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Kenya's election will pit ‘princes’ against ‘hustlers’

Friday, July 16, 2021


In June, President Uhuru Kenyatta reportedly told opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders that he would back one of them as his successor. Although there is controversy over exactly what Kenyatta said, it has been interpreted as a snub to ruling Jubilee Party leaders -- in particular, Deputy President William Ruto, whom Kenyatta had previously promised to back in 2022.


  • The Ruto campaign’s efforts to curb dependence on regional ‘big men’ may reduce defection risks but also weaken its mobilisation capacities.
  • Divisive language will increase the prospect of political instability and violence when the campaigns begin in earnest.
  • Political uncertainty will likely undermine investment and result in an economic slowdown around the election.
  • The efforts of candidates to curry favour with regional powers may strain Kenyan relations within East Africa.

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