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Kenya’s 2007 Election Crisis

Discussion Papers

No.243

July 2010

ABSTRACT

On 27 December 2007, the Republic of Kenya held its tenth general election since independence. The ballot-related proceedings went as planned up to and including the vote count, providing grounds for optimism for a largely peaceful transfer of power. However, after the official declaration by the Electoral Commission of Kenya late in the afternoon of 30 December that the presidential election had been won by the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki (from Central Province and a Kikuyu), Kenya entered into a period of deep crisis. How might we best understand this great turbulence, which was unprecedented in post-independence Kenya? Perhaps the answer lies in the sudden defeat of the opposition’s presidential candidate, Raila Odinga from Nyanza Province and a Luo, who had been widely expected to win. With the post-election upheaval as the context, and looking at the situation from the standpoint of political history, this paper will offer an analysis of trends in Kenya’s politics since 2002.

Keywords: Kenya, election, conflict, ethnicity, democracy, politics

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