result of the case investigation and possible indictment. If the offense is less serious, police may detain the suspect at the police lock-up center in the district pending a formal charge or bail.

A suspect may be granted bail if the charges are brought before a court of original jurisdiction such as a District Magistrate's Court. Under Kenya Criminal Procedure Law a suspect may be granted bail on the following grounds: a) The suspect is a first offender; b) The offense is not one that would require over three years of imprisonment on conviction; c) The suspect has not jumped bail in the past; d) The suspect has a stable job and has a known address; and e) The bailor is a person of respectable character and well-known to the police and to the Director of Publice Prosecution.

The Judicature Act of 1967 defined the country's legal system and created the court structure. (The Post-Independence Constitution reorganized the judiciary. Like the police and prisons, the judiciary was unified and a unified system of courts emerged. Unlike the colonial courts, the present court structure has no privileges of distinctions for ethnic or racial differences).

Kenya has five levels of courts: the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Resident Magistrate's Court, the District Magistrate's Courts, and the traditional courts/native tribunals. The Kenya Court of Appeal serves as the Supreme Court of the country. It has final appellate jurisdiction in both criminal and civil cases. Appeals are brought to the Court of Appeal from the Kenya High Court. The Court of Appeal is made up of the Chief Justice and three other members. The Court of Appeal, has the power, authority, and jurisdiction over the court from which the appeal originated. Appeals from any Kenyan Court to the Privy Council in England are no longer allowed. The High Court has original jurisdiction for certain serious crimes and hears appeals from the lower courts. It can adjudicate the constitutionality of acts of the National Assembly and enforcement of the Bill of Rights. The Chief Justice is also a member of the High Court. The High Court can also act as assize courts, moving from one region to another. The Resident Magistrate's Courts are presided over by either a senior resident magistrate or a resident magistrate. There is a Resident Magistrate's Court in each province, each of which can hear both serious and non-serious criminal cases. Appeals from this court are brought to the High Court. The Resident Magistrate's Court is divided into First, Second, and Third Class, which differ according to the severity of punishment they are empowered to impose. The District Magistrate's Courts are based at every district headquarters. There is a District Magistrate's Court in every province. The District Magistrate's Courts are also qualified to hear cases involving African customary law. Like the Resident Magistrate's Court, this court is also divided into three classes.

A chief or a council of elders at the village level can try minor criminal cases. The case decisions are accepted as final for certain customary issues.

Kadhi's Courts. The Kadhi's courts exist at the same hierarchical level as the Resident Magistrate's Court. However, they mainly try criminal cases involving personal Muslim law. Both parties to the case must be of Muslim faith.

The High Court has a total of twelve justices including the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice, who is appointed by the President of the Republic, is also the President of the Court of Appeal and a member of the High Court. The President of the Republic appoints other judges of the Court of Appeal and appoints the judges of the High Court upon the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The Resident Magistrates are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission. The magistrates must be academically and professionally certified lawyers with at least five years on the bench. The magistrates at the District Magistrate's Courts are not expected to be qualified lawyers. Rather, they are civil servants who have been trained to hold adjudicatory positions at the District court levels. However, they are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission and are gradually being replaced with certified lawyers.

Sentences are determined by the magistrate or judge of the High Court. The District Court Magistrate, and the First, Second, and Third Class Resident Magistrates have varied degrees of sentencing powers. For instance, a District Magistrate cannot impose a prison term exceeding one year. A Senior First Class Resident Magistrate can impose a sentence from five to ten years in prison. Junior First Class and Second Class Resident Magistrates cannot impose more than five years and one year prison sentences, respectively. Sentences are usually announced by the magistrate as being "with hard labor" or "without hard labor". The Judge of the High Court has the power to sentence a murderer to death, and can sentence an offender to life imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal does not sentence any offender. It is a court of review and either upholds the lower court's decision or orders it to rehear the case. The decision of the Court of Appeal is unanimous and final.

Penalties range from community service, probation, and fine to corporal punishment, determinate prison sentences, life imprisonment without parole, and the death penalty. The maximum penalty for murder and treason is the death sentence. It is carried out by hanging a person with a rope. The President of the Republic must give his signature before any person sentenced to death is hanged. The public is not informed when the Kenya President signs for an execution. Therefore, no one knows whether persons who were sentenced to death five, ten, or twenty years ago are presently alive or dead.

Currently, the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, in practice the judiciary often is corrupt and subject to strong influence from the executive branch. The President has extensive powers over appointments, including those of the Attorney General, the Chief Justice, and Appeal and High Court judges. The President also can dismiss judges and the Attorney General upon the recommendation of a special presidentially appointed tribunal. Although judges have life tenure (except for the very few foreign judges who are hired by contract), the President has extensive authority over transfers.

In previous years, judges who ruled against the Government sometimes were punished with the transfer or nonrenewal of their contracts; however, no retaliatory action against judges was reported during the year 2001. Judges occasionally demonstrated independence. Several cases involving opposition M.P.'s have been pending for years, with the courts repeatedly postponing the hearings, thereby requiring the M.P.'s to appear periodically in court or risk fines or imprisonment. In 2000 a Homa Bay court sentenced M.P. Shem Ochuodho to more than 3 years in prison for a violent assault on a political rival during the 1997 election. While violence may have occurred, observers believe the court may have applied the law inequitably; no KANU M.P.'s were similarly charged despite credible allegations of violence on their part during campaigning. There were a number of protests against Ochuodho's conviction; 10 days later, High Court Justice Barbara Tanui overturned the conviction, ordered a new trial, and released Ochuodho. Police immediately rearrested Ochuodho, took a statement regarding the case, and then released him on bail. On November 30, eight charges of malicious damage to property and two assault charges were withdrawn; however, the case remained under investigation at year's end 2001.

The Attorney General's constitutional power to discontinue proceedings in private prosecution cases was a problem. Arguing that citizens must first notify his office before initiating private prosecution, Attorney General Amos Wako has used this authority on a number of occasions to terminate cases against government officials.

No action was taken during the year 2001 to implement the recommendations of the 1998 Kwach Commission, which the Chief Justice appointed to report on the problems of the judiciary. The Kwach Commission cited "corruption, incompetence, neglect of duty, theft, drunkenness, lateness, sexual harassment, and racketeering" as common problems in the judiciary. The Commission recommended amending the Constitution to allow for the removal of incompetent judges, introducing a code of ethics, improving the independence of the judiciary, overhauling the Judicial Services Commission (the administrative branch of the judiciary), and shifting prosecutorial responsibilities from the police to the judiciary. Upon receipt of the report, the Chief Justice in late 1998 appointed another commission to investigate modalities of implementing the Kwach Commission's recommendations for improving the judiciary. No action was taken on those recommendations by year's end.

The court system consists of a Court of Appeals, a High Court, and two levels of magistrate courts, where most criminal and civil cases originate. The Chief Justice is a member of both the Court of Appeals and the High Court, which undercuts the principle of judicial review. Military personnel are tried by military courts-martial, and verdicts may be appealed through military court channels. The Chief Justice appoints attorneys for military personnel on a case-by-case basis.

The country has Islamic courts that resolve disputes, adjudicate inheritance questions and marital issues, and handle other civil matters where all parties are Muslim and accept the court's jurisdiction. The Constitution provides for these courts, and states that "jurisdiction of a Kadhi's court shall extend to the determination of questions of Muslim law relating to personal status, marriage, divorce, or inheritance in proceedings in which all the parties profess the Muslim religion." The courts have functioned in the country for numerous years. There are no other customary or traditional courts in the country. However, the national courts use the customary law of an ethnic group as a guide in civil matters so long as it does not conflict with statutory law. This is done most often in cases that involve marriage, death, and inheritance issues and in which there is an original contract founded in customary law. For example, if a couple married under national law, then their divorce is adjudicated under national law, but if they married under customary law, then their divorce is adjudicated under customary law. Citizens may choose between national and customary law when they enter into marriage or other contracts; however, thereafter the courts determine which kind of law governs the enforcement of the contract. Some women's organizations seek to eliminate customary law because they feel it is biased in favor of men.

Civilians are tried publicly, although some testimony may be given in closed session. The law provides for a presumption of innocence, and for defendants to have the right to attend their trial, to confront witnesses, and to present witnesses and evidence. Civilians also can appeal a verdict to the High Court and ultimately to the Court of Appeals. Judges hear all cases. In treason and murder cases, the deputy registrar of the High Court can appoint three assessors to sit with the High Court judge. The assessors are taken from all walks of life and receive a sitting allowance for the case. Although the assessors render a verdict, their judgment is not binding. Lawyers can object to the appointments of specific assessors.

Defendants do not have the right to government-provided legal counsel, except in capital cases. For lesser charges, free legal aid rarely is available, and then only in Nairobi and other major cities. As a result, poor persons may be convicted for lack of an articulate defense. Although defendants have access to an attorney in advance of trial, defense lawyers do not always have access to government-held evidence. The Government can plead the State Security Secrets Clause as a basis for withholding evidence, and local officials sometimes classify documents to the hide the guilt of government officials. Court fees for filing and hearing cases are high for ordinary citizens. The daily rate of at least $25 (2,000 shillings) for arguing a civil case before a judge is beyond the reach of most citizens.

Critics of the Government--politicians, journalists, lawyers, and students--have been harassed through abuse of the legal process. Authorities continued to arrest opposition M.P.'s and journalists during the year 2001, and a number of opposition M.P.'s, student leaders, and human rights activists still had one or more court cases pending during the year 2001. Some of these cases often have been pending for months or even years.



There are several different types of prisons in operation: principal prisons, maximum security prisons, medium security prisons, short sentence or minimum security prisons, district prisons, farm prisons, women's prisons, remand prisons, and young offender prisons.

Principal Prisons are used for extremely violent offenders (e.g. armed robbers, prisoners sentenced to life or death). Every province has a principal prison. Maximum Security Prisons are also used for dangerous criminals and long term prisoners.

All other prisons are used for less dangerous offenders. With the exception of some women's prisons, inmates in these prisons are incarcerated for a maximum of six months. A small portion of the inmates serve up to one year in medium security prisons. Approximately two women's prisons are used for very dangerous offenders. Less dangerous female offenders are incarcerated in facilities close to their towns of origin. There is only one principal prison and one maximum security prison in each province. Some of the prisons are without walls, such as farm prisons and remand prisons. Every district has a district prison; there are 41 districts in Kenya.

There are also some detention camps in rural towns for persons convicted of very trivial offenses. Inmates of detention camps can remain there for a maximum of four months. There are also schools used for juvenile offenders.

Another type of correctional program is an alternative to short term incarceration called an Extra Mural Panel Employment Scheme. The offender lives in his home and works on a local or national project and is supervised by a district official.

Kenya has a centralized system of prisons. All prisons in Kenya are under the direction of the Commissioner of Prisons, who is appointed by the President of the Republic. The Headquarters of Kenya Prisons Service is in Nairobi. Under the Commissioner of Prisons is a Deputy Commissioner who is also appointed by the President or promoted from the official ranks of the prisons. Other top leaders in the prisons service falling under the authority of the Commissioner of Prisons Service are the Directors of Operations, Administration, and Industries, and the Superintendents of various prisons.

There is a Prisons Staff College which runs training programs and refresher courses for both officers and non-commissioned officers. There are also administrative departments which provide various training services.

Some of the officers of the prisons service have university degrees, but most spend two to three years at the Prisons Staff College after they obtain a high school diploma. Some officers obtain their position through rank promotions. Because the criminal population is largely looked down upon, the Prisons Service in Kenya has difficulty attracting highly talented university graduates.

The annual budget is appropriated by the government and approved by the National Assembly.

Inmates can gain time off for good behavior and may lose time for bad behavior inside the prison. Inmates are required to work and every inmate must register for some type of vocational or general education program. Only dangerous offenders are excluded from vocational education programs. Both Maximum Security Prisons and Principal Prisons provide industrial training for inmates. Sports activities, visiting days and hours, weekend leave, and group therapy are provided in some prisons. Every prison facility has a medical unit. Inmates with very serious health problems are taken to a General Hospital, which is a government-operated facility. Both Prisons Service employees and inmates have free medical care at the General Hospitals.

Currently, prison conditions are harsh and life threatening, due both to a lack of resources and to the Government's unwillingness to address deficiencies in the penal system. Prisoners are subjected to severe overcrowding, deficient health care, and receive inadequate water, diet, and bedding. Police and prison guards subject prisoners to torture and inhuman treatment. Rape of both male and female inmates, primarily by fellow inmates, is a serious problem, as is the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS. Disease is widespread in prisons, and the death rate is high. Only one prison health facility had a resident doctor. The others were staffed by clinical officers or nurses posted from the nearest government hospital. Prisoners sometimes are kept in solitary confinement far longer than the maximum 90 days allowed by law. Prisoners and detainees frequently are denied the right to contact relatives or lawyers. On July 4, The Nation newspaper reported on its investigation into prison conditions nationwide. The article highlighted the difficulty family members have in visiting prisoners, including numerous bureaucratic and physical obstacles, each requiring a bribe.

The country's prisons reportedly hold 2 to 3 times their estimated combined capacity of 15,000 inmates. The average daily population of prison inmates was 38,739, 33 percent of whom were pretrial detainees. While the prison population has increased steadily over the last several years, prison facilities have not. According to the Government, there are 89 prison facilities. Overcrowding led to health-related problems arising from the sharing of amenities, encouraged the spread of infectious diseases, and resulted in food and water shortages. There is little access to health care and medicine. According to the Government, 464 prisoners died in jails during the first 11 months of the year, compared with 768 in 2000. Deaths were due chiefly to tuberculosis, dysentery, anemia, malaria, heart attack, typhoid fever, and HIV/AIDS, for which there is little access to health care and medicine.

On March 23, the KHRC hosted a public meeting at which former prisoners discussed their experiences while in prison. The former prisoners described prisons as full of disease, death, corruption, and brutality with guards demanding bribes for the most basic amenities. Responding to public allegations of unacceptable detention conditions, in 2000 the Government sent to Kodiaga Prison a fact-finding team, which found that prison conditions were acceptable. In January 2000, Commissioner of Prisons Edward Lokopoyit dismissed allegations of widespread torture in prisons; however, press reports continue to highlight the substandard conditions in the prisons. In September 2000, the Attorney General said publicly that some prisons were "unfit for humans." The following day, the Nyeri District Commissioner decried poor prison conditions countrywide.

By most accounts, prisoners receive three meals per day; however, in the past there have been reports of food shortage as well as reports that senior prison officers misappropriated the meat provided for prisoners. There were no reports during the year 2001 of food shortages or that prisoners died from hunger. During a 1999 visit by the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Torture, Nigel Rodley, prison authorities at Nakuru GK Prison confirmed that inmates on remand received half the ration of food provided to regular prisoners because they did not work.

Men, women, and children officially are kept in separate cells, and there were no reports that men and women were placed in the same cells. Women sometimes lack access to sanitary napkins and often have only one change of clothes, leaving them naked during the washing of their laundry. Young teenagers frequently are kept in cells with adults in overcrowded prisons and detention centers. Youth detention centers are understaffed, and inmates have minimal social and exercise time. Some young inmates remain for years in the centers, as their cases await resolution.

Nearly all prisoners serving more than 6 months in prison work in the prison industries and farms. Men work in printing services, car repair, tailoring, metal work, and leather and upholstery work. Women are taught sewing, knitting, dressmaking, rug making, basket weaving, jewelry making, and other crafts. Outdated laws mandate prisoners' earnings at $0.35 to $0.70 per year. Prisoners on good conduct can, with permission, work beyond the 8-hour day to produce goods, from which they earn two-thirds of the profits. Prisons are unable to invest these sizable profits in the prisons because income generated from the sale of prison products is sent directly into the Government Consolidated Fund. Some observers allege that prison officials use the free prison labor for personal profit; however, many inmates leave prison with a valid trade certificate.

The courts are responsible partly for overcrowding, as the backlog of cases in the penal system continues to fill the remand sections of prisons. Many detainees spend more than 3 years in prison before their trials are completed, often because they cannot afford even the lowest bail. Very few can afford attorneys.

The Government does not permit consistent independent monitoring of prison conditions. In general the Government does not permit domestic NGO's to visit prisons; however, some independent NGO's work with the Government in evaluating torture cases and performing autopsies on deceased prisoners. The SCHR has the authority to inspect prison facilities on demand at any time. The SCHR inspected several prisons during the year 2001 and found very poor conditions. For example, the Industrial Area Prison in Nairobi housed 3,000 prisoners despite a capacity for only 500.)) In 2000 U.N. Special Rapporteur Rodley released a report on his visits to several prisons in 1999. Rodley noted the problems of limited access by observers, poor sanitation and health care, and overcrowding.


Domestic violence against women is a serious and widespread problem. According to the Government, 1,199 cases of rape were reported to the police in Nairobi during the year 2001, compared with 1,148 in 2000. The available statistics probably underreport the number of incidents, as social mores deter women from going outside their families or ethnic groups to report sexual abuse. A study by Kangemi Women Empowerment Centre, a small group based in one of Nairobi's largest low-income communities, claimed that three out of five women in the community were victims of domestic violence, and that one-third of the women had suffered sexual abuse. The study noted that the abused women rarely reported the violations, because they believed perpetrators would not be punished, and no protective or remedial action would be taken. Although the validity of the study is unproven, the basic figures support other published figures and anecdotal evidence.

The law carries penalties of up to life imprisonment for rape, although actual sentences usually are no more than 10 years. The rate of prosecution remains low because of cultural inhibitions against publicly discussing sex, fear of retribution, disinclination of police to intervene in domestic disputes, and unavailability of doctors who otherwise might provide the necessary evidence for conviction. Moreover, wife beating is prevalent and largely condoned by much of society. Traditional culture permits a man to discipline his wife by physical means and is ambivalent about the seriousness of spousal rape. There is no law specifically prohibiting spousal rape. Throughout the year, the media continued to report on violence against women, including widespread spousal abuse.

Since 1994 FIDA has collaborated with the police to stop domestic violence. Police typically view violence against women as a family matter, not a crime. FIDA has trained more than 800 police officers about gender issues.

There continued to be incidents of rape of refugee Somali women at the Dadaab refugee camps. According to the UNHCR, refugee women reported 70 rapes during the first 11 months of the year, compared with 82 rapes in 2000.

Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is condemned widely by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, is practiced by certain ethnic groups and remains widespread, particularly in rural areas. The press reported severe injuries to several girls from the practice of FGM. According to a December 8 report by the Government and UNICEF, 38 percent of women nationwide have undergone FGM. The percentage of girls undergoing the procedure is as high as 80 to 90 percent in some districts of Eastern, Nyanza, and Rift Valley provinces, according to the women's rights organization Maendeleo Ya Wanawake ("Development of Women" in Swahili). FGM usually is performed at an early age. President Moi has issued two presidential decrees banning FGM, and the Government prohibits government-controlled hospitals and clinics from practicing it. In December the Children's Bill, which bans FGM on girls under the age of 18, was passed and signed into law. In an attempt to end FGM, some members of the Marakwet and Maasai ethnic groups instituted new "no cut" initiation rites for girls entering adulthood. According to statistics compiled by a group of NGO's in Marakwet, only 169 girls were subjected to FGM in 1999, compared with 12,000 girls during the same month in the 4 previous years.

Prostitution is illegal; however, it is a problem and is perpetuated by poverty. Prostitution has contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS, which affected approximately 14 percent of the population.

Women continue to face both legal and actual discrimination in other areas. For example, a married woman legally is required to obtain the consent of her husband before obtaining a national identity card or a passport.

The Law of Succession, which governs inheritance rights, provides for equal consideration of male and female children; however, in practice most inheritance problems do not come before the courts. Women often are excluded from inheritance settlements, particularly if married, or given smaller shares than male claimants are. Moreover, a widow cannot be the sole administrator of her husband's estate unless she has her children's consent. Most customary law disadvantages women, particularly in property rights and inheritance. For example, under the customary law of most ethnic groups, a woman cannot inherit land and must live on the land as a guest of males who are relatives by blood or marriage.


FGM is practiced commonly on girls by certain ethnic groups, particularly in rural areas.

Economic displacement and the spread of HIV/AIDS continued to affect the problem of homeless street children. The number of Nairobi's street children was more than 60,000 in 2000, an estimated 20 percent increase from 1999. These children often are involved in theft, drug trafficking, assault, trespassing, and property damage. According to a 1997 Human Rights Watch report, street children face harassment as well as physical and sexual abuse from the police and within the juvenile justice system. They are held in extremely harsh conditions in crowded police station cells, often without toilets or bedding, with little food, and inadequate supplies. They often are incarcerated with adults and frequently beaten by police.

Child rape and molestation continued. There were frequent press reports of rapes of young girls by middle-aged or older rapists. There were repeated reports of molestation or rape of children by schoolteachers, mostly in rural areas. Legally, a man does not "rape" a girl under age 14 if he has sexual intercourse with her against her will; he commits the lesser offense of "defilement." The penalty for the felony of rape can be life imprisonment, while the penalty for defilement is up to 5 years' imprisonment. Men convicted of rape normally receive prison sentences of between 5 and 20 years, plus several strokes of the cane.

In 2000 teachers at the Top Station Primary School in Kitale allegedly raped several students during the year 2001. In a letter to the Minister of Education, FIDA demanded that the Government fire these teachers. The authorities investigated the allegations and charged one teacher; however, in May 2000, he was acquitted for lack of evidence. The Government reported that the medical reports did not support the charge.

Child prostitution is a major problem in Nairobi and Mombasa, often connected with the tourist trade. Child prostitution has grown considerably due both to economic contraction and to the increase in the number of children orphaned because of the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that children were killed for body parts by persons practicing healing rituals associated with traditional religions.


Although there are no laws that specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, there are applicable laws against kidnaping and abduction that potentially could be used to prosecute traffickers. In January authorities arrested and deported six Sudanese on suspicion of running an operation to smuggle Kenyans to the Middle East for work. In previous years, there were unverified reports that citizens were trafficked to Saudi Arabia under the guise of employment opportunities, and that South Asians were trafficked into the country to work in sweatshops. In 1999 the People newspaper published an article about the experiences of several Kenyan women who had been misled into accepting jobs in the Middle East, only to work in what they described as "modern slavery."

The Government does not have any programs that specifically target trafficking; however, several NGO's provide service to persons who may have been victims of trafficking.


Kenya is a transit country for hashish and heroin, mostly bound from Southwest Asia for Europe. It is a major regional supplier of a mild narcotic known as khat, qat or miraa, which is legal in Kenya. Cannabis/marijuana is grown commercially for the illegal domestic market. There is a small, but growing, local heroin market. Kenyan anti-narcotics police cooperate well with U.S. embassy and drug enforcement officials, and with other nations' law enforcement agencies. Extensive training in air passenger profiling has helped reduce airborne heroin shipments. Interdiction of seacoast hashish shipments has been less successful, but container profiling training may improve the situation. There are few prosecutions of major drug traffickers. The Kenyan government has not yet finalized a national counter narcotics strategy. The overall Kenyan counter narcotics effort suffers from a lack of resources and political will. Kenya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has enacted full implementing legislation.

Kenya is a significant transit country and a minor producer of narcotics. The country legally grows khat or qat (known in Kenya as quote or miraa) for domestic and regional markets. Khat is a mild chewable narcotic, used traditionally in the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. Cannabis or marijuana (known in Kenya as bhang) is produced in commercial quantities for the domestic market; there is no evidence of an impact on the U.S.

Kenya serves as an important narcotics transit route. The country's sea and air transport infrastructure and close commercial and family ties to India and Pakistan of some Kenyans and ex-pat business men, make it a significant transit country for Southwest Asian cannabis resin (hashish) and heroin. Europe is the primary market for narcotics transiting Kenya, with North America serving as a secondary destination. There is also a trade in narcotics, particularly Southwest Asian-origin methaqualone (mandrax), between Kenya and South Africa. Kenyan airports serve as legal transshipment points for khat.

Although Nairobi serves as a regional financial center, there is no direct evidence that Kenya is a major money laundering country. Kenya does not produce significant quantities of precursor chemicals.

Public corruption remains a significant barrier to effective narcotics enforcement, particularly against major traffickers. Despite Kenya's strict narcotics law, which encompasses most forms of narcotics-related corruption, unconfirmed reports of public officials involved in narcotics trafficking continue to surface. In September 1998, a Nairobi city official who was arrested in connection with a successful airport drug seizure was released, reportedly after high level government intervention. In October 1998, an opposition political leader accused the government of protecting the owners of Mt. Kenya cannabis plantations. There were no prosecutions of public officials for narcotics-related corruption in 1998.

Increasing numbers of Kenyan farmers illegally grow cannabis or marijuana on a commercial basis, largely for the domestic market. Fairly large-scale cannabis cultivation occurs in the Lake Victoria basin, in the central highlands around Mt. Kenya, and along the coast. Foreign tourists export small amounts of Kenyan marijuana. During 1997, police destroyed a 70 acre plantation discovered in a national forest on Mt. Kenya. Police reportedly eradicated at least 84 acres in 1998. Although Kenyan authorities carry out some aerial surveillance, there is no systematic detection and eradication program. The Kenyan government has no estimates crop size or yield. Khat (qat or miraa) is legal in Kenya, and is widely grown as a cash crop in eastern province.

Kenya is strategically located along a major transit route between Southwest Asian producers of hashish and heroin, and markets in Europe, West Africa, and North America. Mombasa is a major transit port for hashish. containers with hashish are reportedly re-documented or repackaged in Mombasa for onward shipment. Most hashish transiting Kenya is bound for Europe, although some shipments have reached the U.S. and Canada.

Heroin normally transits Kenya by air, carried by individual couriers. Their destination is often West Africa, although some heroin enters Kenya either for re-export directly to Europe or the U.S., or to supply the small but growing domestic market. The ANU focuses on airport heroin interdiction. Traffickers continue to dispatch couriers, but are unwilling to risk large quantities. We have no evidence that heroin from Kenya reaches the U.S. in quantities sufficient to significantly affect the U.S. Kenya is a transit country for methaqualone in route from India to South Africa. A 1998 INTERPOL conference identified postal and commercial courier services as an increasing conduit for narcotics shipments through Kenya, particularly cocaine from South America bound for South Africa.Kenyan-grown khat (qat or miraa) is legally exported by air from Kenya to Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen.

Domestic programs Kenya has made little progress on demand reduction, although government officials express increasing concern. Inexpensive cannabis (bhang) and legal khat (miraa) are the domestic drugs of choice. Heroin abuse is spreading. Solvent abuse is widespread (and highly visible) among Nairobi street children. There are no reliable statistics for domestic consumption of illicit narcotics.

Demand reduction efforts are largely limited to a poster campaign sponsored by private donors and a UNDCP project to bring anti-drug education into the schools. Kenyan officials have expressed interest in demand reduction and rehabilitation, but there are no government programs. Kenya has no special drug abuse treatment facilities.


Internet research assisted by Myron Epps

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