Kenyans go to the polls today, facing a choice between 'Yes' or 'No' in answer to the question: "Do you approve the proposed constitution?" or in Swahili: "Je, unaikubali katiba mpya inayopendekezwa?"
If adoped, the new constitution would help reform the structure of Kenya's government. It would transfer some power from the presidency to parliament, creating a more decentralized political system. The constitution also brings in a Bill of Rights, allowing dual citizenship for Kenyans, and allows for land reforms.
An opinion poll commissioned by NIMD's partner the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-Kenya) on 16 and 17 July 2010 suggests that the majority of registered voters intends to participate in the referendum, and that 65% of those say they will vote in favour of the proposed constitution.
Constiution review act
Kenya's proposed constitution - see attached document - was drafted following a process set out in the 2008 Constitution of Kenya Review Act.
The Act established four organs of review: the Committee of Experts (CoE), the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Review of the Constitution (PSC), the National Assembly and the referendum. The first three have completed their tasks; the referendum is the last step.
The referendum is required by the current Constitution which says that:
NIMD looks forward to the results of the referendum, trusts that the referendum will be conducted peacefully, and celebrates this opportunity for all Kenyans to have their say in the future of their country.
Read more about NIMD's Kenya programme.
UPDATE (4 August): the BBC is reporting "an absolutely enormous turnout" at polling booths across Kenya today.
UPDATE (5 August): Kenya's Interim Independent Electoral Commission reports that the "yes camp leads early provisional results by 63%".