Right to Life (Article 26)

Every person has the right to life

The right to life prohibits the intentional killing or taking of life 

The right to life begins at conception, making abortion illegal.

Abortion is only considered legal where in the opinion of a trained health professional it is an emergency, or the life or health of the mother is in danger. 


Kenya still has a death sentence as the penalty for certain offences contained in The Penal Code they include; murder, treason, robbery with violence including attempted robbery with violence.

The legality of the death sentence has been challenged in court.

The Prisons Act provides for hanging as the mode of executing the death sentence 

There has been no execution in Kenya since 1987.

The Freedom and Security of the Person (Article 29)

  • Every person has a right to the freedom and security of the person
  • It includes the right not to be: 
  • denied freedom randomly or without just cause; 
  • detained without trial; restraint without a reason to justify it; 
  • subjected to any form of violence from either public or private sources; 
  • subjected to torture in any manner, whether physical or psychological; 
  • subjected to corporal punishment; treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner.
  • Limitations 
  • These rights may only be limited in reasonable and justifiable circumstances (Article 24)
  • Or in the event a state of emergency being declared (Article 58) 
  • The right should be observed without infringing on another person’s right or fundamental freedom. 
  • Every person shall have the right to privacy
  • Includes the right not to have: 
  • their person, home or property searched;
  •  their possessions seized;   
  • Information concerning their family or private affairs revealed; 
  • or the privacy of their communications infringed.
  • Limitations
  • The Right to Privacy is among the rights which the state can limit under article 24 for the benefit of many, while giving justifications for the same. 
  • There are also several legislations which limit this right, including: 
  • The Prevention of Terrorism Act,
  • National Intelligence Service Act, 
  • Kenya Information and Communications Act. 
  • They limit this right by allowing security agencies to intercept suspect communications and to enter or search private properties without a search warrant.
  • The pending approval by Parliament of the Data Protection Bill means that citizens don’t have a specific law protecting their private information including their genetic data.
  • Freedom of Conscience, Religion, Belief and Opinion (Article 32)
  • Every person has the right to observe or follow any religion or belief and this includes the observance of a day of worship. 
  • A person cannot be compelled to observe or follow a religion or belief, neither can he denied access to institutions whether public or private.
  • Limitations 
  • Article 8 dictates that there shall be no state religion. 
  • During a state of emergency (Article 58), the state can directly or indirectly through limiting of other rights, limit this fundamental freedom within the provisions set out in article 24.
  • This right is to be enjoyed without invading of another person’s rights under the Constitution.
  • The Freedom of expression (Article 33)
  • Every person has the right to Freedom of Expression this includes: 
  • freedom to seek, receive or impart information or ideas; 
  • freedom of artistic creativity; 
  • Academic freedom and freedom of scientific research. 
  • Limitations 
  • This right does not extend to:        
  • propaganda for war; 
  • inciting violence; 
  • Hate speech or any advocacy of hatred that constitutes ethnic incitement or incitement to cause harm; or is based on any ground of discrimination as provided for in Article 27.
  •  In enjoying this right every person shall respect the rights and reputation of others.
  • Access to information (Article 35)
  • Every citizen has the right of access to information: 
  • held by the State
  • held by another person and is required for the protection of any right or fundamental freedom. 
  • Every person has the right to correct or delete untrue or misleading information that affects the person. 
  • The State is required to publish and publicize any important information affecting the nation.
  • Limitations
  • The right is limited to Kenyan citizens only.
  • The Access to Information Act  gives Parliament powers to vet state information that can be made available to citizens.
  • Freedom of association (Article 36)
  • Every person has the right to freedom of association.
  • It includes the right to form, join or participate in the activities of an association of any kind.
  • A person shall not be compelled to join an association of any kind. 
  • Any law that requires registration of an association of any kind shall provide that the registration may not be withdrawn unreasonably and there shall be a right to have a fair hearing before cancellation of a registration.
  • Limitations
  • These rights may only be limited in reasonable and justifiable circumstances (Article 24)
  • Or in the event a State of Emergency being declared (Article 58) 
  • The right should be observed without infringing on another person’s right or fundamental freedom. 

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