Carter Center Presents Final Report on Kenya’s 2017 Elections

Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,

NAIROBI — The Carter Center released its final election report today, presenting its comprehensive findings from Kenya’s 2017 electoral period and offering recommendations to help strengthen Kenya’s future electoral processes.

The report urges political stakeholders to act as quickly as possible to organize national stocktaking exercises and to develop and implement key electoral reforms well in advance of the 2022 election. The process should be guided by principles of inclusion and shared values grounded in the country’s constitution.

The Center’s report concludes that Kenya’s 2017 general electoral process was marred by incidents of unrest and violence throughout the extended electoral period, and by harsh attacks by top political leaders on electoral and judicial authorities that seriously undermined the independence of the country’s democratic institutions and the rule of law. Regrettably, the 2017 elections represent a major setback in Kenya’s democratic development, leaving the country polarized and deeply divided.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was announced the winner of the Aug. 8 presidential election, however the process was annulled by the Supreme Court because of a lack of transparency in the tallying and results transmission process. Although the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission instituted several key improvements for the Oct. 26 rerun election, the leading opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, boycotted the polls, which were marred by violence, especially in opposition-learning areas. Turnout dropped by half. The Supreme Court reviewed several petitions challenging the rerun result, and found them without merit, upholding President Kenyatta’s Oct. 26 election. President Kenyatta was inaugurated on Nov. 28.

The Center’s final election report is based on the reporting of Carter Center experts and long-term observers on the ground from April through November 2017. The Carter Center team monitored key parts of the electoral process, including the party primaries and candidate nominations, voter verification, campaigning, electoral preparations, and electoral dispute resolution. The core team of experts was joined by a large group of short-term observers to monitor voting, counting, and tallying in the days surrounding the Aug. 8 election. Because the Oct. 26 rerun election was marked by increased insecurity, an uncertain political environment, and an opposition boycott, the Center deployed a smaller limited observation mission, which did not cover all areas of the country.

Final Report

2017 Kenya General and Presidential Elections (PDF)


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A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.