The political landscape of any country influences every other economic sector of that country. In Kenya, for instance, elections are carried out every five years. Around that period, international travel declines, the shilling becomes volatile, and business slows down. Researching how to better the political situation and seek solutions for a stronger Kenya is the only way to go. In late 2007 and early 2008, Kenya faced its darkest political hour in history when disputes between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga fueled violence across the country that killed over a thousand people and injured many more. Thousands were displaced, and property was destroyed. Kenya has come a long way since then. However, much more still has to be done.
It’s estimated that Kenya’s population could reach 85 million people by 2050. Already, persons under 18 are the majority in Kenya. In less than two decades, most of these people will be registered voters and will influence Kenya politics. Kenya’s politics is slowly shifting from tribal politics to issue bassed politics. The youth are the greatest champions of this change.
This year has also brought in a new normal with COVID-19 changing how we live and interact. The political landscape has also been affected. In Kenya, large gatherings have been banned to combat the spread of the virus, meaning, political rallies and other political function cannot take place.
About Horizon East Africa
Horizon East Africa is a research project dedicated to exploring the trends that are likely to shape the future in East Africa. It aims to contribute to the conversation about what may lie on the horizon so that governments, donors, firms and citizens can take the action needed now to better mitigate looming risks and most effectively grasp the opportunities to come.
Horizon EA synthesises global, regional and country-level data and research, and complement this with our own targeted intelligence-gathering from strong networks in East Africa.
This first Horizon East Africa report (compiled in 2019) looked at regional trends, while this second series provides more in-depth analysis into the key trends likely to shape the future of Kenya, considering the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s prospects for economic transformation moving forward.
Horizon reports aim to trigger debate and discussion. Horizon EA welcomes conversations with others about this report’s content — including about the implications of its findings and areas that need further research.
Table of Contents: Politics – Managing risks and opportunities in a fast-changing landscape
PART A: UNDERLYING TRENDS
Over the long-term, young people may inspire a shift to issue-based politics in Kenya
While political affiliations are changing, the election in 2022 is expected to be fought along traditional lines Over the long-term, millennial activists – enabled by digital media – may encourage a shift to issue-based politics
Devolution must overcome numerous challenges to deliver development over the medium- and long-term
Devolution has the potential to positively impact Kenya’s politics and developmental trajectory.
Realising the potential of devolution will require addressing issues of corruption and capacity at the county-level while ensuring promised resources are transferred to local government.
PART B: IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON POLITICS IN KENYA
COVID-19 has highlighted the need for an effective working relationship between national governments and counties and cast a spotlight on corruption
PART C: CONCLUSION
What might a growing youth population and a greater focus on devolution mean for economic transformation?
Shifting demographics may alter Kenya’s political landscape and open up opportunities for dialogue on broad-based economic growth, but this will not be straightforward
Devolution has opened up some ‘green shoots’ of effective economic governance. However, the prospects for county governments to become engines for Kenya’s economic transformation are mixed.
Read the chapter by visiting the Horizon East Africa website: Click here