Exploring the Link between Global Capital Expansion, Chinese Ascendancy, and the Verdicts of Western Election Observers in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Kenya's 2017 General Elections
- Journal of Global South Studies
- University Press of Florida
- Volume 37, Number 2, Fall 2020
- pp. 320-350
- Additional Information
There is an increasing feeling among scholars of African democracy that Western election observers apply a double standard in their operations in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the explanation for this supposed posture on the part of international election monitors is yet to be exhaustively explored. Associated scholarship has largely confined itself to three broad factors: the "progress bias," defined by Susan Dodsworth as "a tendency to tolerate flawed elections that improved on those held previously"; the risk of triggering electoral violence; and the protection of strategic partnerships. In an attempt to further scholarship on Western observers of African elections, this article employs the lens of globalization and monopoly capitalism to discuss Kenya's 2017 polls within the context of China's rise as a global power. It revolves around the following broad question: If, in fact, the John Kerry-led international observer team was complicit in facilitating election rigging during Kenya's 2017 election cycle, how do we explain this from an economic perspective? It concludes, partly, that the quest to either attain or retain dominance among global powers, is not only contributing to the erosion of constitutional gains but also exposing the Kenyan masses to dictatorial and predatory leadership. Moreover, during Kenya's 2017 election cycle, there appears to have been a significant shift in the inclination and preference of citizens, from substantive to procedural democracy.