Kenyan presidential candidates in last push forward of vote to succeed Kenyatta

Flanked by cheering crowds, Kenya’s presidential frontrunners sought to make their last push for votes on Saturday below tight safety, capping months of frantic campaigning forward of the August 9 election.

Vice President William Ruto and Raila Odinga, a veteran opposition now backed by the ruling occasion, are battling for the prospect to steer the East African powerhouse because it grapples with a price disaster. life.

Previous polls have been marred by violence and proceed to forged a shadow over the nation, the place 22.1 million voters will now select the following president, together with senators, governors, lawmakers, representatives and a few 1,500 officers of county.

The battle for votes has been dominated by allegations of rigging and a free boon for supporters, who’ve been deluged with umbrellas, groceries and money to attend rallies.

After criss-crossing the huge nation in latest months, the 2 candidates staged their newest offensive within the capital Nairobi, with Ruto staging a rally on the 30,000-seat Nyayo National Stadium and Odinga campaigning at Kasarani Stadium, which seats 60,000. . Lawyers David Mwaure and George Wajackoyah — an eccentric ex-spy who desires to legalize marijuana — are additionally within the fray.

The hard-fought race has sparked hypothesis that Kenya might see its first presidential run-off, with many fearing a dispute over the end result may lead to road violence.

02:20 Tight race Wealthy businessman with a rich background and obscure popularity, Ruto, 55, was lengthy overdue as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor, however misplaced floor when his boss – who can not symbolize – joined arms with longtime rival Odinga in 2018.

Kenyatta’s endorsement gave Odinga, 77, entry to the highly effective electoral equipment of the ruling Jubilee Party, but additionally dealt a blow to the previous political prisoner’s anti-establishment credentials.

Nonetheless, some analysts consider Odinga will emerge victorious in a good race, with Oxford Economics pointing to the undeniable fact that he has the backing of “several influential political leaders”, together with Kenyatta.

Ruto introduced himself as “the chief hustler”, concentrating on the “dynasties” that rule Kenya – a reference to the Kenyatta and Odinga households, who gave the nation its first president and vice chairman.

He promised to ascertain a “bottom-up” financial system in a rustic the place three in ten individuals continue to exist lower than $1.90 a day, in accordance with the World Bank.

Odinga, in the meantime, has made the battle towards corruption a key a part of his marketing campaign, declaring that Ruto’s working mate is combating a corruption case.

Evance Odawo, a 23-year-old tailor attending the Odinga rally, instructed AFP: “We expect the next president to see the economy improve and the standard of living too.”

“There is no work. We have no work. We are the hustlers,” stated Grace Kawira, an unemployed mom of two, who was awaiting Ruto’s arrival. “We are just surviving,” she instructed AFP, echoing considerations shared by many throughout Kenya.

New chapterThe election will open a brand new chapter in Kenyan historical past, with not one of the candidates belonging to the dominant Kikuyu tribe, which has produced three of the nation’s 4 presidents.

Both males sought to enchantment to the Kikuyu, who make up round six million votes, however analysts say the financial disaster will probably compete with tribal allegiances as a key consider voter conduct.

With massive ethnic voting blocs, Kenya has lengthy suffered from politically motivated communal violence at election time, particularly after a disputed poll in 2007 the place greater than 1,100 individuals died, scarring the nation’s psyche.

The run-up to this 12 months’s ballot has been largely quiet, with police planning to deploy 150,000 officers on polling day to offer safety and the worldwide group calling for a peaceable vote.

Since 2002, each Kenyan presidential election has been adopted by a dispute over the outcomes. The Supreme Court annulled the 2017 elections on account of widespread irregularities within the counting course of and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Borders Commission.

The IEBC, which is below stress to make sure a free and honest poll, insists it has taken all crucial precautions to stop fraud as Kenyans hope for a peaceable vote.

“I want (the politicians) to accept the election so that the country can continue in peace,” Kawira, 32, stated.

(AFP)

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