Strike two for WND's birth certificate scoop

Early this morning, we (along with others) noted that the purported Obama birth certificate posted by WorldNetDaily says that it was issued by the “Republic of Kenya” on February 17, 1964, but that Kenya did not become a republic until December 12, 1964.

Well, here's WND's response:

Media Matters wrote, “Sorry, WorldNetDaily: Kenya wasn't a republic until Dec. 1964.”

But Kenya's official independence was in 1963, and any number of labels could have been applied to government documents during that time period.

At Ameriborn Constitution News, the researcher noted that the independence process for the nation actually started taking as early as 1957, when there were the first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council.

“Kenya became an Independent Republic, December 12, 1963, which gives more [credibility] that this is a true document,” the website stated.

The 1963 independence is corroborated by several other information sources, including the online African History.

Even the People Daily news agency cited, on Dec. 12, 2005, the “42nd independence anniversary” in Nairobi. “The country gained independence from Britain on Dec. 12, 1963,” the report said.

An online copy of the Kenya Constitution, “adopted in 1963, amended in 1999,” states: “CHAPTER I - THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, Article 1, Kenya is a sovereign Republic. Article 1A, The Republic of Kenya shall be a multiparty democratic state...”

It was in November 1964 when the region voluntarily became a one-party state, according to an online source.

There are a couple points to be made here.

First, WND's focus on the date of Kenyan independence is a straw man. No one is disputing that Kenya gained independence in 1963. But that isn't the same as when it became a republic. Indeed, the December 12, 1964, Washington Post article we posted reported: “Kenya became the newest republic within the British Commonwealth at midnight. ... Kenya became independent in December, 1963 and has now shed its dominion status, while remaining in the Commonwealth” [emphasis added].

Second, on the issue of Kenya's constitution “adopted in 1963,” here's how the CIA's World Factbook describes Kenya's constitutional history:


12 December 1963; amended as a republic 1964; reissued with amendments 1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001; note - a new draft constitution was defeated by popular referendum in 2005

That's consistent with news reporting from the time. An October 27, 1963, Washington Post article describing Kenya's initial constitution reported that “Britain ... has left a loophole insuring that the whole constitution will be rewritten in a year or so. The country is being given dominion (monarchial) status but its leaders have said that they intend to make it a republic.”

A year later, the Post reported in a November 11, 1964, article: “Within a few hours after” Kenyan opposition leader Ronald Ngala's November 10, 1964, announcement that he was dissolving his party, “the Senate unanimously passed the second and third readings of a bill to give the country a republican constitution to take effect Dec. 12.” According to the Post, that vote “eliminated any need for a referendum to decide whether the country should become a republic.” The Post added that “Ngala's party has been increasingly weakened recently by a rash of desertions during consideration of the government's bill to make Kenya a republic Dec. 12.”