Kenya goes to Polls

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The Kenya government has begun general election.

The polls have opened and voters have already started queuing before dawn across Kenya, eager to have their say over who will run the country for the next five years.

Delays and logistical problems have been reported in some places, but in general, the process appears smooth.

The vote follows an ‘intense campaign’ dominated by debates about living costs, unemployment, and corruption.

Frontrunners
The frontrunners for president are ex-Prime Minister, Raila Odinga and current Deputy President, William Ruto, while the other candidates are David Mwaure and George Wajackoya

The outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta is backing his longtime rival Mr. Odinga, after a falling out with his own deputy.

Mr. Odinga was mobbed by supporters when he went to vote in Kibra one of his strongholds in the capital, Nairobi.

He did not speak to the press, but his wife, Ida Odinga, said he was “upbeat about the election.”

While Mr. Ruto who voted in the town of Eldoret in the Rift Valley pledged to accept the election result.

“I think for the first time in the history of multi-party democracy in Kenya, all the candidates have undertaken that they will accept the outcome of the results,” he said.

Delays
However, there was some delay experience among the early morning voters at a polling station in a primary school in the Westlands area of Nairobi.

They were blocked from entering the compound of the school for 90 minutes after voting was supposed to start at 06:00 local time (03:00 GMT).

The reason for the delay was not clear and some people started chanting: “We want to vote!”

“I was here very early. It’s been disappointing that we got here early and had to wait for a long time,” voter Alex Kipchoge said.

When voting did get underway, the process went well.

There have also been reports of delays in the coastal area of Mombasa and some parts of the northeast of the country.

Mix-Up
There are several other elections for parliament and local government happening at the same time and a mix-up of ballot papers in some areas for some of those votes has again raised questions about the organisation of the general election.

Polls are open for 11 hours and are expected to close at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT). Anyone still in the queue at closing time will be allowed to vote.

Election process

Meanwhile, to win the presidential race in the first round, a candidate needs more than half of all the votes cast across the country which is at least 25% of the votes cast in a minimum of 24 counties.

Voters will also be choosing MPs and senators to go to the national parliament, county governors, and county assembly members, as well as 47 women’s representatives to sit in the National Assembly.

Report says counting will start at the polling stations shortly after voting ends. Officials will then take a photo of the final tally and send the image to both the constituency and national tallying centres.

However, only the electoral commission can declare the winner of the presidential election after verifying the physical and digital forms sent to the national tallying centre.

 

BBC/JJ/CO

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