#KenyaDecides: All you need to know about the upcoming Kenyan elections


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What to know about Kenya’s General Election

Kenyans are gearing up for the general elections scheduled to take place on 8 August.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will be seeking a second and final mandate, while his main challenger Raila Odinga will be hoping to get a better result that the 2013 vote that saw him lose to the incumbent.

The two are considered to be the most probable winners in the election that has attracted a total of eight presidential candidates.

The other aspirants are; Cyrus Jirongo, Abduba Dida, Japeth Kavinga, Joseph Nyaga, Michael Wainaina and Ekuru Aukot. 

Ahead of that poll, here is what you need to know;


The Numbers

The East African nation has a population of about 46 million people, with the number of registered voters standing at just over 19.6 million.

The 2013 election saw a voter turnout of 86%, one of the highest ever recorded in the country’s electoral process.

President Uhuru Kenyatta emerged victorious, defeating Raila Odinga by 6.2 to 5.3 million votes (50.07% to 43.6%) thus avoiding a runoff.

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The Election

The president of Kenya is elected through a two-round system. For a candidate to win in the first round, they are required to obtain a 50% + 1 votes, as well as 25% of the votes in at least 24 of the 47 counties.

290 members will be elected into parliament in the country’s 290 constituencies, with an additional 47 members elected as women representatives.

Also, voters will elect governors and senators for the 47 counties, though the participating parties will be allocated slots to nominate additional senators.


Will Kenya have fifth president?

Should Uhuru Kenyatta win the August vote, Kenya will have to wait longer to get a fifth president. If he loses however, the country will have a fifth president.

Notably, Uhuru is the son of the East African nation’s first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta who ruled for 15 years, first as Prime Minister then as President.

Kenya’s second president was Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, who took over after the death of Mzee Kenyatta and ruled for 24 years.

The third president was Mwai Kibaki who succeeded Moi and ruled until 2013. After finishing his second mandate, Kibaki was succeeded by incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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Second time face-off for Uhuru and Raila

President Uhuru Kenyatta will be running for the presidency for a third time while his main challenger Raila Odinga will be running for a fourth time.

While Uhuru was successful in his 2013 bid, Raila is yet to taste victory in the presidential vote, coming closest in 2007, when he and many observers maintained that he secured the most votes even as Kibaki was declared the winner.

The two candidates will be vying against each other for a second time, though between them, they have contested for the presidency seven times.


Political Dynasties

Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger Raila Odinga come from huge political dynasties in Kenya.

Uhuru is the son of the nation’s first president – Mzee Jomo Kenyatta – while Raila is the son to the first vice president – Oginga Odinga.

Though they are now on opposing sides, the two leaders have in the past been on the same political side. In 2001 for instance, they were both in the then ruling KANU party as cabinet ministers. The two also teamed up in 2005 to oppose a draft referendum fronted by the government.

Through Uhuru and Raila, the two dynasties have kept relevant in Kenya’s political spheres through the years, and there is talk that the two are already lining up their children to take over from them.


Importance of ethnicity in the Election

Kenya’s 46 million people are multi-ethnic, an aspect that has always been exploited by the country’s politicians.

Tribal politics have always thrived in the East African country, with parties often formed on that basis.

According to pollsters, there is little difference in the coming election. According to the latest figures, President Uhuru Kenyatta enjoys massive support in his home Central province and Rift Valley Province where his deputy hails from. His main challenger Raila Oding on the other hand has great support from his home Nyanza Province as well as the neighbouring Western Province where two of his political allies and NASA coalition co-leaders hail from.


No woman aspirant for the top job

The August 8 election has attracted eight presidential aspirants, all male. While women representation in politic is on the upward trend in Kenya, the 2017 vote will not have a woman’s name on the presidential ballot.

In 2013, veteran politician Martha Karua vied for the presidency, but only managed to garner 43,881 votes, accounting for 0.36% of the total votes cast.

This year however, Karua has opted to go for Kirinyaga County’s gubernatorial seat, aiming to become the country’s first elected female governor.

In the gubernatorial, Senatorial, constituency and ward politics, hundreds of women across the country are battling it out with their male counterparts to win seats in the August election.


First time voters

The Makonde people of Kenya, originally from southeast Tanzania and northern Mozambique, will have a chance to participate in Kenyan politics for the first time ever.

Having lived in Kenya for years without formal recognition as Kenya citizens, President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2016 ordered that the group be issued with Kenyan identity cards, enabling them to take part in the upcoming election.




After the August 8 vote, the constitution requires that the President-elect be sworn-in in public, before the Chief Justice, or, in the absence of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice.

The law requires the President-elect to be sworn in on the first Tuesday following;

(a) the fourteenth day after the date of the declaration of the result of the presidential election, if no petition has been filed.

(b) the seventh day following the date on which the court renders a decision declaring the election to be valid, if any petition has been filed.


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