Kenya has been ranked position 95 globally and number 13 in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Democracy Index 2020 ratings, scoring lower than its neighbor Tanzania rated at position 93.
It beat the neighbouring Uganda by three points while Zambia and Sierra Leone shared position 99 in the ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Senegal, Malawi, Lesotho, Ghana, South Africa, and Mauritius are among the African states that have beaten Nairobi in the rankings.
Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Canada were rated in the top five slot in the ranking that factored how the nations handle elections; functioning of government; political participation; political culture; and civil liberties.
Kenya was pooled in the category of countries with hybrid regimes which EIU describes as those where elections have substantial irregularities that prevent them from being free and fair.
Hybrid regimes also apply where government pressure on opposition parties and candidates is common, with serious weaknesses in political culture, functioning of government and political participation.
The regimes are also characterized by widespread corruption and the rule of law is weak; and with a weak civil society.
EIU says in such countries typically, there is harassment of and pressure on journalists; and the judiciary is not independent.
Kenya also beat Benin, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Angola, Gabon, Mozambique, and Ethiopia in that order in the just released rankings.
The country also outdid Niger, Zimbabwe, Congo (Brazzaville), Rwanda, Comoros, Eswatini, Guinea, Togo, Cameroon, Djibouti, and Guinea Bissau.
DRC was the worst performer in the ratings followed by Central Africa Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, and Eritrea.
Kenya, in a scale of 10, scored three point five on its electoral processes and pluralism; 5.36 on functioning of government; 6.67 on political participation; 5.63 on political culture, and 4.12 on civil liberties.
The EIU said the heavy-handedness in places like Kenya reached new highs in areas where curfews were ordered. “The measures stripped citizens of their freedom to assemble and travel, causing severe interruption to livelihoods,” the team said in the report released on Monday.
This article was published by The Star.