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Maasai tribesmen participate in Kenyan election

Maasai men queue to vote during Kenya's general election at the Ilbillis Primary School in Kajiado on August 9, 2022.   -  
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MARCO LONGARI/AFP or licensors


Kenya's Maasai tribesmen stood in long lines at polling stations on Tuesday as voting got underway in Kenya's presidential election.

This year's vote, which has some local elections running alongside, presents Kenya with another opportunity to test its democracy.

"I expect all of them to turn out, come and vote, and I expect everything to go well. I don't expect any spoiled votes, I don't expect any rejected (ones). I guess with my agents here they have been recapped very well, they have been briefed, so I don't expect any problem," said Yvone Ngalayei, an election official.

Dynamic cultures are also on test as some like the Maasai community have never allowed young people to vie for any elective position.

But David Nina, a 34-year-old Maasai political aspirant, has an opportunity to ascend into an elective post as a member of the County Assembly, a position used to be a preserve of elders.

With polling stations having opened by 6 a.m., Nina hopes this will be a peaceful election.

"I am expecting there is going to be peace, the people of Kenya are going to elect leaders of their choice, the leaders that they know they are going to even change the economy of this country. So I am sure we are going to have the best leaders out of this exercise."

"I see a position of a young Maasai leader, given an opportunity especially by our elders. And that one is going to change even the standards of living of the Maasai community, because many of the youths now in the Maasai community have been educated. So with the knowledge we have now and adding the knowledge of leadership again, all the experiences we are going to experience, I know we are going to change this community " added Nina.

The Maasai tribe of Kenya are pastoralists, relying on their cows for a livelihood.

Climate change and severe droughts along with rapid population growth and over grazing has made their lives even harder in these modern times.

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