Values are at the centre of Kenyan life and have a key role in promoting unity, bridging differences, establishing respect between communities, and building trust in our institutions.
Embrace has assimilated the provisions of values and ethics within the Constitution and synthesised these into pragmatic schemes and programmes of action for organisations to help them to meet their constitutional obligations. The Constitution does not instruct individuals or organisations what measures they should take to observe and adhere to the nation’s national values. A Code of Practice does not exist on how to practically interpret and implement the provisions of Article 10 resulting in meaningful and measurable actions.
The 2010 Constitution enshrined the national values of patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power; the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people; human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalised; good governance integrity, transparency and accountability; and sustainable development.
The Constitution embodies a commitment towards nurturing and protecting the wellbeing of the individual, the family, communities and the nation, and it does this by codifying a set of values and principles that are spread throughout the Constitution but are synthesised and crystallised in the national values and principles of governance set out in Article 10. This article is binding upon all State organs, State and public officers. Most importantly, it is binding upon all persons. Therefore, all Kenyan citizens are enjoined, whether they participate in the application of the Constitution, any law or public policy decision, to respect, promote and apply the national values and principles of governance. The values and principles under Article 10 are classified into 4 bands, loyalty to the republic, promotion and protection of the rights of the individual, integrity and development. Each chapter of the Constitution builds upon the framework under Article 10.
The centrality of national values in Kenya's Constitution is the reflection of the country's past, present and a path to the future.
The road to independence was arduous but it established the identity of the state of Kenya. In the years since independence, Kenya has made great progress despite its challenges and divisions, and is a leading nation in Africa, recognised globally for its achievements and its potential. Historically, values in traditional society were the blueprint for attitudes and behaviour and were woven into the psyche of every citizen in thier action and interactions within the communities and with each other. Few Constitutions place so much importance on values and principles as Kenya’s. Nation building is at its essence, together with the promotion of national unity, solidarity and State restructuring.
Embrace has adopted the acacia tree not just as an image, but as a metaphor for the importance and central place of values in the nation's life, its history and its future. The acacia tree grows from the soil of its complex African heritage. The limbs of the tree represent the communities and sectors of Kenya through which the spirit of the Constitution and Kenya’s national values flow to the individual citizens, families and communities. These in turn are represented by the canopy, which nourishes the tree, and sustains the individual and the collective society that is the Kenyan people.
Kenya's diversity is central to the nation's character. This diversity takes many forms, from ethnicity and tribal affiliation, to beliefs and religion. There are dimensions of diversity related to the individual including gender, disability, and age, while others relate to life chances, economic opportunity, education, and geographical location.
We have seen how the nation's heritage and critical challenges have formed the basis for the Constitution of 2010 in which the nation's cohesion is central to the vision of a peaceful, democratic Kenya based on the national values and principles of governance.
We believe that long term, sustainable progress in cohesion is dependent on the realisation, operationalisation and institutionalisation of national values which can bring together the diversity of Kenya in all its forms, positive and negative alike. The Constitution is a powerful unifying force with national values which are meaningful to every Kenyan, based on their shared heritage and values.
The more that values are understood, shared, and practiced, the stronger their influence for national cohesion.