The Constitution of Kenya and Workers’ Rights Against Slavery and Servitude”

In 2010, Kenya made a significant stride towards protecting the rights of its citizens by promulgating a new constitution. This constitution brought about transformative changes in various sectors, including labor and employment. Among the many provisions that aim to safeguard workers’ rights, one of the most crucial aspects is the prohibition of slavery and servitude. In this blog post, we will explore what the Constitution of Kenya 2010 means for employers in terms of workers’ rights, particularly their protection from slavery and servitude.

The Constitution’s Pledge to Workers

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 has ushered in an era of heightened awareness and protection of workers’ rights. Article 29 of the constitution explicitly addresses the issue of slavery and servitude. It states that:

“No person shall be held in slavery or servitude, or be required to perform forced labor.”

This fundamental provision sends a clear message that Kenya is committed to eradicating any form of slavery or forced labor within its borders. It is not only a matter of compliance with international human rights standards but also an essential step towards ensuring the dignity and freedom of every worker in the country.

Implications for Employers:

  1. Abolishing Unlawful Labor Practices: Employers must be aware that any form of slavery, servitude, or forced labor is not only morally reprehensible but also illegal under the Constitution of Kenya 2010. This means that employers should not engage in or condone practices that could be interpreted as slavery or servitude, such as forced labor, human trafficking, or debt bondage.
  2. Respect for Employee Dignity: The constitution’s stance on slavery and servitude reflects a commitment to upholding the dignity of every worker. Employers must ensure that their employees are treated with respect and fairness, and their rights are upheld throughout their employment journey.
  3. Compliance with Labor Laws: The Constitution of Kenya 2010 sets the foundation for the country’s labor laws and regulations. Employers are obligated to adhere to these laws and ensure that their employment practices align with the constitution’s principles. This includes fair wages, reasonable working hours, safe working conditions, and adherence to labor contracts.
  4. Zero Tolerance for Exploitation: Employers should maintain a zero-tolerance policy for any form of exploitation within the workplace. This means actively discouraging practices that could lead to the coercion or mistreatment of employees and promptly addressing any reported incidents of abuse or harassment.
  5. Promotion of Employee Rights: Employers can play a proactive role in promoting workers’ rights and raising awareness among their workforce. This includes providing information on labor rights, ensuring transparency in employment contracts, and fostering a workplace culture that values and respects all employees.

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 marks a significant milestone in the protection of workers’ rights, particularly with its explicit prohibition of slavery and servitude. Employers in Kenya should recognize the importance of these constitutional provisions and actively work to create a work environment that upholds the dignity and rights of every employee. By doing so, not only will employers be complying with the law, but they will also contribute to the development of a just and equitable society where workers are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve.