Free, fair and credible? An assessment of Kenya 2017 Election

Periodic, free, fair, and credible elections are one of the undisputed principles
of liberal democracy. Kenya embraced multiparty democracy at independence
in 1963 and has since used periodic elections as a means of selecting leaders to
office. Focusing on Kenya’s national election held on 8 August 2017, this paper
evaluates the fundamental requirements for a free, fair, and credible election. To
this end, the paper assesses Kenya’s electoral legal framework and its application
during the 2017 national elections. In addition, the paper uses primary data by
Afrobarometer to explore public opinion on the performance of the Independent
Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), political parties, and the media
towards free, fair, and credible elections. This study finds that despite some
institutional challenges, Kenya’s 2017 national elections were conducted
under a comprehensive electoral legal framework and met the threshold of free,
fair, and credible as affirmed by the citizenry through Afrobarometer’s public
opinion survey. The positive assessment of universally accepted electoral practice
indicators by most of the people affirms that, notable challenges notwithstanding,
Kenya’s 2017 national elections were free, fair, and credible, thus endorsing the
legitimacy and authority of elected leaders. This argument is cognisant of the
election outcome as a fundamental factor in shaping public perception of freeness
and fairness in the electoral process.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol21 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa