Today August 8th, Kenyans are casting their votes to elect a president and a new parliament following weeks of campaigning and hopes of no plot to rig the results.
Polling began early this morning and is expected to end at 5pm tonight with results to be announced within seven days. More than 19 million voters have registered to cast their vote in Tuesday’s election in 40,883 polling stations across the country.
Polling stations were crowded from the early hours of today, with some voters queuing as early as 1am despite chilly weather of 15 degrees Celcius.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, age 55, is seeking a second and final five-year term in office and faces stiff competition from an opposition coalition led by veteran politician Raila Odinga, age 72.
Charts and Polls show the two candidates enjoy similar levels of popularity. The current president; Kenyatta is the son of the country’s founding father and his opposition, Mr. Odinga is a former prime minister whose father was once a vice president.
No sitting president has ever lost an election in the East African country of 48 million people. Five years ago, Kenyatta defeated Odinga, who disputed the results before they were confirmed by the country’s supreme court.
To win the election outright, either presidential candidate must garner at least 50 percent of the votes, plus one. The winning candidate must also receive at least 25 percent of the votes in half of Kenya’s 47 counties to prevent a second round of voting.
Kenyatta is promising to create more than one million new jobs in the country, which has the second biggest economy in the region.
He also said he would reduce the cost of living in a country where 47 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Odinga, on the other hand, is promising to fight corruption. Transparency International, the global anti-corruption group, ranks Kenya 145 out of 176 in its 2016 corruption index.
Odinga has also said he will create jobs for young people and make the country – which in recent years has experienced droughts – food secure.
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