Kenyans are voting to elect the new president who will take over from Uhuru Kenyatta whose term is coming to an end. The Presidency is a hotly contested seat in this year’s General Election.
Kwame Owino -the CEO, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, stated in a past interview; “The entire world is watching Kenya’s general elections because if the elections generate into violence then the entire East Africa Community’s economy will be affected and that’s why the sitting president has been on the forefront in preaching peace.”
He further explains that the election exercise is expected to test East Africa’s largest economy.
Nairobi city is no doubt the region’s economic hub boosting a better-skilled labour force. As an English-speaking nation, most multinational firms are eyeing to set up their continental headquarters in Nairobi.
Some of the firms that have expressed interest are Visa, Microsoft, Google and Amazon to set up regional hubs in the city.
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The other factor is the country’s geopolitical stand, especially with the West. Political pundits and different opinion polls have predicted a tight race between former prime minister Raila Odinga and current Deputy President William Ruto who are all out to clinch the president seat.
The incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta has thrown his political backing to his long-time political enemy Odinga to succeed him. A thing that has made Odinga to be termed a state project by his main rival, William Ruto.
The Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) recent survey revealed that most corporate leaders are seeing this election as well as the stability of the Kenyan shilling as some of the biggest impediments to the growth and expansion of firms in the remainder of this year.
History has it that the country’s economy has always been affected negatively during election years.
This has always made most investors, especially at the Nairobi Securities Exchange put investment decisions on hold, pending a return to normality.
In 2017 during the presidential elections, the economic growth slowed down to 4.81 per cent from 5.88 per cent a year earlier.
One of the worst years when the country’s economy took a beating was in 2007 when Kenya ploughed into civil violence due to the disputed presidential results.
The economy sank the economy to a growth of 0.23 per cent from 6.8 per cent the year before.
As of the election day the shilling declined to a new low of 119.12 against the dollar, this is according to the CBK.
Kenya’s elections are closely monitored by the international communities. The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) were the first to fly to Kenya for an elections observer’s mission.
Their mandate is to assess the 2022 general elections in line with Kenya’s domestic legal framework as well as with international and regional standards and commitments Kenya has made regarding democratic elections.
They will provide an informed, comprehensive, and impartial analysis of the entire electoral process, in line with established EU methodology for observing elections.
The East African Community (EAC) has deployed 15 election observation teams to observe the general elections.
The US is leading a team of 14 diplomatic missions to ensure a peaceful transition, citing its strategic importance in the region.