As the 8 August general elections approach, much of the attention is focused on the compelling presidential contest between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his opposition challenger, Raila Odinga. But for lower levels of political office, the competition is likely to be no less fierce with a range of influential posts for MPs and County Governors in particular at stake.
Under Kenya’s new 2010 constitution which sought to devolve power from the centre, the powers of local authorities have been significantly increased at the expense of the executive. This has raised the stakes of local politics, which in turn has influenced the national debate and broader governance trend.
In the last elections in 2013, the implications of devolution were poorly understood by candidates and voters alike. But as we approach the next election cycle, local politics are playing a far more central role in the democratic process.
This brings with it notable implications for Kenyan politics.