Despite growing satisfaction with democracy, many Kenyans fear political violence, Afrobarometer survey shows

Graph: Perceived extent of democracy in Kenya (2005-2016)


Kenyans are increasingly satisfied with their democracy and overwhelmingly supportive of honest elections as the best way of choosing their leaders, but many fear election-related violence, the latest Afrobarometer survey indicates.

Survey findings show that even though most Kenyans feel free to join political organizations of their choice and to express their political opinions, a majority of citizens are at least “somewhat” afraid of becoming victims of political intimidation and violence during election campaigns.

The survey results are being released at a time of heightened political activities ahead of the 2018 general elections as political parties mobilize their supporters to register as voters. There have been concerns over the voter registration process despite the recent appointment of new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission members.

Key findings

  • Compared to 2014, more Kenyans consider their country a democracy (63%) and are satisfied with the way it is working (56%).
  • Three-fourths (77%) of Kenyans say their leaders should be chosen through regular, open, and honest elections.
  • Four of 10 Kenyans (41%) express “a lot” of fear of becoming victims of political intimidation or violence during election campaigns, and an additional 14% say they are “somewhat” afraid.
  • Six in 10 Kenyans say that compared to a few years ago, they enjoy “somewhat more” or “much more” freedom to join any political organization (67%) and to say what they think about politics (60%).
  • A majority (61%) say the media enjoys “somewhat more” or “much more” freedom than it did a few years ago to investigate and report on government mistakes or to criticize government actions or performance.

Download the full press release.