Kenya: Polls close in tightly contested elections

09 August, 2017, 00:33 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Scenes from the church service attended by the President

Kenyatta is Kikuyu, an ethnic group that has supplied three of Kenya's four presidents since independence from Britain in 1963.

"We are praying. that it will be peaceful", said Fatima Ada, a 39-year-old mother of six, who was queuing to vote in Nairobi's low-income Kibera neighbourhood.

Long queues formed at Nairobi polling stations hours before voting kicked off at 6 am (0300 GMT) in the morning.

Mr. Obama, whose father was born in Kenya, said there has been "too much incitement and appeals based on fear from all sides".

Kenyatta and Odinga originate from opposing tribes.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, 72, who lost elections in 2007 and 2013, has already said President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, can only win if his ruling Jubilee party rigs the vote, a stance that increases the chances of a disputed result and unrest.

The electoral commission said it was "very encouraged by the turnout so far".

Kenyans in Rwanda will vote from the country's high commission in Kacyiru.

Millions troop to the 40,000 polling stations across the country as the people of Kenya decide who their next president will be.

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More than 19.6 million voters, both inside the country and in the diaspora, are also voting for 1,882 vacant positions in government.

To win the election outright, either presidential candidate must garner at least 50 percent of the votes, plus one.

More than 150 000 members of the security forces - including wildlife, prison and forestry officers - have been deployed for polling day. "If we fight, will any of the candidates come to bring us food in our houses?" he said.

If that threshold is not met it will trigger a run-off vote between the top two candidates, with the victor requiring a simple majority.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking a second term, is the son of Kenya's first president. "I am willing, myself, to accept the will of the people", he said in a brief statement.

Voting for the national and local assemblies are also taking place. Final results are not expected before Wednesday at the earliest.

In March 2013, Kenyatta, defeated Odinga, despite charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the 2007-2008 violence.

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.

It was revealed that numerous delays were brought about by "adverse weather conditions" that saw a vehicle transporting election materials get stuck in a swamp, before employing the services of a helicopter to complete the task. Former US secretary of state John Kerry, besides John Mahama and Thabo Mbeki, Ghana and South Africa's former presidents, are among thousands of observers monitoring the elections.

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