The Politics of Transition in Kenya: FROM KANU To NARC.
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The run-up to the 2002 General Elections in Kenya was of great significance to the country and the region at large. For the first time since independence in 1963, the country faced an election that would be held under an incumbent who was by law barred from contesting, but whose entrenched position in the structure of power cast a powerful shadow over the outcome of the elections. In spite of the prevailing popular mood for change, the elections looked set to end the predictable and controversial way, with the ruling party slated to use the advantages of incumbency to cling to power. The motley array of contesting parties, riddled with ethnicity and leadership wrangles, looked set to suffer defeat yet again. In a new and sudden turn of events, the run-up to the elections witnessed concerted efforts at oppo-sition unity. Through brilliant statesmanship, brinkmanship and some hard behind-the-scenes bargaining, the major contenders coalesced into an unstoppable juggernaut under the NARC umbrella. It was this belated opposition unity that was to hand the ruling party – KANU – its first defeat since its founding in 1960. This book, published in 2003, through analyses by diverse scholars and two practitioners, reflects on this peaceful transition. It discusses one of the rare cases of peaceful transfer of power that has been witnessed in Africa, and draws some valuable lessons for the country and other developing countries as well. The Politics of Transition in Kenya: From KANU to NARC is an essential reading for all those who seek to understand the transition, its effects and implications. It provides a timely synthesis of the core issues involved in the politics of transition.
Henrich Boll Foundation Nairobi, KenyaDepartment of Political Science, University of Nairobi