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Kenya's presidential candidates vow to fight wealth inequalities

A bus drives past banners for Kenyan main presidential candidates. Azimio la Umoja nominee Raila Odinga, L, and the United Democratic Party candidate William Ruto, R, Nairobi.   -  
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Brian Inganga/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Kenyan voters are a few days away from casting their ballot to elect the next president.

The economy has taken centre stage at the August 9 election since the high cost of living highlighted income inequalities.

A former ally to President uhuru kenyatta, Kenya s deputy President William Ruto, is one of the main candidates. He is said to be one of the country's richest men and promotes himself to the young and poor as a "hustler" who rose from humble beginnings as a chicken seller.

"We are supporting Ruto because of one reason, Cedrik Mulamu, a supporter explains. We must keep our promise that we made of making him president after supporting Uhuru Kenyatta. We are hustlers and we stay together. Motorbike riders are hustlers and we stay together."

"Ruto may stand for something but it is not out there in the public, Herman Manyora, a political analyst and communication lecturer at the University of Nairobi reckons. However, what is clear is what he says he wants to do. He says he wants to bring an economic revolution. That the economic revolution is an attempt to mainstream the small people at the bottom of the pyramid whom he calls hustlers. So in a nutshell Ruto would appear to be standing for the welfare, the interests of the hustlers, the people at the very bottom."

Raila Odinga's meeting has also attracted large crowds. The 77-year-old is in his fifth try at the presidency. As he campaigned with running mate Martha Karua, a former justice minister, he promised cash handouts to Kenya's poorest.

"He will take care of our children. Better life with Raila Odinga Omollo", supporter Sophia Wamaitha Njogu shouts.

"Raila stands for the struggle for human rights, for democracy, good governance, and as a social democrat I would think, the general welfare of the public", Herman Manyora judges.

The United Democratic Party candidate Ruto or the the Azimio la Umoja nominee Odinga both vowed to fight corruption, but non-governmental organisations sigh over Kenya's failure to address the graft that eats away at everyday lives

As debt and inflation crises loom, how will the country of 56 million people cope with extended uncertainty? The eastern African nation's recent history of turbulent elections also worries observers.

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