The disputed results of the Tuesday presidential vote have once again cast Kenya’s elections in a negative light.
Yet the outcome of some races suggest significant progress in the country’s democratic journey.
The success of more female and independent candidates in gubernatorial, senatorial and parliamentary contests, for instance, shows that voters in certain areas were willing to embrace diversity and issue-based politics while making their choices.
Three counties – Kirinyaga, Bomet and Kitui – have elected Kenya’s first female governors while Uasin Gishu and Nakuru produced senators.
Sophia Abdi Noor made history as the first woman from North Eastern to be elected Member of Parliament having defeated male rivals in Ijara Constituency.
Independent candidates won the race for governor in Laikipia and Isiolo. Their election expressed the will of voters defying the bandwagon effect and cultural stereotypes that continue to limit choices to the ethnic-based political parties and their male-dominated candidate lists. This can only be good for democracy in Kenya.