skip to contents.

The Experience of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC): Political Parties in Kenya from 1991 to 2007

Discussion Papers


February 2010


This paper first examines splits and mergers among Kenya’s political parties (and inner-party factions) from the restoration of a multi-party system in 1991 until 2007, before the turbulent 10th general elections were conducted. It then considers what functions “political parties” have in Kenya with special reference to the period since 2002, the year in which President Moi announced his intention to retire. A look back at NARC’s five years of rule reveals that, although it succeeded in changing the government, NARC, as a “political party,” remained throughout an organization without any real substance. The paper looks at (1) NARC’s de facto split after its overwhelming win in the ninth general election, (2) malfunctions of the anti-defection laws that were introduced in the 1960s, and (3) Kenya’s election rules that require candidates to be nominated by registered political parties in general elections. The paper proceeds to argue that as a result of the operation of these three elements, Kenya’s political parties, and especially the victorious coalition sides, tend to end up being nothing more than temporary vehicles for political elites angling for post-election posts.

Keywords: Elections - Kenya, Democracy - Kenya, Kenya- Politics and government

PDF pdf (753KB)

Please note that discussion papers are works in various stages of progress and most have not been edited and proofread and may contain errors of fact or judgment. Revised versions of these papers may subsequently appear in more formal publication series. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). The IDE does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included and accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from its use.