Kenya’s 2013 Elections: Technology Is Not Democracy

Issue Date July 2013
Volume 24
Issue 3
Page Numbers 156-165
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The 2013 elections were Kenya’s fifth since the country returned to multiparty politics and the direct election of its president in 1992. Three of the preceding four elections were marked by violence. But in only one—the 2007 presidential contest—was the violence triggered by deep dissatisfaction with the electoral process and the electoral commission that administered the balloting. In an effort to avoid repeating the 2007 electoral debacle, Kenya’s election commission turned to technology, but its high-tech voter-registration and vote-count processes fell short. Its experience has important lessons both for emerging democracies and for international donors.

About the Author

Joel D. Barkan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Iowa and nonresident senior associate with the Africa program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is the author of the 2011 CSIS report “Kenya: Assessing Risks to Stability.”

View all work by Joel D. Barkan