The following material is owned by Fabrizio Cinus, as it comes from the thesis of Master Degree entitled “La questione di Mandera fra Kenya e Somalia”, A.A. 2009-2010, Faculty of Political Science, University of Cagliari.

This section will include articles about Kenya’s political history, from the period of the English protectorate to the latest elections, those of March 2013.

Updates will follow, even in view of the next elections to be held in August 2017.

Kenya elections 2017: Kenyatta is the President!


Tano tena: five more.

This is one of the slogans of Uhuru Kenyatta’s supporters. And Kenyatta really did. On the evening of August 11, 2017, after 3 days of count, the IEBC [1] proclaimed its victory as president of the Republic of Kenya [2]. Not all the polling stations have been counted and the data is still up to date, but the result can no longer change. Here is the video of the proclamation:


As foreseeable, the struggle for the presidency only concerned Kenyatta and Odinga, while the others got only a handful of votes, less than 1%. These are the results at the time of proclamation:

    • Uhuru Kenyatta is the President with 8,203,290 votes that represent 54.27% of the votes cast and has obtained at least 25% of the votes in 35 Counties; [3]
    • Raila Odinga gets 6,762,224 votes that represent 44.74% of the votes cast. He obtained at least 25% of the votes in 29 Counties; [4]
    • Joseph William Nthiga Nyagah gets 42,259 that represent 0.28% of the valid votes. It does not get 25% of the votes in any County;
    • Mohamed Abduba Dida gets 38,093 votes that represent 0.25% of the valid votes. It does not get 25% of the votes in any County;
    • John Ekuru Longoggy Aukot gets 27,311 votes that represent 0.18% of the valid votes. It does not get 25% of the votes in any County;
    • Japhet Kavinga Kaluyu gets 16,482 votes that represent 0.11% of the valid votes. It does not get 25% of the votes in any County;
    • Michael Wainaina Mwaura gets 13,257 that represent 0.09% of the valid votes. It does not get 25% of the votes in any County;
    • Shakhalaga Khwa Jirongo gets 11,705 votes that represent 0.08% of the valid votes. It does not get 25% of the votes in any County. [5]

In Nairobi County Odinga obtained the majority of votes with 51.04% against 48.45% of Kenyatta; In the Prisons County won Odinga with 54.15% of votes against 45.16% of Kenyatta; In the Diaspora County won Kenyatta with 52.88% of votes against 46.45% of Odinga.

Presidential results for Contea

For Raila Odinga this was the 4th presidential nomination, but he lost each time.

The best results were obtained in the counties inhabited predominantly by members of the same tribe of the two candidates: Kenyatta, a Kikuyu tribe, wins in Nyandarua County with 98.99% of votes against Odinga’s 0.8%, who belongs to Luo tribe, wins on Siaya County with 99.11% of votes against 0.67% of Kenyatta.

Not only presidential: Kenyans also voted to elect members of Parliament, members of the County Assemblies, Senators, Governors and Women’s Representatives.

The August 8th election day had begun erly for many Kenyans. The polling stations would remain open from 6am to 5pm, but many in Nairobi were queuing to await the opening of the polling stations before midnight.

Everything was done without too many troubles unless it is excluded that when so many polling stations were closing and to begin the counting of votes, Turkana County was about to start voting. The delay was due by the heavy rains that caused challenges to the Independent Electoral Commission in providing the ballot material in time [6]. Even in other places there have been delays, though not of this level. The voting exercise was however secured at all and the polling did not close until all the queues were cleared.

There has also been some police arrest for those who had tried to vote more than once in different polling stations, but it was some isolated case. There was also an accident in Kisumu County, where a 64-year-old man died for a collapse after voting.

The 13th election is over, and while Kenyatta calls Odinga to work together for the country, the Nasa Coalition protests and complains about electoral fraud. Wetangula during the voting day said that thei would not accept not credible elections [7] and later Odinga complained about the presence of fraud during the transmission of data, which would be altered in favor of Kenyatta, accusing the international observers led by John Kerry of not having helped the Kenyans to solve this dispute [8].

Meanwhile, protests for Kenyatta’s re-election broke out, and the count of deaths upgraded to Sunday, August 13 were 24 according to the KNHCR [9] including a 10-year-old girl hit while she was playing with other children. [10]

Everyone’s hope is that the 2007 election riots are just a sad memory and the protests that are shaking the country these days end without further casualties.

[1] Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

[2] To be proclaimed President, you have to meet two requirements: get 50% +1 of the votes and get at least 25% of the votes in at least 24 counties of the 47 in which Kenya is subdivided. There are also the Prisons County, that of prisoners and the Diaspora County of Kenyans who live in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

[3] Kenyatta voted at Mutomo Pri School, in the Makueni County, where Odinga won.

[4] Odinga voted at Kibera Pri School, in the Nairobi County, where he won.

[5] After other updates the valid votes are 15,166,968; those disputed 5,191; Those rejected 403,358 and those rejected by Presiding Officer but whose rejection has been questioned by a candidate or an agent 2,807.

[6] Citizen TV, https://citizentv.co.ke/news/polling-closes-countrywide-but-yet-to-start-in-parts-of-turkana-172521/.

[7] Standard, https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/elections2017/article/2001250701/wetangula-nasa-will-challenge-election-results-if-not-credible.

[8] Daily Nation, http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/Raila-Odinga-John-Kerry-election-observers/1064-4053284-12y5hqv/index.html.

[9] Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

[10] Daily Nation, http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/Death-chaos-police-protesters-clash/1064-4055228-v8gacf/index.html.


Kenya elections 2017


Jubilee Party and Nasa.

These are the two main antagonists for the presidency of the Republic of Kenya for 2017 elections.

The elections will be held shortly on August 8th and, as usual on such occasions, in the country there is great excitement looking for that day, both among candidates and among the population, after a campaign started on May 28th and closed on August 5th. So two days of silence before the vote.

The Jubilee Alliance Party was founded in 2016 on what was the Jubilee Coalition, a coalition born four years earlier in 2012, and which included these two parties: The National Alliance and United Republican Party. Uhuru Kenyatta was the flagbearer of the first while the second was flagbeared by William Ruto. These have then joined other 9 parties to form the Jubilee Alliance Party, which is so formed by 11 parties:

    • United Republican Party
    • Party of National Unity
    • United Democratic Forum
    • Ford People
    • Republican Congress
    • Grand National Union
    • Tip Tip
    • Unity Party of Kenya
    • New Ford Kenya
    • Alliance Party of Kenya
    • The National Alliance

But this is a party, not a coalition. The decision to merge into one party was a multilateral decision.

The Jubilee Party is the party of President-in-Office, Uhuru Kenyatta, while the deputy president candidate is William Ruto, Kenyatta’s ally since many years. The name of their electoral campaign around the country is UhuRuto 2017. Kenyatta to run for re-election has by his side the strength from the results obtained in these 4 years of presidency.

His manifesto obviously reminds voters of what has been done for the country over the last 4 years and what they are going to do in the next 5 years. It is a simple, concise manifesto that addresses three main macro themes, three pillars on which it bases his policy: transforming lives, transforming society, transforming the nation. Within these three pillars there are all the important areas of intervention for the Jubilee Party: from health to the fight against corruption [1], from education to tourism to country security, also problems such as the lack of decent housing and food and drinking water for the population.

From the party website you can download the manifesto.

The Nasa (National Super Alliance) on the other hand, is the coalition supporting the other most presidential candidate: Raila Odinga.

This coalition has 5 parties:

    • Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) of Raila Odinga,
    • Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya (WDM-K) of Kalonzo Musyoka (deputy president candidate),
    • Amani National Congress (ANC) of Musalia Mudavadi,
    • Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya (FORD-K) of Moses Wetangula, and
    • Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) of Isaac Ruto.

Their website is very appealing, unlike the one of Jubilee Party which is very messy, but judgments are reversed by examining their manifestos: the simple, concise and with many photos of that of Jubilee Party is contrasted with that of the Nasa (here is their manifesto), which I found much less accurate and with very rare data, but only with allegations of bankruptcy (as it is natural) to the government in charge, and proposals for improvement without indicating how and with what resources they will bring those improvements.

For the Nasa, the pillars that need to be addressed are six: Nation building, State building, Transforming governance, Realizing social and economic rights, creating jobs, eradicating poverty, and finally Regional and international Cooperation.

Specifically, the areas of intervention are the same as those of the Jubilee Party, but those of the Nasa emphasize the Constitution and the need to implement it, thus letting it be understood that the failings and failures of the government in office are attributed to the fact that they do not respect the existing Constitution.

The Nasa proposes itself as the Coalition of the Constitution.

There are also six other minor candidates to the presidency of the Republic of Kenya, bringing the number of candidates to eight, while five more were rejected because they did not meet the required requirements. In addition to Kenyatta and Odinga we have:

    • Mohamed Abduba Dida, candidate for The Alliance for Real Change (ARK),
    • John Ekuru Longoggy Akuot, candidate for Thirdway Alliance Kenya (TAK),
    • Shakhalaga Khwa Jirongo, candidate for United Democratic Party (UDP),
    • Japhet Kavinga Kaluyu, independent candidate,
    • Michael Wainaina Mwaura, independent candidate,
    • Joseph William Nthiga Nyagah, independent candidate. [2]

Another subject are the presidential debates that, broadcast on TV, help the population to better understand the candidate’s political programs. At the July 24th debate, that you can see here,


only Odinga was present, and he could talk about his policies for an hour and a half, but he also had to answer bitter questions. In the end he said he wanted to confront Kenyatta. Reactions to the non-presence of the president have been varied, and many have considered his behavior a lack of respect for the population, but Uhuru Kenyatta defended by stating that in his opinion the debate was a sham and that it would be a show, not a debate. Here you can find two reports on the subject with his statements:



On the same day, before the confrontation between Kenyatta and Odinga, there was another debate between the other six minor candidates, but not all of theme attended it.

An important issue to be mentioned is the security issue linked to the transparency of the elections: on Sunday, July 30, the dead body of Christopher Msando, the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) ICT Manager have been found. Msando had disappeared a few days earlier and the investigations revealed he was tortured and then strangled to death [3]. This has attracted the attention of US and UK embassies, and now there are doubts about the credibility of the elections that may not be transparent.

The day of the elections is almost here, and hopefully they first will be peaceful elections, but also honest and transparent. We can wish Kenya that after the count of the votes the winner will be who keep the promises made during the electoral campaign.

[1] The Corruption Perceptions Index (Cpi) measures the perception of corruption in a given country per year on risk operators and analysts. The value ranges from 0 (ubiquitous corruption) to 100 (no corruption). In 2016, Kenya has a value of 26 and it is positioned 145th out of 176 countries, while UK is at 10th place with a value of 81. Transparency International, https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016#table.

[2] More info on Africanews, http://www.africanews.com/2017/08/02/meet-the-eight-candidates-for-kenya-s-2017-presidential-elections/.

[3] http://nairobinews.nation.co.ke/news/revealed-chris-msando-met-death/.


Kenyan Politics – Election 2013


The original post is on AFFRICA website at this address: Dal Kenya: “Ce l’abbiamo fatta, elezioni senza violenze!”

    • 2013, the last elections

On March 9, 2013, after five days of scrutiny, breathlessness and waiting for something that was perceived in the air and was in the expectation of many Kenyans, the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission), the Commission that organize the elections in Kenya and that watch over their fairness and freedom, proclaims Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta as the fourth President of Kenya.

Uhuru Kenyatta

Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyatta, from Kikuyu tribe and son of the Father of the Nation and Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta, succeeds over Raila Omollo Odinga, from Luo tribe and Oginga Odinga’s son, another politician who has made history in Kenya during and after independence gained by Britain on December 12, 1963. The difference between the two candidates is about 800,000 votes (6,173,433 votes for Kenyatta, backed by the Jubilee Coalition, against the 5,340,546 votes for Odinga, backed by the CORD (Coalition For Reforms and Democracy), but more important is the surplus of just 0.3%, ie just 8.419 votes, compared to 50%, the threshold under which they would go to the ballot.

The other six candidates had to settle for crumbs, with only Musalia Mudavadi, of the Luhya tribe, who received about 4% of the votes, while the others stopped at less than 1%.

The turnout was very high in all the counties of Kenya, demonstrating a population that is involved in the political life of the country, so that, immediately after the proclamation, many fell into the streets to celebrate. Kenyatta and Odinga have set themselves absolutely in the counties of their competence, that is, those inhabited predominantly by the population belonging to their own tribe. For example in Murang’a County Kenyatta obtained 370,099 votes against the 9827 votes of Odinga, and this situation is completely overturned in Siaya County, where Kenyatta receives just 884 votes against Odinga’s 284,031 votes, and demonstrates that, despite so many proclamations, tribal membership still plays a very strong role. In Nairobi County, the struggle between the two candidates is unreserved, and Kenyatta wins for only 39,392 votes (640,296 against 600,904 votes).

Along with the President were also elected 47 Governors, 47 Senators and 47 Women Representatives in the Parliament of the Counties and 290 Members of the National Assembly. [40]

In general, there have been peaceful elections, except for a few clashes during the election day in Mombasa and Mandera, in the north-east of the country, and a few days before clashes occurred at Kilifi, a coastal town north of Mombasa [41]: everyone’s eyes were pointing to Kenya after the events that followed the 2007 elections, but the candidates kept the promises of peaceful elections to their people and to the Western countries, and the Kenyans followed the will of their candidates, and after the proclamation of the winner, the only protests, however peaceful, came from the defeated candidate, Odinga, who called for a new count of votes.

Kenyatta’s victory is perhaps a bit flawed by the International Criminal Tribunal’s inquiry hanging on him and his main ally, William Ruto, accused of crimes against humanity, still with regard to the disorder that followed the last election, and that have led the United States and Britain to provide reserves in relations with Kenya in case of Kenyatta’s victory [42].

But Kenya seems to be the quiet country he used to get us back to before 2007, and so many hopes are on Uhuru Kenyatta, who is now the youngest President of Kenya with his 55 years, and the first President son of a former President. [43]

[40] Sunday Nation, March 10, 2013.

[41] Online version of the daily newspaper La Stampa, LASTAMPA.it, http://www.lastampa.it/2013/03/04/esteri/kenya-scontri-per-le-elezioni-morti-wpJZq42ey2uXvZsrmev2NP/pagina.html.

[42] Rinascita, http://www.rinascita.eu/index.php?action=news&id=19620.

[43] Sunday Nation, March 10, 2013.


Kenyan Politics – The Kibaki era – 2


NOTE: Based on Fabrizio Cinus’s PhD thesis entitled “La questione di Mandera fra Kenya e Somalia”, A.A. 2009-2010, Faculty of Political Science, University of Cagliari.

=> Here is the first part of the article <=

Kenyans have perhaps learned a lesson, especially President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga, who have firmly stated that events like those following the elections in 2007 will never occur again. Thoughts are already addressed in the 2012 elections, to which the current president, aged by now, has declared that he is not going to attend. With this background the succession to the presidency is certain, but it has to be figured out if there will be even a change with regard to the leadership among the tribes. Now in any case the first problem that Kenyan politicians have to face is the implementation of the new Constitution, especially in the name of transparency and the fight against corruption, and the Kenyan Parliament seems entered an unstoppable vortex, where politicians who stained their reputation are been put under pressure and forced to resign as the aforementioned William Ruto, or as Moses Wetang’ula, Foreign Minister, involved in a scandal for having claimed to have purchased a lot in Japan for the construction of the Kenyan embassy while indeed that lot is been donated free of charge from Japan [24].

Corruption seems to be a practice from which Kenya can not really get rid of it. Plague already abundantly present during the Moi era, when the population, to get the most simple bureaucratic papers or to get that officers could perform services, was forced to organize harambee [25] within villages and churches for having to pay bribes to all the officers who handled their papers. An attempt to put an end to corruption took place in 2004 when, during the Kibaki era, there was a diplomatic incident with the Swedish Ambassador and with the British Ambassador Sir Edward Clay, who threatened to stop sending funds to the country if the government had not attempted to put an end to corruption. [26]

Yet, despite the calls from abroad, those from the government and the many warnings in every office (This office is a corruption free zone) that remind people that bribe and to take bribes it’s a malicious practice that damages Kenya, the problem does not seem to have stopped [27]. Moreover, it must be acknowledged that corruption is not only about Kenya but also to other African countries, and above all it does not concern only Africa but is present in all countries, whether they belong to the “South” or “North” of the World. In this regard, the Perception of Corruption Index (Cpi) developed by Transparency International can be examined. As Carbone reports, “Cpi is an index that measures the perception of corruption in a given country per year at risk operators and analysts, ranging from a maximum of 10 (no corruption perception) and a minimum of 0 (perception of ubiquitous corruption.) “. [28] Data from 2010 shows that Kenya, out of a total of 178 countries, stands at 154th place, with a Cpi of 2.1 and thus with a perceived corruption sufficiently high. From 2001 to 2010, Cpi’s measure has always been at these levels, so it can be assumed that few steps have been taken in the fight against corruption. At the bottom of the list in the 2010 data [29] there is Somalia with a Cpi of 1.1. It’s not surprising, according to the situation in that country, which among those in which this index is calculated is always in the last position. [30]

On August 27, 2010 at 10:27 am, from the Uhuru Park (Liberty Park) located in downtown Nairobi, President of Jamhuri ya Kenya (Republic of Kenya) Mwai Kibaki inaugurated Second Republic and thus relegated to history the First Republic of Kenya, which had operated for 47 years. The event was attended by various African leaders including Yowery Museveni, President of Uganda, Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania, Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, President of the Comoros and Omar al- Bashir, President of Sudan [31]; in front of Islamic and Christian religious representatives and in front of thousands of exultant people. [32] This event was possible following a referendum that saw the “yes” triumphs, favoring the change of the Constitution, with 67% of the consensus. The referendum, which concerned a constitutional proposal approved by Parliament on the first of April of the same year, was carried out on August 4, just three weeks before the announcement, and according to the results the “no” triumphed in only one province out of eight in which Kenya is subdivided. [33] A new constitution that clearly has not failed to stir up controversies because of the proposed changes, such as the Christian Church protests that concern two issues: on one hand the decision to move the time of the beginning of life from conception to that of the birth, which would in fact legalize abortion, which according to the new constitution is now allowed in case of life threatening to mother for reasons related to pregnancy, or if this is “permitted by any other written law” [34]; on the other, the protest is on the question of the recognition of Islamic civil courts [35]. Yet there are some important changes, some absolutely innovative for the country, such as equating the Swahili language to the English language and “promoting it” to an official language, so that even in the offices you can speak Kiswahili [36]; as well as not allowing the sale of land to foreigners, who now can only lease them for a period of 99 years (a ban that has already been circumvented through the use of nominee); while for the citizens a great novelty is the possibility for women to be the owners of lands; there was finally the introduction of dual citizenship. Some changes have been dictated by the clashes that took place during the last political elections in December 2007: at institutional level the novelties concern the decision to set up the Senate and to give power to a Prime Minister, but to set again the Country as a Presidential Republic from 2016, and then return to the abolition of Prime Minister’s office, which had just been introduced after the aforementioned elections. A special change, no meaningless, was the decision to remove from the local banknotes and coins, the Kenyan shilling, the face of former President Daniel T. arap Moi, who was also present at the promulgation of the Constitution. President Kibaki never put his face on local currency, apart the rare coin of 40 shillings coined in 2003 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of independence, and so now the only president featured in banknotes and coins is the first president, Jomo Kenyatta. Besides, Moi Day, a national holiday held on October 20th, was also canceled by the calendar, which was replaced this year for the first time by the Mashujaa Day, the “Hero Day” [37]. The motivation of these two last decisions lies in the fact that the Moi era is recognized as a period of dictatorship.

The 47-year-old Republic had seen only three presidents, Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and current President Mwai Kibaki. Kenya belonged to the typology of countries with an authoritarian system, with the presence of a single party regime, specifically Kenya’s African National Union (KANU) [38], and plebiscite, where the population was merely to ratify what was the choice of candidates made by the party. [39]

[24] Sunday Nation (Kenya), October 24, 2010.

[25] Swahili term that means gathering, an incitement to act together, also used in fundraisings.

[26] From an interview with author given by Francis Kirira, District Development Officer (DDO) of Laikipia, (District Development Councilor in Nanyuki City), August 2007.

[27] During the research work, the author personally witnessed corruption episodes involving police officers in a way that showed that the situation was already planned and repeated continuously. Yet the police body has recently had a salary increase of well over 20%. [A/N]

[28] G. CARBONE, op. cit., p. 84.

[29] A curiosity: Italy does not enjoy any good health as regards corruption, since if the Cpi was 5.3 in 2003, with a perception then halfway between the highest and the lowest levels, over the years worsened, to reach the level of 3.9 for 2010. www.transparency.org.

[30] www.transparency.org. Here those of 2010: http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results.

[31] President Al-Bashir’s presence has provoked harsh controversy between the political class and the population, trying to figure out who had brought the President of Sudan’s invitation, also because his name was not at the beginning among the personalities present. The reason is that three counts of genocide have been charged to the President of Sudan, five for crimes against humanity and two for war crimes, all linked to the disorder that plagues his country, especially in the Darfur region. Kenya, which should have been arrested him, being a member of the International Criminal Court, refused. Saturday Nation (Kenya), August 28, 2010; http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/29/kenya-omar-al-bashir-arrest-failure; http://www.npwj.org/content/31082010-NPWJ-News-Digest-international-criminal-justice.html.

[32] Saturday Nation (Kenya), August 28, 2010.

[33] Daily Nation (Kenya), August 5, 2010.

[34] Agenzia Fides, http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=34314&lan=ita, August 6, 2010.

[35] Avvenire, http://www.avvenire.it/GiornaleWEB2008/Templates/Articles/Article.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID=%7b6BB81740-1C83-4DA3-8F11-4EC822E0FD0D%7d&NRORIGINALURL=%2fCommenti%2fKenya_referendum_albanese_201008040725586970000%2ehtm&NRCACHEHINT=NoModifyGuest#, August 4, 2010.

[36] However, it should be noted that some people, especially among the elderly, can’t speak in English, but they can’t even speak in Swahili, being able to use only the language of their own tribe.

[37] Every Kenyan on this day can choose and celebrate a person he estimates, even though he is not famous or known. It has become a strictly personal recurrence.

[38] KANU, set up in 1960, aimed at joining all Africans in the struggle against the British to bring Kenya to become an African state. S. N. BOGONKO, Kenya 1945-1963. A study in African National Movements, Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi 1990, p. 245.

[39] G. CARBONE, L’Africa, Gli stati, la politica, i conflitti, Edizioni Il Mulino, Bologna 2005, pp. 81-82.


Kenyan Politics – The Kibaki era


NOTE: Based on Fabrizio Cinus’s PhD thesis entitled “La questione di Mandera fra Kenya e Somalia”, A.A. 2009-2010, Faculty of Political Science, University of Cagliari.

    • The Kibaki era (2002-2010)

After nearly 40 years of independence and an endemic tribal division that permeated the entire society, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) was born, with Emilio Mwai Kibaki, a member of the Kikuyu tribe, as leader. The coalition, formed by 15 parties, brought together many tribes, and in the 2002 elections it became the first party in the field winning the elections. KANU, then led by Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the first president, on that occasion managed to pick up only 31 percent of the votes. [13] The NARC’s experience did not last long because of internal disagreements inherent in tribal affiliation, which did not find a solution with the formation of the coalition, and on the other inherent in the separation of powers. [14]

Emilio Mwai Kibaki

Emilio Mwai Kibaki

The first referendum consultation in the history of Kenya since its independency was about the attempt of a Constitutional reform was put forward at the end of 2005. Some of the proposals were those that were also later reported in the referendum in 2010, but in that year the population voted “no”, and the proposed changes to the Constitution were rejected with 58 percent of votes. In order to facilitate citizens in voting, the answers were brought together with symbols that could easily be remembered by the population: the “yes” was identified with a banana while the “no” with an orange. The modification proposals were rejected not only by the majority of voters, but also by some parties within the ruling coalition, and this caused the coalition’s collapse and the majority’s loss in the government. [15]

Kibaki, in order to take measures in the run-up of the 2007 elections, formed his own party, the Party of National Unity (PNU), relying on the confidence of the Central Province characters, his place of origin, and also finding the alliance of Uhuru Kenyatta.

The December 2007 elections mark a special and tragic moment in Kenya’s history. The most influential parties were the PNU of the President Kibaki, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) led by Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement – Kenya (ODM-K) led by Kalonzo Musyoka. Even in this case it is possible to note, for those who were the developments of future events, the diversity of tribal belonging: Kibaki is a Kikuyu and Odinga is a Luo while Musyoka is a Kamba.

On December 27 of the same year, Kenyan citizens were called to the polls for the presidential, political and administrative elections. After four days of count, the Kenyan Electoral Commission (ECK) reappointed Kibaki to the Presidency of the Republic with 47 percent of the votes, that is about four and a half million consents, and “ranked second” Odinga with 44 per cent of votes and About four million and three hundred thousand consents. A minimum scrap of just 200,000 votes, due to a Kibaki overtaking in the last hours of the count. Odinga’s clear disappointment was also attributed to the fact that at provincial level the ODM won six provinces out of eight, which allowed him to obtain a clear majority in Parliament, 100 seats against 44 for the party of the President. [16] The tribal factor is clear from the data, as the two candidates have won by a landslide in their own provinces. [17] The accuses of electoral frauds were levelled immediately by the defeated competitor, in particular the fact that in some constituencies there were more votes than the number of registered voters.

A few months afterwards, it was found that both Kibaki and the Electoral Commission knew that clashes would break out after the election, as if Odinga had already prepared the uprising in even case of victory. A sign that the tension in the country was already high even before the elections can be cited the case of a parliamentary candidate hit by an arrow during a rally. [18]

Anyway the New Year brought in Kenya both Kibaki’s provisional proclamation to the Presidency [19] who, just resettled he banned the broadcast of television and radio broadcasts, both clashes that led the country to a step from the civil war, according to its definition reported by Carbone [20]: “… An armed conflict which sees on the one hand the authorities of a formally sovereign state and on the other non-stateless actors who oppose them, by making an organized use of violence, with the aim of modifying some aspect of the social, political or economic status quo … ” In fact, in some areas the protesters directly attacked state buildings, such as post offices. But these were also inter-ethnic or tribal clashes because the subjects involved were the Kikuyu and Luo tribes, the same protagonists and antagonists since the early years of independence. The Luo never managed to go to power despite being one of the largest tribes, and probably the awareness of having to win in order to improve the conditions of their own province has led to a strong resentment following the defeat. [21]

At the end of the clashes, the dead people were estimated around 1000 and displaced people around 500,000. President Kibaki and Raila Odinga subsequently reached an agreement with Kofi Annan’s UNO-mandated mediation to form a coalition government that, in addition to confirming Kibaki’s presidency, saw the establishment of the Prime Ministership, in the person of Raila Odinga, and those of his two deputies, Kenyatta and Mudavadi. Vice-President will be appointed Kalonzo Musyoka. [22]

Visiting an area of the slum of Korogocho, one of the most popular slum in Nairobi, it is still possible to see the separation point between the inhabited areas of Kikuyu and Luo, a border where the two tribal groups clashed during the riots. Around, after three years, there are still houses once inhabited but that now only appear as filthy flaming buildings. Along the city of Nanyuki, in the county of Laikipia East, in the province of Rift Valley, one of the refugee camps has been organized, now inhabited by displaced persons as a result of post-election clashes.

The International Criminal Court subsequently initiated an investigation to name the people who fought the clashes and find out who had been spotted with some crime during the attacks. The ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on December 15, 2010 finally disclosed the names of the six politicians accused of organizing post-election violence. Among them there are also prestigious figures, both from the government and the opposition: Uhuru Kenyatta, who is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in this government; William Ruto, who had already been forced to retire from Parliament due to charges while he was Minister of Education; The former chief of police Mohammed Hussein Ali; Francis Muthaura, who is the Head of Kenya’s Public Services; the Minister for Industrialization Henry Kosgey and the Radio Speaker Joshua Arap Sang. However, the President has stated that until the accusations won’t be proved, the Ministers are to be considered innocent, as they plead not guilty, and so will not demand resignation. [23]

[13] Ivi, p. 373.

[14] From an interview with the author by Francis Kirira, District Development Officer (DDO) of Laikipia, (Development Councilor in Nanyuki City), August 2007.

[15] Africa South of the Sahara 2010, p. 624.

[16] Initially, the outcome of the parliamentary elections had stopped with the allocation of 99 seats to the ODM and 43 to the PNU as the two constituencies were elected, Kilgoris, Rift Valley Province, and Wajir North, North Eastern Provinces. Elections were repeated a few months away and Kilgoris won the PNU while Wajir North won the ODM. Office of Government Spokesperson, Election Results 2007, www.communication.go.ke.

[17] http://www.communication.go.ke/elections/province.asp.

[18] Daily Nation (Kenya), July 18, 2008.

[19] The outcome of the elections was not altered by the investigations carried out by the Election Commission, whose President Samuel Kivuitu admitted the existence of errors in the counting of votes, but these being “only” 50,000, of which about 29,000 for the ODM-K, about 21,000 for the PNU and about 8,000 for the ODM, could not affect the gap between 200,000 votes initially existing between the party of the President and the Odinga party.

[20] G. CARBONE, op. cit., p. 93.

[21] B. BERNARDI, Nel nome d’Africa, Ed. Franco Angeli, Milano 2001.

[22] Africa South of the Sahara 2010, pp. 625-626.

[23] Agenzia Fides, http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=35248&lan=ita, December 16, 2010.


Kenyan politics – The Moi era


NOTE: Based on Fabrizio Cinus’s PhD thesis entitled “La questione di Mandera fra Kenya e Somalia”, A.A. 2009-2010, Faculty of Political Science, University of Cagliari.

  • The Moi era (1978-2002)

In 1978, Kenya’s first president died, and his vice-president Daniel Toroitich arap Moi of the Kalenjin tribe of the Rift Valley province succeeded him, opening a dictatorship that brought terror between the Kenyans, but that gave the impetus for the development of an armed opposition to the regime.

Daniel arap Moi

Daniel arap Moi

The movement took the name Saba Saba, a term that in Swahili means “Seven Seven” and refers to the day and month, when it was possible to unleash the attacks [9]. In 1999, just on the seventh day of July, you could see the frenzy in the streets of Nairobi and the fear of people who did not know if and when something could happen and they were trying not to stand in one place for too long.

Furthermore, in 1982 there was a somewhat mischievous coup attempt during which the aviation took control of the radio station, the post office and the airport. The population, instead of supporting the coup, began looting the shops, and only police intervention brought the situation to normal. [10] But this coup allowed the government Moi to intensify and justify the repression already in place: “short” justice systems were introduced, waves of arrests and death sentences among air force and students and detentions without trial. [11]

The coup, as learned from an anonymous testimony, was led by Raila Odinga, the son of Oginga, and, continues the witness, it seems that from that moment onwards Moi was subject to the will of then Police Chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, thus making Kenya a sort of camouflaged military regime.

The failed coup attempt may perhaps be the result of Moi’s decision to make KANU a de jure party since 1982. The elections of the 1990s still saw the success of KANU and Moi, facilitated by a not cohering opposition, but the political arena after the 1997 elections became crucial to people and groups and tribes who wanted to redeem themselves and try to take advantage of their position in case of victory in subsequent elections, as the President had been forced to accept a constitutional amendment that force him to not take part to run for 2002 elections. [12] The change of presidency, after more than twenty years of regime was now certain. Politicians were only needing to try to gain more reputation and more supporters than their opponents.

[9] For example, it could be April 4, June 6, July 7, and so on.

[10] V. KHAPOYA, “Moi and beyond: Towards Peaceful Succession in Kenya?”, in Third World Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 1, Succession in the South (Jan., 1988), published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd., p. 57.

[11] “Repression Intensifies in Kenya: The Need for Solidarity”, in Review of African Political Economy, No. 25, (Sep. – Dec. 1982), published by Taylor & Francis, Ltd., p. 113.

[12] A. M. GENTILI, op. cit., p. 372.


Kenyan Politics – The Kenyatta era


NOTE: Based on Fabrizio Cinus’s PhD thesis entitled “La questione di Mandera fra Kenya e Somalia”, A.A. 2009-2010, Faculty of Political Science, University of Cagliari.

    • The Kenyatta era (1963-1978)

Mzee [1] Jomo Kenyatta was the first president of the Republic of Kenya, celebrated as “Father of the Nation” for the role he played in the struggle against the British in favor of independence.

Jomo Kenyatta

Jomo Kenyatta

The country, known at that time as British East Africa, was constituted a protectorate in 1895 and England made it a colony of population. The occupation of lands by settlers triggered resistance in 1914, but it was still six years before the Kenyans organized themselves with political activities. The KAU (Kenya African Union) was founded in 1944 and three years its leadership passed to Jomo Kenyatta, a member of the Kikuyu tribe, as well as most of the members of the movement. [2]

In 1950 a movement was formed, a political-religious sect of opposition to the British called Mau Mau, and two years later a revolt broke out and for four years the Kikuyu and other tribes struggled fiercely against the colonizers and those Africans who were supporting them. The British tried to react and proclaimed the state of emergency, which lasted eight years and was suspended only in the 1960. Many characters who will make the history of Kenya were captured and locked in concentration camps, including Kenyatta, sentenced to seven years of imprisonment and confined to the prison of Kapenguria, in the West of the country. From that moment on, the British realized that they had to give something to the Kenyans and began to plan the country’s transition to independence. [3]

In the same year 1960, a provisional Constitution was promulgated, political parties were legalized, and a large majority of the legislature was granted to the indigenous people. In May 1963, the KAU, renamed KANU, that was aiming for a unified State, won the election, and in June Kenyatta, party president, was appointed Prime Minister. The rival party was the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), set up in 1960, with Ronald Ngala (Giriama tribe) as president, and Muliro (Luhya tribe) as vice-president. The party aimed for a Federal State. [4]

On December 12, 1963, independence was proclaimed and exactly one year later the country was declared a Republic, with Kenyatta president. [5]

The years of government of the “Father of the Nation” were characterized by authoritarianism, as usually was for all African leaders, and Kenyatta falls in the type created by Jackson and Rosberg in the figure of the dictator as “Prince” like Senghor In Senegal, Kaunda in Zambia and Tubman and Tolbert in Liberia, that is to say, those heads of state who managed to manipulate their entourage and their clients, allowing other oligarchs to govern, but at the same time managed to reserve to themselves a role that was super partes. [6]

Within KANU, disagreements among the most important members made themselves heard soon, in fact Tom Mboya came to the confrontation with Oginga Odinga, the first one of Catholic education, the second one of Marxist formation. This led Odinga to abandon KANU and to form in 1966 a new party, the Kenya Popular Union (KPU), the first opposition party, with which he sought to bring Kenya to countries such as the USSR and China and detach it from Capitalist countries such as England [7]. However, the opposition party received a follow-up only among the members of the Odinga tribe, the Luo. In 1969, Tom Mboya was killed in the streets of Nairobi, Odinga was accused by Kenyatta of being the killer of the murder and for this reason he was imprisoned in jail. [8]

[1] Word that means “senior”, used here as an appellative sign of respect.

[2] Africa South of the Sahara 2010, p. 622.

[3] R. B. EDGERTON, Mau Mau. An African Crucible, I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, London 1990.

[4] S. N. BOGONKO, op. cit., pp. 248-249.

[5] Africa South of the Sahara 2010, p. 623.

[6] G. CARBONE, op. cit., pp. 61-62.

[7] Kenyatta was defined by the Economist as “our man in Kenya“. Citato da A. M. GENTILI, Il leone e il cacciatore. Storia dell’Africa sub-sahariana, Editore Carocci, Roma 2008, p. 369.

[8] G. ARNOLD, Modern Kenya, Ed. Longman Group Ltd., London 1981, p. 78.