Peter Maritim rolled along Barut’s main street in his home-made wheelchair, shouting out to voters – just one of 13 candidates campaigning for the Kenyan town’s single seat in the county assembly.
The unemployed 42-year-old will compete to represent residents of the tiny town near the central Rift Valley city of Nakuru next week with a pharmacist, a headmaster, a former hotel manager and several farmers, many of them independents or members of small parties who entered politics after the government devolved power and money to counties in 2013.
The reforms, part of a democratic overhaul brought in after 2007’s elections exploded into ethnic violence, have spurred home-grown, small-scale campaigning in the East African economic powerhouse.
Kenyans will elect a president, lawmakers, and local representatives on Aug. 8, with devolution prompting particularly fierce competition for local races.
The new devolved politics has attracted more than 8,000 independent candidates across Kenya, up from 300 in the last elections.