The Effects of Political Parties on Roll-Call Voting in Kenya’s Parliament

Christian B. Jensen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Michelle Kuenzi, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Daniel J. Lee, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Parties are thought to organise democratic legislatures by influencing the voting behaviour of individual legislators. We examine whether parties and party coalitions influence the behaviour of legislators in Kenya. Ethnicity has been seen as the driver of party and electoral politics in Kenya and therefore Kenya provides a hard test of the proposition that political parties organise the legislature in Africa. Analysing roll-call voting in the 11th Parliament (2013–2017), we find that both political parties and coalitions induce structure to roll-call voting, although clientelism and ethnicity continue to influence the behaviour of MPs.