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Country information - Kenya
Country name - conventional long form : Republic of Kenya
Country name - conventional short form : Kenya
Country name - local long form : Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri ya Kenya
Country name - local short form : Kenya
Country name - former : British East Africa
Government type : republic
Capital - name : Nairobi
Capital - time difference : UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 12 December (1963)
Nationality - noun : Kenyan(s)
Nationality - adjective : Kenyan
Languages : English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Currency (code) : Kenyan shilling (KES)
Currency code : KES
Major infectious diseases - degree of risk : high

Kenya is located Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania. The climate is varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior. The terrain is low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya. MOI acceded to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. President MOI stepped down in December 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform. KIBAKI's NARC coalition splintered in 2005 over the constitutional review process. Government defectors joined with KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement, which defeated the government's draft constitution in a popular referendum in November 2005. KIBAKI's reelection in December 2007 brought charges of vote rigging from ODM candidate Raila ODINGA and unleashed two months of violence in which as many as 1,500 people died. UN-sponsored talks in late February produced a powersharing accord bringing ODINGA into the government in the restored position of prime minister.

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