Kenya goes to the polls on 9 August to elect a new president and national lawmakers, as well as the governors and assemblies of its 47 counties. Both the result and conduct hold far-reaching consequences for Kenya’s own political trajectory and beyond its borders.
Past elections have seen procedural controversy or been beset by instability, having seen identity-based divisions amplified by frontline politics. Kenya’s broader status in the region and globally – as an economic hub and an influential diplomatic actor in an unsettled neighbourhood – will further increase external scrutiny of the polls.
While much pre-election emphasis will centre on the shifting allegiances and rival coalitions of major political figures and their core support bases, wider challenges persist. Foremost among these is the faltering registration of newly eligible voters, which has fallen dramatically below anticipated targets. It also points to questions over the political apathy of Kenya’s youthful population, amidst lasting concerns around corruption, unemployment, debt management and the administration of past elections.
This roundtable event seeks to provide a platform for dialogue and informed debate among civil society representatives, academics and policymakers on issues relating to the preparations for and participation in the August elections, highlighting priority issues that may be overlooked amid political debate. These include the status of voter registration, the engagement of marginalized groups, the roles of civil society organizations and the media, and the impact and drivers of voter apathy.
This event is the third in a series hosted by the Chatham House Africa Programme examining Kenya’s 2022 elections and political developments. This roundtable is held in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.