The general election of 29 December 1992 was an event of vital importance to all Kenyans. Both opposition leaders and domestic and foreign commentators believed that the result would determine whether the country would evolve into a stable, competitive, multi-party state or return to repressive single-party rule. Would Kenya follow the example of Zambia, sweeping away after three decades of rule the party that had secured independence, or the Cameroons, entrenching in power the old regime through electoral malpractice?1 All the political parties, as well as the numerous candidates for President, Parliament and local government, the press, observers, church leaders and diplomats, not to mention ordinary voters, invested tremendous physical and emotional energy in the contest and awaited the result with a mixture of eagerness, hope and trepidation. After 29 years of independence and one year of multi-party democracy, the government of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi had to face the first electoral challenge to its rule. This book is about that challenge -- about the evolution of the Kenyan state, the emergence of the opposition, the reestablishment of multi-party politics, the political contest of 1992 (culminating in the election), and the Moi regime's reconsolidation of power during 1993 and 1994.
There have been few detailed book-length studies of elections in Africa. Perhaps the most notable remains the study of The Kenyatta Election of 1960-1 by George Bennett and Carl G. Jnr. Rosberg2 Kenya, moreover, has attracted relatively little scholarly attention since President Moi came to power in the late 1970s, apart from historical studies of the colonial period. This paucity is especially noticeable in view of the considerable interest shown in the country by scholars in the 1960s and early 1970s, and the continuing high profile of Kenya in the Western media. Apart from Jennifer Widner's recent study of the rise of Moi's 'party state' (which already looks rather dated so rapid has been the pace of political events since 1990), Joel Barkan's revised comparative investigation of policy making in Kenya and Tanzania, and David Leonard's account of the careers of four senior civil servants, African Successes (which devotes most of its attention to the Kenyatta