As disputes raged over the presidential results from Kenya’s election last week, a little-noticed democratic revolution blossomed in the layer of government directly underneath.
Kenyans sent home 25 out of 47 county governors, upholding a strong anti-incumbency tradition and warning that voters would turf out failing local leaders after power and money devolved to the counties in the last election cycle.
Anti-corruption campaigners – and voters – hope the new taste of direct accountability will eventually help curb corruption in East Africa’s biggest economy and weaken the grip of parties that rely on ethnic voting blocs.
“Party doesn’t matter. We want performers,” said Ann Wairimu, 48, a real estate agent in Nairobi, where dirty water and open sewers caused a recent cholera outbreak.