n Journal of African Elections - Ethnicity and/or issues? The 2013 general elections in western Kenya

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



It is often assumed that Kenyans vote on the basis of ethnic identification rather than the socio-economic and political issues affecting their lives. However, experience from earlier elections shows that issues and interests are important drivers in giving form and expression to identity politics. This article examines the interaction between ethnic identification and issue differentiation in the March 2013 general elections in Western Kenya by identifying factors that influenced the outcomes in the six simultaneous elections. The article is based on observation, interviews and data collected in a survey of four constituencies inhabited by Luo- and Luyia-speaking people in Western Kenya during the campaign period and immediately after the elections. The study suggests that while constituencies may have voted as a bloc along ethnic identification lines - especially with respect to national politics and the presidential election - their choices were also differentiated and informed by specific issues, especially at the county and constituency levels.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error