NAIROBI, Kenya Kenyans Decide today…. So far the massive turn-up of voters that the Kenya’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC) says is to the tune of 16.9 million is an indicator that Kenyans wish to make a decision.
The Investigator established that multitudes of voters begun queuing as early as 12am eight hours to official commencement of polling. A rare occurrence that surprised many was the queuing for four solid hours by First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta who voted from a polling station near their posh Gatundu home.
Deputy President William Ruto was among the top politicians to vote early today, casting his vote at Kosachei Primary School in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu County in Eldoret. After he cast his vote along with his wife Rachel, Ruto urged all Kenyans to desist from politics of division and intrigue.
He urged all candidates to respect the will of the people and accept defeat if floored. The National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Amollo Odinga (RAO) cast his vote at 11.40am at the Old Kibera Primary School in Kibra Constituency in Nairobi. Kibra is located in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums.
Odinga told The Investigator as he left his posh Karen home for voting with his wife Mama Ida Odinga that he would head straight to the undisclosed opposition’s alliance tallying center after voting.
Incumbent, President Uhuru Kenyatta who voted at Mutomo Primary School in Gatundu South, Kiambu County at 11.30am re-echoed his similar calls he made during the campaigns calling for peace and calm during and after the voting exercise.
“To my competitors, as I have always said, in the event that they lose, let us accept the will of the people. I am willing, myself, to accept the will of the people,” he said after casting his vote.
He promised to concede defeat if defeated and urged his rivals in NASA to do the same. According to analysts, this is one of the hotly contested elections with top guns, Incumbent and Jubilee flag bearer Uhuru Kenyatta facing off with arch rival and fourth time presidential contender and National Super Alliance (NASA) flag bearer Raila Amollo Odinga. The two are seen among the giants of the registered eight presidential candidates.
Though Raila, son to Kenya’s first Vice President is taking a shot for the too seat for the fourth time now, Uhuru Kenyatta, son to Kenya’s founding president, Kenyatta is seeking a second and final term in office. He beat Raila in the 2013 general elections.
The Chief European Union (EU) observer Marietje Schaake told The Investigator from Nairobi that so far the elections are peaceful and people are ‘very’ eager to vote.
Apart from the stampede at Stareh in Nairobi that left scores of voters injured, coupled with a few delays and some confusion in biometric name searching, the exercise has so far been calm, smooth and peaceful.
Snapshots of what you need to know
- Kenyans are electing their president, governors, national assembly, female representatives, senate and county assemblies
- A total of 47 Parliamentary Seats and 16 senate seats reserved for women
- There are eight registered presidential candidates:
- At least 16.9 million Kenyans are registered voters.
- A candidate needs 50% plus one vote for first-round victory
- There are more than 14,000 candidates running across the six elections
- More than 45% of registered voters under 35
- Close to 200,000 security officers have been deployed on duty nationwide
- Raila Odinga, 72, has run for president three times and lost each time.
- President Kenyatta beat Raila Odinga in the last election in 2013, but their rivalry is generations old
- Both their fathers were political opponents in the 1960s.