National Values and Principles of Governance: What does Article 10 really mean?


The scramble and partition of Africa inspired by the Berlin conference led to the conception of a Country-  The present day Kenya, which became a protectorate by 1895 and a British colony by 1920.

It is through this historical accident that a conglomerate of over forty ethnic groups found themselves within a territory.  A territory that treated them to punitive injustices- distorting their economic, social, cultural, religious and political order.

As a result, the periods from 1952 saw an uprising by the Natives- the struggle for independence, shaping a collective consciousness that laid the framework for a National identity. Yes, a National identity. The spirit of Nationhood had subconsciously been born. The slogan- Harambee.

Whereas a State is simply a factor of having a territory, a people, a government, an army and recognition by the international community, a Nation remains a group of people with a shared commonality, in terms of history, language and culture. Heterogeneous states such as Kenya, world over create this sense of shared commonality within their territorial boundaries. It is believed that a State consisting of a Nation of people is easier to govern as there is a common set of beliefs, values, culture and history.

And so, post independence Kenya has seen its fair share of challenges in trying to build a Nation. Many opportunities have ended up being squandered leading to poverty, negative ethnicity, inequitable distribution of resources, discrimination and exclusion on the part of segments of the Kenyan society. This has in turn led to social tensions, instability and cycles of pre and post- election violence.  All these have been as a result of weak institutions, poor governance and leadership, poor work ethics, low levels of patriotism and weakening social structures.

Several attempts have been made towards trying to correct all these, including civil disobedience, but one major attempt is the Vision 2030 road map that tries to address the political, social and economic aspects of development in Kenya- so as to achieve a middle income Country status by the year 2030. One of its recommendations was to adopt and implement a new constitution that establishes a National Values system for Kenya.

Therefore, with the promulgation of Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 10 came to life.

But what does it really mean?

Article 10 defines the values in which Kenya is founded. It further defines the shared commonalities that bounds the people of Kenya into a common history, culture and traditions  in an attempt to define Nationhood.

It is the foundation in which the structure of a Country Kenya rests.

Article 10(2) The national values and principles of governance include-

                   (a) patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law,     democracy and participation of the people;                                                                                           

                   (b) human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalized;

                   (c) good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability; and

                   (d) sustainable development.

These founding principles applies to both state and non-state actors. And the value-carriers include; family, communities, educational institutions, religious and faith based organizations, national and county governments, private sector, professional associations, media, civil society, political parties, arts, sports and entertainment sector, all persons and individuals.

Kenya is ripe for attainment of Nationhood. And the most effective way to achieve long lasting impact is by allowing as much of the process as possible to be managed by wanjiku in a voluntary and democratically self-governing associations. Wanjiku needs to wake the part of her society that is still asleep. The part of the society that is still waiting for selfish politicians to perform miracles on them.

For Kenya to actualize vision 2030, the common mwanachi needs to check whether the foundation is strong enough. The foundation as spelt out in article 10.

Is wanjiku patriotic enough to build the Nation Kenya? Is she transparent with integrity? Does she vote in leaders who subscribe to integral values? Is she geared towards sustainable development? Does she believe in equity, equality and inclusiveness?

This is the foundation that will reduce the current 46% poverty rate in the Country. This is the foundation that will counter runaway corruption. This is the foundation that will reduce the high unemployment rate among the youth. This is the foundation that will eliminate ethnic tensions and prejudices especially during elections.This is the foundation that will put more emphasis on an education system geared towards character development as opposed to academic performance. This is the foundation that will enlighten both the Kikuyu and the Luo to know that the Kikuyu need the Luo as much as the Luo need the Kikiuyu in this country.

And this foundation can only be built by the people themselves the minute they collectively become conscious of the Nation Kenya- Just the same way the founding fathers become conscious in 1952.



It is not in NUMBERS but in UNITY that our great strength lies…..Thomas Paine


PS:-1) National Values need not be confused with Virtues ( family and christian). In this, Values is defined as “the regard that something is held to deserve: the importance, worth or usefulness.” (Oxford dictionary definition)

2) A nation-state is a sovereign state whose citizens are relatively homogeneous in factors such as common descent. e.g Albania, Egypt, North and South Korea. So, Kenya is not a Nation-state but a Nation.













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