How Is Kenya’s Election Today

The significance of this election transcends Kenya and the Horn of Africa. It has implications for the European Union as well. The EU is one of Kenya’s major trading partners and has supported its democratization process by backing civil society and key institutions such as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the judiciary. The election is a step forward, but the EU will need to invest in a stronger partnership in the coming years in a country that it increasingly sees as an anchor state in the Horn of Africa.

How Is Kenya’s Election Today

The Constitution of Kenya requires that a general election of members of parliament be held on the second Tuesday of August every fifth year, which meant that the general election was scheduled for 9 August 2022. If Kenya is at war, the election can be delayed if a resolution is passed in each House of Parliament by at least two-thirds of all the members of the House. Such a resolution can delay the election by up to six months, and may be passed multiple times provided that the delays do not cumulatively exceed 12 months.

The Constitution requires that a presidential election take place at the same time as the general election. In the unlikely event that prior to the next general election the position of president falls vacant and the office of deputy president is also vacant (who otherwise would assume the office of the president), a presidential election could be held at an earlier date. According to the Constitution in such circumstances, an election needs to be held within sixty days after the vacancy arose in the office of President.

Electoral system

The President of Kenya is elected using a modified version of the two-round system: to win in the first round, a candidate must receive over 50% of the vote nationally and 25% of the vote in at least 24 of Kenya’s 47 counties. If not, a second round is held between the top two candidates, in which the candidate with the most votes wins.

The Parliament of Kenya consists of two houses: the Senate (upper house) and the National Assembly (lower house), both being fully renewed for five years terms. Those elected in 2022 will form the 13th Parliament of Kenya.

The National Assembly has 350 members, of which 290 are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting. Of the remaining 60, 47 are reserved for women and are elected from single-member constituencies based on the 47 counties, also using the first-past-the-post system. The remaining 13 seats include 12 nominated by political parties based on their number of seats and a Speaker, elected by the assembly from outside of it as an ex officio member. The nominated members are reserved for youths, Persons with Disability and workers.

The 68 members of the Senate are elected by four methods; 47 are elected in single-member constituencies based on the counties by first-past-the-post voting. Parties are then assigned a share of 16 seats for women, two for youth and two for persons with Disability based on their seat share. A speaker is also elected as an ex-official member.

Presidential candidates

Only four presidential aspirants and their running mates from parties were cleared. Walter Mong’are’s nomination to run for the presidency was revoked after it emerged his degree was not from a recognized university as required by law. The final list of presidential candidates was;

  • David Waihiga Mwaure, leader of the Agano Party
  • Raila Odinga, the former Prime Minister of Kenya (2008–2013) and leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, under Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance. Presidential candidate in 1997, as well as the runners-up in 2007, 2013, and 2017.
  • William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya (2013–2022) and leader of the United Democratic Alliance, under the Kenya Kwanza Alliance party
  • George Wajackoyah, leader of the Roots Party Kenya