from Africa in Transition

Podcast: The Poor State of Kenyan Politics

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition flanked by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) address a news conference after meeting at the Harambee house office in Nairobi, Kenya March 9, 2018. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

April 13, 2018

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition flanked by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) address a news conference after meeting at the Harambee house office in Nairobi, Kenya March 9, 2018. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
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More on:

Kenya

Politics and Government

Uhuru Kenyatta

Race and Ethnicity

Sub-Saharan Africa

In this episode of Africa in Transition, I speak with Vincent Makori, host of Africa 54, Voice of America's daily African news show. We discuss the current state of Kenya's politics, focusing on Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, and their families' political relationship dating back to Kenyan independence. We discuss the role that ethnicity plays in Kenyan politics, the role Cambridge Analytica played in most recent election cycle, and the apparent deterioration of democratic norms and the rule of law. According to Vincent, ethnic tensions in Kenya only manifest during election season because they are drummed up (with the help of certain foreign data firms) by politicians seeking short-term electoral advantage. To that end, political parties are primarily constructed around transient alliances defined by ethnicity rather than significant policy differences, and they change from election cycle to election cycle. Vincent argues that the personal and political rivalry between the two leading candidates, Kenyatta and Odinga, who are Kikuyu and Luo, respectively, has more to do with election-related violence than actual, historical grievances between different ethnic groups.

You can listen to my conversation with Vincent here.

More on:

Kenya

Politics and Government

Uhuru Kenyatta

Race and Ethnicity

Sub-Saharan Africa

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