Today: May 24, 2024

Economics likely to trump ethnicity in Kenya poll

Kenya’s upcoming elections could be the beginning of a shift from ethnic to class and issue-based politics.

Kenya’s upcoming elections could be the beginning of a shift from ethnic to class and issue-based politics.

Kenya’s upcoming elections could be the beginning of a shift from ethnic to class and issue-based politics.

Other developments that suggest the August polls may be more peaceful are the handling of voter registration, the successful application of technology in the voter process and votes transmission, and transparency of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

All the signs point to Kenyans being less interested in electing leaders based on ethnic identity and more on their capacity for good governance. This has made it difficult to assess who between Odinga and Ruto is leading. Fake polls and new surveying techniques conducted through social media platforms by notable personalities have arguably eroded trust in pre-election opinion polls.

However, the presidential race will undoubtedly be tight, with the possibility of a second-round run-off. Whoever wins, the priority will be putting the economy back on track. August could hopefully see the beginning of a shift from ethnic-based to issue-based politics – a sign of political maturity in Kenyan elections.

Karen Allen, Consultant, Mohamed Daghar, Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Willis Okumu, Senior Researcher, ENACT Project, Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Nairobi

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