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Briefing paper

BP25: Kenyans and democracy: Sustained support for the principle, but waning satisfaction with the practice

15 Apr 2015
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Three years ago, Kenya held it’s third multiparty election since 1992.  To the delight of many, it finally led to a long awaited political transition, bringing an end to the long reign of Daniel Arap Moi and the even longer rule of his KANU political party.  In a first Afrobarometer survey in Kenya, conducted in August-September 2003, just eight months after the new government of Mwai Kibaki and the NARC Rainbow Coalition took office, we found widespread euphoria and high hopes for the country’s future.  We knew even then that it was unlikely that any government could fulfill all of the hopes and the extremely high expectations of the Kenyan public at that time.  But we raised a key question then: How hard would the landing be?  Would Kenya follow the “Nigeria model,” where similarly glowing post-transition public assessments were soon followed by a crash in public perceptions, or would Kenya’s new government be able to produce the results necessary to sustain a sizeable share of the public goodwill that ushered it into office?