Kenya polls open amid fears of rigging

09 August, 2017, 00:30 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Former US secretary of state John Kerry with Chief Justice David Maraga when he paid him a courtesy call at the Supreme Court. He is leading a team of more than 50 observers from the Carter Center’s election observation mission in Kenya Nairobi August

All in all eight candidates are vying for the Presidency.

Incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta is running for a second-five year tenure in office and his major contender is his lifelong opponent, Raila Odinga who is running for president the fourth time.

Heavily booked buses are ferrying Kenyans back to their hometowns, for some in order to vote where they are registered, but for others it is due to fears of post-election violence in the areas where they live.

My competitors, as I have always said, in the event that they lose, let us accept the will of the people.

Polling stations across the country are already open with thousands already queued up to cast their ballots.

In 2007, Odinga's call for street protests after problems with the vote count triggered a widespread campaign of ethnic violence in which 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 displaced. "We hope they will create more opportunities", said Abdul Khan Yahya, a 45-year-old driver who was voting in Kibera.

The veteran voter did her civic duty at a polling station set up in a primary school in Gatundu, north of Nairobi.

The election commission has said that about 25% of polling stations will not have network coverage, meaning officials will have to move to find a better signal and transmit results by satellite phones. He urged Kenyans to safeguard the stability of the country.

There are over 19.5 million registered voters in the country.


Election officials say the victor of Kenya's presidential race must get more than 50% of the votes as well as one-quarter or more votes in at least 24 of Kenya's 47 counties.

Odinga late Monday expressed concern over the government's security plans which, he said, included the transport of weapons and smoke bombs to opposition strongholds. If that threshold is not met, a run-off vote between the top two candidates will be triggered.

Were Odinga to win, it would upend the political dominance of the Kikuyu ethnic group, which has supplied three of Kenya's four presidents since independence from Britain in 1963.

The electoral authority hasn't said when final results will be announced.

"The Kenyan people as a whole will be the losers if there is a descent into violence", he said.

Vote counting got underway in several parts of Kenya Tuesday evening following close of polling at the official time: 5pm EAT.

Elections in 2013 were largely peaceful, although Odinga did accuse Kenyatta's Jubilee Party of poll fraud after massive glitches with the electronic voting system. There is little to separate the two candidates in terms of economic policy although the USA -educated Kenyatta is seen as more pro-business.

To Kenneth Okoth, a member of parliament and a member of the opposition, things looked generally good, despite the fact that some of his constituents were not listed on the voter register.

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is among global observers who will be monitoring the election.

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