The polls have opened for the Kenya election on Tuesday, as current President Kenyatta hopes for a second and final term. There are 40,883 polling stations across the country and voting started at 6 am local time. Voters have until 5 pm local time today to let their decision be known. The results will be announced in around one week’s time.
Kenya Election Build Up
There are over 19 million registered voters this year and the election is clearly important to people, with some voters coming out and forming a line from 1 am in the morning. The conditions in Nairobi were chilly, at just 15 degrees Celsius, but despite the inclement weather, voters are determined.
The Kenya election will be a tight race, as current President Kenyatta seeks his second (and final) term. He faces what is considered “stiff competition” from political veteran, Raila Odinga, who is running in the Kenya election for the fourth time.
According to the polls, the candidates are neck in neck. Interestingly though, should Odinga win, it will mark an historic event, as no sitting president has ever lost a second term in Kenya.
Kenya Election So Far
There have been no reported incidents so far, as voters claimed that the process had been smooth and without problems.
For either candidate to win, they must earn 50 percent of the votes, plus one, to prevent going to a second round of voting. Should either candidate fail to gain the majority, that would also make history in this east African country.
Kenya Election Major Issues
The main issues in contention throughout the electoral campaign have been the economy and employment. Kenya is the second largest economy in the region, yet almost 50 percent of its people live below the poverty line.
The majority of voters are under 35 and Kenyatta has promised to create more than one million new jobs, striking a note with younger voters.
Odinga, on the other hand, has focused his campaign against corruption, as Kenya is currently one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International. He has also accused Kenyatta of attempting to rig the election, stating publicly that it is “the only way” his party can win.
Should corruption issues arise, there may be violent repercussions in the country. Back in 2007, more than 1,000 people were killed in protests after Odinga accused the results of being rigged in favor of Mwai Kibaki.
Kenyatta has vehemently denied any attempts to meddle with the election, however the murder of Chris Msando, one of the most senior officials at the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission, just a week ago, does nothing to calm growing uncertainty.
Due to its turbulent past, the Kenyan public already struggles to believe that the Kenya election will be free and fair. The murder of Msando, one of the few people who knew the login details and location of servers that will count the votes in this digitized election has created further concern.
The fact that he was brutally tortured before being killed (he was missing an arm) suggests that his killers were seeking information.
Should Kenyatta steal the vote in the Kenya election today there will likely be some major backlash observed.