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Republic of Kenya
Jamhuri ya Kenya
and largest city
|Official languages||Swahili, English|
• from the United Kingdom
|12 December 1963|
• Republic declared
|12 December 1964|
|580,367 km2 (224,081 sq mi) (47th)|
• Water (%)
• 2011 estimate
• 2009 census
|67.2/km2 (174.0/sq mi) (140th)|
Kenya is a country in East Africa, about half way down, near the horn of Africa. It has the Indian Ocean to its east and Lake Victoria to its west. Kenya borders the nations of Somalia (east), Ethiopia (north), Sudan (north-west), Uganda (west), and Tanzania (south). Kenya is about the size of France, and almost as large as Texas (U.S.).
The capital city of Kenya is Nairobi, which is the 2nd largest city in Africa (after Cairo, Egypt). Other cities include seaside Mombasa and Malindi on the Indian Ocean, Nyeri, Nanyuki, Naivasha, and Thika in the Kenyan Highlands, and Kisumu on Lake Victoria.
The first humans may have lived near the lakes of Kenya along the Great Rift Valley, which cuts Kenya from north to south.
Kenya's coast is tropical and gets very hot. Inland, it is drier and cooler where the mountains rise up. The highest mountain in Kenya is Mt. Kenya, at 5,199 metres (17,057 ft). Mount Kilimanjaro crosses over the south border, with Tanzania, but the highest part of Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania.
Many different languages are spoken in Kenya. English and Kiswahili are the official languages Kiswahili is the national Language. All school-going Kenyans are required to learn English. English is the language of instruction in the schools and institutions of higher learning.
Kenya was a British colony, but became independent on December 12, 1963. For many years, a single party, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), ruled Kenya. Kenya has been a democratic country but from 1968 to 1992 it was a single party democracy. General elections were held every 5 years. However, all candidates for election to office had to belong to the ruling party, KANU. Mwai Kibaki is currently the president of Kenya and is the first President of Kenya to belong to a party other than KANU. Since he became President he has achieved a lot and Kenya has seen economic growth spurts of up 6%. He however has come under heavy criticism as some feel the reforms that were needed are slow to come. Many Kenyans living in Diaspora have begun to return to Kenya, as the promise of the future has created plenty of high-paying jobs that are appealing to foreign-educated Kenyans.
All Kenyans of school-going age are required to attend Primary School, which is provided free by the government. The Kenyan school system consists of 8 years of primary school, standard 1 through 8, 4 years of high school (Form 1 to 4) and 4 years of university. At the end of primary school, all students sit for a standardized exam called Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). The grades attained in this exam determine which high school the student will attend. In Form 4 (this is the last year in high school), students sit for another exam called Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). The highest achieving students are granted admission into the 5 national universities (Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenyatta University, Egerton University and Moi University). Tertiary colleges, like Globovillee college, also feed the diploma graduates to universities.
Land and animals
Kenya is a country of grassland, but it is not rich, productive land. This is a very dry grassland with poor soil. Kenya also has very few mineral resources. Three-fourths of the country is covered with plains. They are low in altitude along the coast, but get higher further inland, making a large plateau. The part east of Lake Turkana is the only true desert, but the rest can be very close to desert.
Savannas usually get between 4 and 16 inches (100 to 400 mm) of rain in a year. These lands, however, are called savanna because of the type of plants that live there and how they get their rain. Savannas have a wet and dry season. During the wet season it can rain hard for long periods of time then not rain at all in the dry season. Savannas that have more rain often have many trees spaced out across their plains. These trees have deep roots or store water, like desert plants do, to live through the long, dry seasons without rain. Even drier savannas will have only grass, and that too only in a few clumps. The dry land is very bad for crops, but it is a wonderful place for all kinds of wild animals to gather and stay. That is why Kenya has a lot of parks where the animals are kept, and protected from all the hunters. People/tourists come from all over the world to go on photo safaris in Kenya's special wildlife parks. The people come to Kenya on safari to see animals such as the rhinoceros, giraffe, wildebeest, elephant, cheetah, antelope, and lion. These animals live on the savanna grasslands.
The wild herbivores move as they eat, and they never stay in one spot because there is not enough grass for all of them. People also usually raise cattle on the savanna. These animals are kept in one place and often eat up all the grass there.
Since the independence of Kenya in 1963, Kenya has usually had a one-party government and has been a member of the British Commonwealth. The people are, like the Congo, divided into many tribes that often fight. However, Kenya's government is trying to get the people to work together and has encouraged them to run businesses and factories. Kenya is a developing country, slowly growing more modern.
In August or December of 2012 Kenya will be divided into 47 counties. The head of the county will be a Governor. For now Kenya is divided into 8 provinces.
- Constitution (2009) Art. 7[National, official and other languages] "(1) The national language of the Republic is Kiswahili. (2) The official languages of the Republic are Kiswahili and English. (3) The State shall–-–- (a) promote and protect the diversity of language of the people of Kenya; and (b) promote the development and use of indigenous languages, Kenyan Sign language, Braille and other communication formats and technologies accessible to persons with disabilities."
- Central Intelligence Agency (2012). "Kenya". The World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ke.html. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Official 2009 census results.
- "Kenya". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2008&ey=2011&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=664&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=69&pr.y=14. Retrieved 06 November 2011.
- "Human Development Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Tables.pdf. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- Constitution (1998) art. 53 "the official languages of the National Assembly shall be Kiswahili and English and the business of the National Assembly may be conducted in either or both languages."
- Theresa K. Buskey. History and Geography. LIFEPAC. Alpha Omega Publications. pp. 25. .