‘I do not know who won the elections’: How Not to Conduct Elections and Kenya’s Democratic Reversals


  • Westen K. Shilaho University of Johannesburg




Kenya, elections, violence, reform, incumbency, impunity, ethnicity mismanagement


The role of election management bodies (EMBs) in consolidation of democracy, peace and stability in Africa cannot be overemphasised. Kenya’s electoral bodies have struggled to assert their autonomy from the executive, a prerequisite for credible elections, since the advent of multiparty politics in 1991. The violently disputed presidential elections in 2007 were partly triggered by a partisan and politicised electoral body. The Chairman of the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) controversially declared the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, winner, igniting unprecedented ethnic violence. In the midst of the crisis, he explosively confessed that he did not know who won the elections. The 2013 elections were meant to restore Kenyans’ confidence in elections. However, Raila Odinga, the controversial presidential loser in 2007, once again accused the electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), of electoral fraud in favour of Uhuru Kenyatta. Consequently, the opposition called for the disbandment of the IEBC. Are electoral bodies per se the cause of perennial disputed elections in Kenya?


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How to Cite

Shilaho, Westen K. 2014. “‘I Do Not Know Who Won the elections’: How Not to Conduct Elections and Kenya’s Democratic Reversals”. Politeia 33 (3):44-67. https://doi.org/10.25159/0256-8845/3274.