If Kenyans – and their friends around the world – are holding their breath for Tuesday’s election, it’s not just to find out who will win, but also to see whether the country’s democracy manages to continue its decade-long recovery.
Based on Afrobarometer Round 7 data, Kenyans surveyed last October were approaching this election campaign with increasingly positive feelings about their democracy and elections, recovering slowly but surely from the disastrous aftermath of the 2007 campaign.
A successful election on Tuesday could help continue that upward trend – if widespread fears of intimidation or violence prove unfounded.
▪ Almost two-thirds (63%) of Kenyans said they considered their country “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems,” an improvement of 20 percentage points from responses in 2008 and 2011 (Figure 1).
▪ A majority (56%) said they were “fairly satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the way democracy was working in Kenya, up from 42% in 2008 (Figure 2).
▪ More than six in 10 (62%) considered the most recent national election (in 2013) completely or mostly free and fair – three times the proportion who held this view in 2008 (20%) (Figure 3).
▪ Still, a majority (56%) said they feared election-related intimidation or violence “somewhat” or “a lot” – a modest improvement from 2008 that may have been undermined by recent events (Figure 4).