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Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Gender, Religion & the Electorate

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RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #3609/01 2541319
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111319Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2213
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9521
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5443
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 4824
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2245
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1452
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2382
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2312
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 003609

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KE PGOV PHUM
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: GENDER, RELIGION & THE ELECTORATE

REF: A. ANDRE/AF-E EMAIL DATED 07SEP07

B. NAIROBI 628
C. NAIROBI 3581

1. (SBU) Summary: Analysis of raw voter registration data
reveals the gender and approximate religious composition of
the electorate, which differs somewhat from that of the
general population. Women account for 47 percent of
registered voters. Nairobi has the lowest share of women
voters at only 38 percent. Muslims make up the majority of
registered voters in 25 out of 210 parliamentary
constituencies (accounting for six percent of the total
electorate). The remainder have Christian majorities.
Despite calls from some Muslim clerics for the community to
vote against Kibaki, we see no sign that Kenyan Muslims will
vote as a united bloc. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The U.S. Mission obtained raw voter registration
data from the Electoral Commission of Kenya as of 28 May 2007
(Ref A). Our analysis of the data (Ref A) provides the
following gender & religious portrait of the Kenyan
electorate. Ref B reviewed politics and religious identity
in Kenya. Ref C examined the ethnic composition of the
electorate.

Gender and the Kenyan Electorate
--------------------------------

3. (SBU) A review of registered voter data as of 28 May 2007
indicates that women make up 47 percent of the national
electorate. They make up only 38 percent of Nairobi's
electorate and 41 percent of the electorate in "mixed"
constituencies (that is, constituencies where no single
ethnic group predominates). Mixed constituencies are the
most vulnerable to political violence, which may account for
the relatively low number of registered women voters. Five
of Nairobi's eight constituencies are mixed. Certain
constituencies in Rift Valley and Nairobi provinces are
notorious for the "importation" of voters from outside the
constituencies to benefit a free spending candidate. The
registered voter data reveals that these constituencies have
significantly greater disparities in the number of male and
female voters than do surrounding constituencies. Typically,
"imported" voters are men trucked in en masse to register in
the constituency and then brought back a couple days prior to
the election itself.

Religion and the Electorate
---------------------------

4. (SBU) Kenya's religious demography is roughly 80 percent
Christian, 10 percent Muslim and 10 percent other (ref B).
Twenty-five of Kenya's 210 constituencies (12 percent) are
predominately Muslim. The remainder are predominately
Christian. These 25 Muslim-majority constituencies account
for about six percent of all registered voters. Distribution
of Muslim-majority constituencies is as follows: Coast
province: nine out of 21; Northeastern Province (ethnic
Somali): 12 out of 12; Eastern Province: four out of 36
(northern districts of the province, predominately,
Borana/Oromo).

5. (SBU) Some churches and a few Muslim leaders have urged
their religious communities to support specific candidates.
However, the largest and most authoritative Christian and
Muslim organizations (the National Council of Churches of
Kenya, the Catholic Episcopal Conference and the Supreme
Council of Kenyan Muslims) have simply urged their members to
vote their conscience. Given the great ethnic, cultural and
regional diversity of Kenya's Muslim community, Muslims will
not vote as a single bloc, despite some vocal leaders calling
for opposition to a second Kibaki term in office.

Comment: Ethnicity Trumps Other Considerations...Usually
--------------------------------------------- ------------

6. (SBU) When voting for President and Member of Parliament,
most Kenyan voters will consider ethnicity first. Gender and
religion generally come into play only when rival candidates
and the parties they represent are identified with the same

NAIROBI 00003609 002 OF 002


ethnic interests. In constituencies where neither
Christianity nor Islam have a strong majority (one in
Nairobi, one in Eastern Province and two in Coast Province),
religious solidarity may become an electoral factor.
RANNEBERGER

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