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Kenya set for Tuesday polls

Kenya set for Tuesday polls

Kenya

In just a few hours, Kenyans will go to the polls to choose their future leaders in what experts say will be the most contested elections in the country’s history

Eight candidates are vying for presidency including the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and the NASA coalition leader Raila Odinga.

This will be the fourth time and probably the last time the longtime opposition candidate will be eyeing the country’s top seat after losing to the incumbent in 2013 in what he claimed was a rigged vote.

Uhuru Kenyatta has however vowed to beat his opponent promising to clinch victory in the first round of the vote.

For most of his campaign, Odinga has insisted that the only way he will lose is if the vote has been tampered with.

Opinion polls have however predicted a very close race between the two, and there are fears there could be trouble ahead between supporters of the rival parties.

City residents from Nairobi and other urban centres have witnessed a mass exodus of people to areas where their ethnic community is dominant for fear that the elections may trigger ethnic violence.

Tensions have further been heightened with the brutal murder of Chris Msando, an official of the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission. He had a key role of developing a new electronic ballot and voter registration systems at the commission.

The election commission has insisted the system will still work and that Kenyans should expect a free, fair and transparent elections.

More questions are also being raised following the commission’s announcement that a quarter of voting stations across the country won’t have network coverage to transmit the results of electronic voting machines.

Something which the opposition claims is a way to rig the elections.

The electronic voting machines failed at the last minute during the 2013 elections leading to a manual count of the votes which Raila Odinga claimed was manipulated.

Election observer missions in the country include the African Union under the leadership of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the European Union led by Marietje Schaake and the East African Community Election Observer Mission led by Prof Edward Rugumayo.

The wounds of the 2007 elections are still fresh on the minds of several Kenyans. About 1,200 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands fled their homes following the violence.

But according to several observers, Kenyans will still vote along ethnic lines.

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