Kenya’s Electoral Misfire

Issue Date April 2018
Volume 29
Issue 2
Page Numbers 158-172
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Kenya stands tragically poised between an illiberal democracy and an illiberal opposition intent on creating political ferment as a means of securing power-sharing arrangements or fresh elections. Initially praised as the freest and fairest polls conducted in the country since the introduction of competitive multiparty politics in 1991, the August 2017 elections ultimately led to vicious interparty and interethnic disagreements over the outcome of the presidential contest. This outcome was voided by the Supreme Court on the basis of procedural violations in the delivery of results, even as the courts upheld and the public accepted results for the national legislature and at the county level, where the attrition rates of incumbent candidates were highest. To break the impasse, Kenya needs to replace the presidential system with a parliamentary one and to give a centrality to political compromise that befits the country’s ethnically polarized nature.

About the Author

Michael Chege teaches public policy and international development at the University of Nairobi. He has served as a development advisor to the Kenyan government, and as director of the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida.

View all work by Michael Chege