Security has been tightened at Kenya’s national tallying center in the capital Nairobi as vote counting for Tuesday’s general elections kicked off, including a fierce race for the presidency.
In a statement, Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) praised Kenyans for turning up to exercise their democratic right to vote.
As of around 4 p.m. East African time (1400GMT), over 12 million out of 22.12 million registered voters had cast their vote, or about 56.17% voter turnout, the commission said.
Long queues of voters were seen at polling stations in the morning to elect Kenya’s president for the next five years. The voting process began at 6 a.m. local time (0300GMT) across 46,229 polling stations.
The public is also casting ballots for governor, members of parliament, and members of county assemblies.
The general elections are being monitored by 18,000 observers, including 1,300 international observers.
2-man presidential race
Though there are other candidates running, many political pundits believe the presidential contest will be a two-horse race between 77-year-old former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the current deputy president, 55-year-old William Ruto.
For the past 10 years, Kenyans have been governed by President Uhuru Kenyatta along with Ruto. During Kenyatta’s tenure, enormous expenditures on infrastructure were made, leaving Kenya more developed but also in debt.
Odinga, who is seeking the presidency with the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance party, and his running mate Martha Karua, 64, have promised a government that focuses on manufacturing to promote wealth and fight unemployment.
Ruto, who is running for president with his Kenya Kwanza coalition, says his government will focus on transforming the country’s economy to achieve durable growth while maintaining macroeconomic stability and empowering the people at the bottom of the pyramid.
The National Assembly, also up for grabs in today’s polls, is made up of 290 elected members, each representing a part of a county, including 47 elected women from each of the 47 counties, and at least 12 members nominated to represent women, youth, and the marginalized. This gives the country 349 members to govern its affairs.
Heavy security, drawn from all branches of the police forces, was present at all voting sites to ensure the smooth running of the elections.
Gubernatorial elections, which were postponed in the counties of Mombasa and Kakamega, will be held on Aug. 23, electoral commission Chair Wafula Chebukati said on Tuesday.
Vice Chair Juliana Cherera told the media that elections in Eldas constituency in Wajir County had been postponed due to an attack by gunmen at the local tallying center. Source: Anadolu Agency