Kenya, East Africa's largest economy, will hold a general election on 8th August 2017. It is difficult to speak of Kenya's democratic process without referencing the 2007/2008 post-election crisis which saw over 1300 hundred innocent people killed and many others displaced. The nation held elections in 2013 which were peaceful in comparison but critics doubt whether peace is sustainable, claiming that factors that led to violence in 2007/2008 have never been dealt with. Can the country move forward without confronting this past? And with the devolution of powers in political and legislative units, does this election represent a shift in the relationship between local and national power?
In economic terms, Kenya has in the last decade rebuilt its position in the regional and global affairs, its communication and infrastructure sectors making the nation a competitive investment destination. With the decline of Nigeria's economy and crisis in South Africa, leaders outside the continent seem to be inclined to strengthening relationships with Kenya (note the recent participation of President Kenyatta at the G7 summit and representing Africa at the Silk Road Forum). How will these relations play out post-election? The current drought and food shortage is having a significant impact on the battle for office. What does the political economy of agriculture and food security look like after election day has passed?
This event is presented by the Royal African Society in partnership with GBS Africa.
Njoki Wamai is a Kenyan Post Doctoral Researcher at the Politics and International Studies Department's Centre for Human Rights and Governance(CGHR) at the University of Cambridge. She completed her Phd in Politics and International Studies at the Cambridge Politics Department in 2016 with a thesis that focused on the everyday politics of intervention within the Kenyan context. She has previous degrees from the University of Nairobi and the Africa Leadership Centre(ALC) at King's College London. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the politics of the ICC intervention in Kenya at the everyday level.
Edwin Orero is a final year Doctoral candidate at the School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London. Edwin's PhD thesis examines the adoption and use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Kenya, within the context of a lower middle income country, in meeting key infrastructural and public policy needs. Edwin is also a qualified accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and has worked both as an external and internal auditor in different organizations, both in Kenya and in the UK.
Justin Willis is Professor of Modern African History at the University of Durham. He was formerly Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) in Nairobi. He is also the Vice President of Research and Chair of the Research Committee at the BIEA. His work is largely concerned with identity, authority and social change in Eastern Africa over the last two hundred years.
Keni Kariuki is a PhD candidate at the School of African and Oriental Studies. His research focus is on Kenyan agricultural public policy and the political economy of the Kenyan agricultural sector. Previously, he focused on the ‘right to food’ from a legal perspective, before being confronted with the reality of the intersection of formal and informal institutional interactions within the political settlement of developing nations. Currently, he seeks to address the reasons for the disparity in performance of various commodities through the lens of rents, with a specific focus on the county of his birth, Kenya.
Chair: Agnes Gitau is a partner at GBS Africa, a boutique Africa Advisory Firm whose focus is to link Africa projects to global pools of Capital Her role in the firm involves supporting International corporates manage political and policy risks associated with Africa Investments.
Tickets: £5 / Free for RAS Members and SOAS staff & students. Please book on Eventbrite.