Following Kenya’s August 8 presidential election, which resulted in incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta claiming a majority of the vote, the country’s supreme court declared the election invalid. Kenya’s highest court now also alleges the vote was “infiltrated and compromised,” although others challenge that assertion. Causes for the nullified vote aside, it is increasingly clear that Kenya’s supreme court has put the election commission, and in turn the country’s political institutions, on trial of sorts. International election observers have also been subject to criticism and scrutiny, given their positive preliminary reviews of the August 8 polls. With a tentative re-run of the election now scheduled for October 26, debates over the judiciary’s proper role in politics, how state security forces manage dissent and protest, as well as the role of Kenyan media in the crisis are intense.
On October 2, the Africa Security Initiative of the Foreign Policy program at Brookings hosted an event focused on Kenya’s ongoing electoral crisis. Panelists included Matt Carotenuto of St. Lawrence University, Lauren Ploch Blanchard from Congressional Research Service, and John Tomaszewski of the International Republican Institute. Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings senior fellow, moderated the discussion.
ModeratorMichael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research - Foreign Policy, Director - Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy
PanelistMatthew Carotenuto Professor of History and incoming Associate Dean of International and Intercultural Studies - St. Lawrence University