DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE AS A PRINCIPLE OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN KENYA: AN ANALYSIS

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Human rights principles inform the content of good governance efforts: they may inform the development of legislative frameworks, policies, programs, budgetary allocations and other measures. However, without good governance, human rights cannot be respected and protected in a sustainable manner. The general objective of the study was to analyze democracy and good governance as a principle of human rights in Kenya. More specifically, the study sought to establish the relationship between human rights and democracy in Kenya; establish the relationship between human rights and good governance in Kenya; and to assess how successive Kenyan governments since independence dealt with democratic rights of their citizens. This study is significant in many ways. Firstly, it provides policy suggestions for regional and national leaders and citizens at all levels to find means of alleviating challenges that face the process of promoting democracy and good governance. Secondly, the finding can be used to guide developed countries and donors to reexamine the unique challenges a particular nation faced instead of tagging aid to democracy and good governance. Thirdly, it contributes to empirical literature on democracy and governance as principles of human rights, hence serves as a point of reference to encourage further research on Kenya and other African countries. The study focused on reviewing secondary sources such as previous related studies, newspaper archives as well as government, university and journal articles. Content analysis was then employed by creating themes and sub-themes based on the study objectives, where the qualitative data was presented narratively. Themes were developed as per the study objectives. The study found that the link between democracy and human rights is interdependent,  intricate,  mutually supportive  and  symbiotic.  Democracy  cannot  be  defined without human rights. Human rights can be protected effectively only in a democratic state. A functional democracy that accommodates diversity, promotes equality and protects individual freedoms is increasingly becoming the best bet against the concentration of power in the hands of a few and the abuse of human rights that inevitably results from it. It was revealed that from a human rights perspective, the concept of good governance can be linked to principles and rights set out in the main international human rights instruments. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the importance of a participatory government and Article 28 states that everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration can be fully realized. The two International Covenants on Human Rights contain language that is more specific about the duties and role of governments in securing the respect for and realization of all human rights. Kenya’s transition is characterized by a lot of back- and-forth. Democratic gains are yet to be consolidated. Citizens’ efforts to promote change are visible and well rooted in all spheres. Also, the political sphere is highly pluralized. There are many registered political parties and many people participate in periodic elections.

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PROF. AMB. MARIA NZOMO
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