Tensions and reversals in democratic transitions: The Kenya 2007 general elections

The 2007 General Elections was a watershed in Kenya's post colonial history. It is an event that continues to attract scholarly attention within Kenya and beyond. Indeed, the scholarly attention that this has received so far is as passionately and highly contested as the 2007 presidential elections. A new book, which is no exception and also the latest entrant into this fray: 'Tensions and Reversals in Democratic Transition: The kenya 2007 General Elections' was launched on July 2010. 

'Tensions and Reversals in Democratic Transitions: The Kenya 2007 General Elections' is a joint publication of the Society for International Development (East Africa) and the Institute of Development Studies (University of Nairobi). 

The book offers new perspectives on Kenya's democratic gains and gaps. It contextualizes various outcomes of the 2007 General Elections - that is, how religion, ethnicity, public policies, and markets have shaped political identities, party politics and conflicts in post-colonial Kenya. It also examines how Kenyans used new media to construct political divisions, identities and borders during the 2007 General Elections. In a sense, the book examines the extent to which these processes account for Kenyans voting patterns and the geographies of hate, discrimination and violence that characterized the 2007 General Elections, especially after the disputed presidential elections. Moreover, the book examines the political economy of who funds Kenya's electoral campaign platforms; the securitization of politics and the politicization of state security as well as the history, politics and science of opinion polling in Kenya. It revisits the contentious 2007 presidential elections: was it rigged? If so, to what extent? Lastly, it examines the constitutional politics, impact and significance of the Kofi Annan's mediation process for Kenya. Broadly, stated the book examines the following themes:

  • Political parties, identities and elections: the contests of identities in Kenyan politics: ethnicity, gender and religious political identities;
  • The geopolitics of development and elections: revealed Kenyan voting patterns, and politics of development and parliamentary elections or re-elections;
  • Soft power in electoral politics: text messages, popular culture, e-mails, the identity constructions, the dirty duty of border maintenance;
  • Politics of numbers: opinion polls and a forensic audit of the 2007 presidential results;
  • The political economy of violence: militia groups, regime security and ethnic recruitment, deployment of state security organs;
  • Gender and 2007 elections: a scoreless affirmative action, women and Rift Valley's politics and;
  • The constitutional politics of Kenya's post-election mediation process: setting the reform agenda, building new reform constituencies and redressing the pathologies of Kenya's post-colonial state.

In a word, this new publication brings new perspectives, evidence, and theoretical frameworks to bear upon various aspects of Kenya's post-colonial history, especially after the re-introduction of multiparty politics, which illuminates Kenya's march to the brink in 2007/2008. It is a multi-disciplinary reader, with contributions from a broad cross-section of Kenyan academics and which is written in various traditions of knowledge production. It is one more publication that will inform discourses on Kenya's politics. It is grist to the academics or intelligentsia's mill.

The Book was launched on 26 July 2010 at the Nairobi Serena Hotel. For further information on this publication, please  contact the SID Secretariat at: info(at)sidint.org