In 1994, with help from The Carter Center and its partners, Kenya became one of the first endemic countries to halt transmission of Guinea worm disease. The partnership forged for better health continued through the Center's observation of Kenyan elections.
Carter Center observers found problems with the Kenya electoral commission's use of technology and tabulation of final election results in March 2013 but determined the results reflected the will of voters.
A 60-person Carter Center delegation found that despite serious shortcomings in Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's management of technology and tabulation of final election results, results from the March 4, 2013, presidential and parliamentary election reflected the will of voters. The Center launched its election observation mission to Kenya in January 2013 by deploying teams of long-term observers to assess pre-election preparations, as well as legal and political developments.
Breaking a 34-year political hold by the ruling party in Kenya, a former ally of the longtime president won the presidency in a milestone election that The Carter Center observed to be open and competitive despite some irregularities.
Mwai Kibaki, a former finance minister, was elected to succeed President Daniel arap Moi, who was president for 24 years before Kenya's constitution forbade him from running again.
Although there were incidents of violence and political intimidation during the 2002 campaign season, the election was conducted calmly. Thousands of enthusiastic voters formed long lines at polling centers.
Carter Center observers, led by former Zambia President Kenneth Kaunda and then Carter Center Associate Executive Director Gordon Streeb, visited more than 200 polling stations in Nairobi and six provinces on election day. The Center praised Kenyan citizens for their peaceful participation and the Electoral Commission of Kenya for their determination during a new process.
The Center commended the Electoral Commission of Kenya for enforcing the Electoral Code of Conduct by handing down judgments in several cases of bribery, attempted rigging, and violent rivalry among political parties. The Electoral Commission further ensured a fair election by openly tabulating ballots in the polling station and following strict procedures at the tally centers.
The Carter Center assisted Kenya's Ministry of Health in finding and containing all of the country's cases of Guinea worm disease and preventing new ones.
Current Status: Transmission stopped, 1994
Certification of Dracunculiasis Elimination: Pending
From 1993 to 1994, Kenya's Ministry of Health conducted village-by-village searches for cases of Guinea worm disease in districts adjacent to its borders with Uganda and Sudan, areas thought to be at greatest risk for having endemic disease. A total of 53 cases of Guinea worm disease, most of them imported from Sudan, were found in the Turkana and West Pokot districts of Kenya.
A reliable disease-reporting system was developed by the Ministry of Health with assistance from the World Health Organization. In 1995, Kenya reported only 23 cases of Guinea worm disease, all imported from Sudan, then the most endemic Guinea worm country in the world. With the West Pokot district reporting no indigenous cases in 1994, Kenya became one of the first countries in the world to stop transmission of Guinea worm disease since the campaign began in 1986.
Kenya was honored at a special ceremony at The Carter Center in Atlanta in 2000 for having stopped Guinea worm disease transmission.
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Size: 580,367 square kilometers
Population below poverty line: 43 percent
Life expectancy: 64 years
Ethnic groups: Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kalenjin, Kamba, Kisii, Meru, other African, and non-African (Asian, European, and Arab)
Religions: Christian (Protestant, Catholic, other), Muslim, traditionalists, other, none, unspecified
Languages: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016