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Kenya chooses presidents – largely peaceful

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 | World News

The presidential and parliamentary elections have begun in Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta hopes for a second term of office. Already early in the morning, there were long queues before the election stations in the capital Nairobi.

Kenyatta from the Jubilee party and his challenger Raila Odinga from the Nazi party alliance had made a tough election campaign and were head-to-head in recent polls.

Violent outbreaks feared
Observers fear violent clashes. After the 2007 elections, a wave of violence broke out that killed more than 1,000 people and drove some 150,000 into flight.

In addition to the President and both Chambers of the Parliament, the Kenyans also elect new governors and regional representatives in the 47 administrative districts of the country. "There will be many losers," said the head of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, Kagwiria Mbogori, in the run-up to the vote. "Do not let Kenya burn because of your disappointment," she warned the voters.

Kenyatta vs. Odinga
Both candidates are from politician families. Kenyatta is the son of the first president of Kenya, Odinga the son of the first vice president. A lot is at stake for the candidates. Kenyatta does not want to be the first president in the history of Kenya, which was granted only one term. He has been State Secretary since 2013. For Odinga, who is already a candidate for the fourth time, it is the last possible chance for the highest state office.

 Kenyatta has improved the country's infrastructure and advanced some major projects, but critics also criticize the lack of commitment to corruption. This is exactly what Odinga wants to fight decisively, besides, he has promised to create as a president favorable housing for the approximately 48 million Kenyans.

Odinga accused Kenyatta of electoral manipulation
The election is overshadowed by the hitherto unexplained murder of the chief of the electronic voting system, Christopher Msando. The crime had contributed to the insecurity of voters. In addition, Odinga, who was a government official from 2008 to 2013, repeatedly challenged Kenyatta's election manipulation.

In his last speech before the elections, Odinga called on his supporters to vote a lot. Kenyatta asked the population to make a peaceful choice in a televised speech. Above all, ethnically mixed areas are vulnerable to unwelcome election results, said Abdullahi Abdille from the think tank International Crisis Group.

Some 19.6 million Kenyans had registered for the election. The results must be published within seven days in accordance with the Constitution.

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