Al-Shabaab has historically shown significant interest in Kenya’s elections. The team at RUSI have been exploring the jihadist organisation’s impact on the 2022 voting process. They discuss their findings, based on reviewing security incident analysis and an extensive gender-disaggregated perceptions survey.
Watch the event recording
Under the UK-funded REINVENT programme, with the support of additional funding from UN Women and the approval of the Government of Kenya, RUSI led a study to explore Al-Shabaab’s capability and intent in relation to Kenya’s 2022 elections. The study assessed the gendered impact of the group on the voting preferences of communities living along Kenya’s border with Somalia. After a detailed analysis of Al-Shabaab activity, including both attacks and communications, a survey was conducted in the four border counties to establish how men and women living in areas affected by Al-Shabaab violence make their voting decisions.
The study contributes to the literature on the ways violent extremist organisations might seek to influence or undermine electoral processes.
The research established that democratic ideals and a commitment to the Kenyan nation-state remain strong among those on the border. While men and women had differing priorities, Al-Shabaab had little to no influence over individual voting preferences. Moreover, Al-Shabaab’s efforts to disrupt proceedings were isolated and uncoordinated.
In this webinar, the authors discuss their upcoming report and explore the implications that these findings may have for Kenya’s maturing democracy.
RUSI delivers the countering violent extremism (CVE) work stream of the UK’s flagship five-year security and stability programme in Kenya.
Dr Jessica White
Senior Research Fellow
Terrorism and Conflict