Kenya: Third Time Lucky?

Issue Date July 2003
Volume 14
Issue 3
Page Numbers 145-158
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In December 2002, the long-ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) lost massively to a united opposition bringing together 15 parties bound in an electoral pact. This outcome ended one of Africa’s most intransigent semi-authoritarian regimes and induced great optimism in Kenya and elsewhere for fundamental reform. This paper analyzes several structural and strategic factors that combined to produce opposition unity, the lack of which was seen as the reason behind the popular opposition losing in two previous elections. It also points to lessons from historical and comparative experiences that militate against the high optimism for fundamental change following such breakthroughs.

About the Author

Stephen N. Ndegwa is associate professor of government and directs the Program on Civil Society and Governance in Africa at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is editor of A Decade of Democracy in Africa (2001) and has published widely on African and Kenyan politics.

View all work by Stephen N. Ndegwa