The politics of land, elections, and democratic performance in Kenya: a case study of Nakuru District
Wanjohi, N. Gatheru
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The extent to which regular elections can be used as a measure of democracy has for some time now been a matter of serious debate. The main source of controversy seems to derive from the manner in which different rulers interpret the concept of democracy and hence the means by which it should be realized. However, even after some common grounds are established, the role of electoral process still remains a matter of sharp disagreement. This type of difference has made a micro study of elections imperative with a view to explain the role they play in a developing country such as Kenya. This paper deals with Nakuru District generally, and Nakuru Town Constituency in particular. The role elections have played in the assertion of people’s belief in democratic practices has been explored for the period between 1960 and 1983. An attempt by a minority group to use elections in an effort to thwart democracy is also used as a demonstration of what could happen to the whole country should a similar situation be widespread. In addition, the nature of the voters' attitude and behaviour suggests a high development premium in the minds of the electorate, except when their right to make a choice of their own is at stake. The voters' attitudes towards the party, the government, and the entire electoral process suggest a general but very consistent cautious approach in the way people in Kenya view their political system. In this case, regular elections seem to provide a basis for a hope that things nay improve some time economically and socially.