Under the constitution of 1963, Kenya is a republic. Executive power is held by an elected president, who serves a five-year term. The presidential candidate must win the elections for a seat in the National Assembly as well as for the office of the President. He appoints his vice president and a 20 member cabinet. Each Cabinet minister heads an executive department. The Cabinet members are selected from the members of the Assembly itself. The legislature is the single-house National Assembly, with 210 elected members and 12 members appointed by the president. Members serve five-year terms.

There are seven provinces and the district of Nairobi in Kenya. The provinces are further divided into districts and sub districts. Each province is headed by a commissioner while the sub districts are headed by local chiefs. They fall under the direct authority of the City commissioner who heads the Nairobi district. Councils look after administration in rural counties, cities, and towns.

The Kenya African National Union (KANU) is the largest political party in Kenya. After other political parties became legalized in 1991 many other parties have become dominant. Besides KANU, other political parties include the Democratic Party (DP) and three factions of the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD-Asili, FORD-Kenya, and FORD-People).

The judicial system is based on English law. The Kenya Court of Appeal is the highest judicial body followed by the High Court which hears appeals from lower courts. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court. Resident magistrate courts and district magistrate courts are the lower courts. There are special courts to hear matters involving Islamic law.