Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Kenyan Constitution and Chicago Troika

Here is a great nugget from a recent edition of news at the University of Chicago. It includes some insights into what valuable work is being carried out by other members of this blog. It starts with some biographical material on Tom:

“Ginsburg first developed an interest in constitutions through his work at the Asia Foundation in the early 1990s, when he was sent to Mongolia as a young program officer to organize assistance in writing a new constitution.

Twenty years later, it was a natural fit when the Rome-based International Development Law Organization approached Ginsburg’s group to convene a group of American constitutional scholars to provide feedback throughout the drafting process for Kenya’s constitution.

Kenya, once a poster child for success in the developing world, had in recent years descended into tribal infighting and bloodshed. The new constitution was intended as a stabilizing influence among rival groups.

From December 2009 through March 2010, Ginsburg and his colleagues, including UChicago assistant professors Rosalind Dixon and Aziz Huq, reviewed three rounds of drafts and offered suggestions. They argued against the Kenyans’ original intention to divide power between a president and prime minister. Such a structure could enshrine existing political divisions and prevent the country from taking action on pressing problems. The drafters ultimately chose a pure presidential model.

On Aug. 4, after years of unsuccessful attempts at change, Kenya’s citizens ratified the new constitution.”


One response to “Kenyan Constitution and Chicago Troika”

  1. Tom Ginsburg Avatar
    Tom Ginsburg

    This is a case of the university publicity office exaggerating our role. No doubt the Kenyan Committee of Experts were aware of many of the features of the draft that we identified, and they received advice from many sources. Of course, the main thing is that the new Kenyan constitution function effectively.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *