Skip to content
Opinion
Bobby Ghosh

Kenya’s Economy Can’t Afford a Political Crisis

From drought and debt to the inflationary impact of war in Ukraine, its problems demand a speedy resolution of any dispute over election results.

Another election crisis won’t end the worst drought in 40 years.

Another election crisis won’t end the worst drought in 40 years.

Photographer: Simon Maina/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya’s general election was always going to be a close-run thing, with a certain amount of political uncertainty baked into the outcome. Going into the weekend, Raila Odinga, the perennial opposition contender, has rejected the election commission’s announcement that William Ruto had beaten him, by a thin margin of 50.5% to 48.9%, to the presidency.

Odinga has until next Monday to bring his grievance before the supreme court, which will then have two weeks to decide whether to nullify the result and order a fresh vote — which must take place in 60 days. That would be a replay of 2017, when the court overturned the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta. Odinga, having lost narrowly in the first vote, boycotted the second.