American vs Kenyan Election

Posted on March 12, 2013


A few differences we have observed between the elections we have witnessed in the US and what we have just seen here.

America:There are very clearly two real potential candidates during the general election.

Kenya: Had 5 (though it did turn out to be basically a two horse race)


A: We accuse our candidates of being crooks.

K:One electoral ticket Pres and vise pres are indited at the Hague for crimes against humanity and are set to face trial later this year. (P.S. They won the election, often using their indictment to bolster support: “Poor us, foreign meddlers are accusing us of something we didn’t do”)


A: Presidential debates center around issues, and candidates give vague promises that you can’t really tell if they mean or they can actually pull through on.

K: Candidates give outrageous claims (Clean drinking water and electricity for all! And I will end poverty!) Which no one actually believes and which they have no intention on coming through on.


A: Spirited political banter includes doubting your sanity and salvation should you vote for the other side.

K: Spirited Political banter could end with someone getting a machete and coming after you. (Truly heard this story)


A: Long line at voting center =1.5 hrs

K: Average voting line =4-6 hrs


A: Political rally are an experience of participating in government. Bring your kids, your elderly and have a good time.

K: Political rallies can turn in a moment violent; avoid if you know what is good for you.


A: As voting day nears people are excited and anticipatory, daily life continues as always,  you go to work, sneak out on your lunch break to vote and know before you go to bed you will have a president elect.

K: Voting day approaches, hot areas have beefed up police and military presence, a police helicopter flies over our neighborhood at regular intervals, at night with a powerful spot light. Voting day is declared a national holiday so that people can actually vote. Other than voting the city is a ghost town, nothing is open and no one is going anywhere.


A: By midnight your favorite media outlet has called the election for one candidate based on exit polling, providing advanced graphics and analysis, and the other candidate is conceding the election an pledging to support the president elect.

K: Voting happened Monday.Throughout the week, various news stations have their camera’s pointed to a computer screen showing the votes tallying up. On Saturday the official results were out. Loser keeps their promise not to take their supporters to the streets, but is clear that he will contest the voting results in court.

In 2007 the people of Kenya (probably rightly so) believed the results of the election had been tampered with. Since then a new constitution has been voted in including new rules about elections. This is the first test of that system. So far the process has been peaceful. Many people all over are praying for peace. Please continue to join us in that, even now that a new president has been chosen.