Resources are unevenly distributed in Kenya,
more so than in most neighboring countries. Almost half
of the population lives in poverty while there is a
relatively large middle class. The richest tenth of the
population controls around 40 percent of the assets.
An unusually large proportion of the rural population
for the region has no land at all, which contributes to
many families living in deep poverty. More and more
people are moving to the larger cities, where the slums
are spreading. The reason why many are landless is that
large land areas have been seized, during the colonial
era but also under the governments that have ruled since
independence (see also Older History and Current
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Kenya, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
High population growth, drought, floods and ethnic
conflicts have worsened living conditions for many
Kenyans. The AIDS epidemic contributed to the expected
life expectancy falling during the 1990s, but now it is
increasing again. Nearly half of the population does not
have access to clean water.
In the wake of the economic crisis, crime has
In health care there has been a focus on primary
care. Free care is to be offered to the poorest in the
population, but in rural areas many people do not
actually have access to health care. There is a great
lack of medical equipment and medicines.
Immune deficiency disease AIDS has hit Kenya hard.
The AIDS epidemic has contributed to increased infant
and maternal mortality. Almost twice as many women as
men are HIV infected. However, both the spread of
infection and the mortality in the disease have slowed
down; the proportion of infected persons is estimated to
have dropped from about 14 percent in the mid-1990s to
6 percent in 2012. Kenya has, among other things,
invested in brake medicines, information and male
circumcision for preventive purposes.
Diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis also pose
major public health problems. In addition, the mortality
in traffic is very high, the figures are among the worst
in the world.
Drought is a recurring problem in agricultural
dependent Kenya. The most severe drought of over half a
century hit the region in 2011. Nearly one tenth of
Kenyans lived according to the UN during the famine in
late summer. The situation was exacerbated by sharply
rising world market prices for food.
Gender discrimination is formally prohibited, but in
reality it is far from gender equality. Women often
contribute most of the family's income and are
simultaneously responsible for the children as well as
for heavy work, such as fetching water and firewood.
Widows often inherit the traditional right to use the
land, while legal ownership is usually inherited by the
husband's family. In the event of a divorce, the woman
often loses access to the land. About a third of the
country's households are led by women. A large
proportion of them live in poverty. The men often leave
the family to look for work in the cities.
Multiple marriages occur but have become less common,
partly because of criticism from the church and partly
because it is expensive for a man to have several wives.
In 2014, however, a new law was passed that makes it
legal for a man to marry several women, without having
to consult with former spouses. At the same time, people
under 18 were forbidden to marry, women were entitled to
half of the assets acquired during the marriage.
Genital mutilation of girls under the age of 18 has
been prohibited by law since 2002 and is completely
prohibited since 2011. However, the procedure is still
being carried out, although the latter law also
criminalizes both failure to report genital mutilation
and stigmatization of those affected. Around one-third
of Kenyan women are estimated to have undergone surgery.
Violence against women is a widespread problem.
According to women's rights organizations, rape included
more than half of the violent crimes reported in
connection with the 2008 outbreak (see Modern History).
In the majority of cases, police were charged with
committing the abuse. Men were also subjected to sexual
Women are also under-represented in politics.
However, the new constitution that was adopted in 2010
stipulates that one third of all members of elected
parishes must be women. After the 2017 election, the 22
National Assembly's 290 directly elected members are
women. Three women were also elected to the Senate, and
three of 47 governors are women.
Many children live in difficult conditions due to
poverty. According to official estimates, around 30,000
children are exploited in the sex trade.
In 2014, Kenya stopped all foreign adoptions of
Same-sex sexual relationships are prohibited by law
and can result in long prison sentences of up to 14
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
31 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
4.7 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
2.5 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
1.5 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
58.5 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
29.1 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
5.2 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
$ 66 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
22 percent (2018)
Terrorist act in tourist city
A bomb thrown into a bar in the tourist town of Diani south of Mombasa
injures ten people. No group is to blame for the attack, but the authorities
suspect militant Islamists.
The president protests against a new law
Kenyatta vetoes the controversial media law and says via a press release that
some changes must be made to the new law.
New decision on Kenyatta's trial
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is changing and decides at the end of
the month that President Kenyatta must be present throughout the trial against
Refugees in Kenya receive help to return home
UN Refugee Agency UNHCR concludes agreement with Somalia and Kenya to
persuade more than half a million Somali refugees in Kenya to return home over a
New media team
Parliament approves a new and controversial media law (see Mass Media).
Violent crime receives almost no punishment
A rape case in October attracts a lot of attention, when three men who raped
a 16-year-old girl by the police were punished for cutting the grass outside the
police station. At the end of the month, a million signatures have been
collected to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The ICC demands the presence of Vice President Ruto
The International Criminal Court (ICC) decides that Ruto must attend most of
the trial against him, even if it would mean that the vice president misses
important meetings. The issue of Ruto's presence in court must be decided on a
case-by-case basis, the court announces. Thus, the ICC tears up an earlier
decision that gave Ruto greater opportunities to be absent.
The ICC gives Kenyatta leave from trial
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is meeting Kenya to a certain extent,
saying that Kenyatta does not have to be present throughout the trial. However,
the Court points out that it must be in place when it starts and when a possible
judgment is served
Concerns in Mombasa
Kravaller breaks out in Mombasa after a leading Muslim minister, Ibrahim
"Rogo" Omar, and three more people were shot dead.
Journalist is suspected of trying to mutate ICC
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant against a
journalist suspected of attempting to bribe the prosecutor's witnesses in the
case against Vice President Ruto. The journalist, who hails from President
Kenyatta's hometown of Eldoret, has previously worked for a newspaper purchased
by a media company where the Kenyatta family has strong ownership interests. ICC
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda calls on Kenya to immediately extradite the man to The
Attacks in Nairobi lead to many deaths
At least 67 people are killed, including 61 civilians, and 170 injured when a
group of people attack the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, in a drama that lasts for
almost four days. The Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab takes on the blame for
the attack.As Kenyan security forces intervene, fires fire. The Kenyan security
forces are supported by Western experts, including Israeli experts. When the
drama is over, four assailants have been killed and eleven arrested.
Ruto in court
The trial of Ruto and Radio Chief Joshua arap Sang begins on September 10
with the Kenyan Vice President in place.
Decision to leave the ICC
Parliament votes for Kenya to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC);
Most of the opposition, however, will go ahead of the vote.
Witnesses jump off Kenyatta trial
Another two of the dozens of witnesses the prosecutor called for the trial
against Uhuru Kenyatta are retiring because of the fear of their own safety. The
prosecutor releases a third witness who is no longer useful.
Protest against increased politician salaries
MPs' plans to raise their wages are facing protests (see May 2013),
which causes wages to stay at just over $ 6,000 a month.
Compensation is paid to Kenyans
Britain agrees to pay damages to over 5,200 Kenyans who were tortured in
connection with the mau-mau uprising in the 1950s (see October 2012).
A total of almost £ 20 million will be paid to the victims. British Foreign
Minister William Hague also apologizes to the victims of the abuse.
Substantial wage increase in Parliament
MPs on both sides are voting at the end of the month to approve a sharp pay
rise, with a salary equivalent to $ 10,000. The proposal goes through despite
President Kenyatta urging members to agree on wage cuts to create room for new
Death after terror attack
Two police officers and three civilians are killed in an attack on a post in
the border town of Liboi between Kenya and Somalia. al-Shabaab claims to be
behind the attack
ICC is asked to prosecute
In a letter to the UN Security Council, Kenya's ambassador appeals to the ICC
to put down all charges against Kenyan officials for the violence after the 2007
Attacks on hotels
Eight people were shot dead in an attack on a hotel in the city of Garissa.
Swap the presidential post
Kenyatta will take over as president on April 9.
The Supreme Court gives final election results
On March 11, the ICC announces that the litigation against Francis Muthaura
will be closed (see CC trials after the 2007 election). Kenyatta's attorneys
urge the ICC to also bring charges against him.
On March 30, the Supreme Court ruled that Kenyatta won the election. Odinga says
he accepts the court's ruling.
The election result is appealed
Odinga turns to court to appeal against the results of the presidential
election, as he believes that everything has not gone right to
The election results are published
On March 9, the Election Commission announces that Kenyatta has won the
election with 50.07 percent of the vote against 43.31 percent for Raila Odinga.
Since Kenyatta received more than half of the vote, there will be no other
ballot. The anniversary alliance also received the most votes in the elections
to both the National Assembly and the Senate (for distribution of seats see fact
box). However, Cord wins 23 of 47 governor posts, including in the three largest
cities of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
Technology trick delays election results
The result is delayed due to problems with the new and expensive electronic
voting system. Up to 6 percent of the votes have been annulled for various
reasons, about 300,000, but the number is significantly reduced when the voting
is done manually.
Focus on security during elections
The election will be held as planned on March 4. About 100,000 police
officers have been deployed to ensure voter safety. Unrest mainly occurs in the
coastal province of the city of Garissa.
Death shootings at restaurant
At least five people are shot to death in a restaurant in the town of Garissa
in the east. The local police suspect that the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab
is behind the act.
New concern in Tana
New disturbances are reported from the Tana area (see December 2012)
where at least ten people are killed in the violence between pokomo and the
Mudavadi changes party
Musalia Mudavadi formally leaves the Jubilee Alliance. Two days later, he is
elected presidential candidate for another new political group: the Amani
Coalition (see Political system).