Kenya: African Election Insights Series: Kenya

Last Updated: 8 June 2017
Article by Linklaters  


Linklaters' African election insights is a series of country specific insights, produced by the Linklaters Africa Group in collaboration with our network of best friend firms, that will consider upcoming elections across Africa and their potential effect on foreign investment and key economic sectors. In this first bulletin, we consider the upcoming Kenyan election and the possible policy changes which could affect sectors such as infrastructure and energy and investment into public-private partnerships.

Kenya election overview

The Kenyan general election (comprising presidential, parliamentary and local county elections) is scheduled to take place on 8 August 2017.

The election will be primarily contested between the Jubilee Party, represented by the incumbent President, Hon. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and his running mate, the Deputy President Hon. William Samoei Ruto ("Jubilee"), and the National Super Alliance ("NASA"), a coalition of opposition parties represented by Hon. Raila Odinga and his running mate Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka.

Key policy proposals

Jubilee Party

Jubilee's stated aim of "building a betterKenya" focuses on "building communities", "building relationships" and "building one nation". Jubilee's proposal is to ensure that "no person is left behind in its efforts of delivering growth and prosperity that uplifts all Kenyans". Jubilee has identified the connection of more Kenyans to the national electricity grid as key to achieving this goal.

In order to build relationships, Jubilee has stated that it intends to forge relationships around the world and extend Kenya's relationships beyond traditional trade partners. Jubilee has also indicated that it intends to expand the country's export markets so as to create more jobs and enhance the environment for foreign direct investment by partnering with foreign companies and world leaders.

Jubilee has also expressed its commitment to work towards controlling the cost of day to day items, providing universal access to clean water, expanding local health centres, and growing the technology sector.

National Super Alliance Party

NASA's manifesto comprises seven key pillars:

  1. national reconciliation and healing
  2. resolving historical injustices
  3. realising equality for women, youth and other disadvantaged groups
  4. strengthening devolution
  5. transforming government
  6. eradicating poverty and unemployment
  7. realising social and economic rights

NASA has stated that it intends to provide solutions for the perceived shortcomings of the current government in relation to corruption, industrial unrest and improving the state of the economy and has stated that it is keen on transparency, accountability, participation of the people and devolution of power and resources.

To formulate its key manifesto details NASA has set up a National Coordinating Committee to brainstorm on creating an inclusive economy and strengthening small businesses and manufacturing companies. Working closely with trade unions is a key strategy for the party.

Key proposed legislative changes

At the time of this bulletin, neither party has proposed changes to existing legislation as part of its manifesto. However, should Jubilee successfully retain power, we would expect the government to continue its focus on the energy and infrastructure legislation currently in the pipeline including:

The Road Tolling Policy: intended to provide a policy framework for the collection of tolls to fund development of toll roads to bridge the gap in road infrastructure expenditure. According to the road toll plan, the government will enter into a partnership with private companies to upgrade the five high volume roads which have been earmarked for tolling and collect the revenues from the users.

The Energy Bill, 2016: if enacted, the Bill will repeal the current Energy Act and consolidate laws relating to energy which are currently set out in several statutes. The Bill also contains provisions relating to, and a framework for, sources of power which were previously not dealt with under previous laws such as solar, wind and nuclear power.

The Public-Private Partnerships Act, 2013: the National Treasury is currently developing a policy framework to govern the issuance of letters of support for projects by means of a clear review structure to be implemented by the Government before it takes on such commitments. There is also a Public-Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill that is currently before the Senate for consideration. The Bill proposes to amend the 2013 Act to recognise county governments as distinct contracting authorities for public-private partnerships projects. In this regard, the Bill sets out simplified procedures for county government public-private partnership projects.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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