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Explainer: The issues in Kenya's just concluded presidential election. Who will win?

Africanews journalist Micheal Oduor   -  
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Helena Humphrey: Vote counting is underway in Kenya in a closely contested election, which saw millions cast their ballots yesterday to choose a successor to incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta. The two leading candidates are well known names, with Deputy President William Ruto taking on former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Joining me here on set to talk more about this now is Michael Oduah from our sister service, Africa News. Michael, good to see you. You, too. Now, I saw some queues, really long queues yesterday of people trying to cast their ballots. I mean, people were queuing up from around 4 a.m., I think it was. How did voting go?

Micheal Oduor: Well, thank you very much. The voting went well. I can say that there were no reports of violence or tensions, you know. But of course, yes, we had quite some queues in the morning, but this didn't translate to like the overall outcome in terms of voter turnout. Apparently, according to some preliminary reports from local media, when you look at that, you find that voter turnout was at 64, almost 65%, and this is quite low. But apart from that, we have to take into consideration that this was maybe because in some regions we had very low voter turnout, but in regions where main candidates were coming from, we had quite a higher percentage in terms of voter turnout.

Like in the Rift Valley, which is quite a bit in the central part of Kenya, where we had almost 80% of voter turnout. Then again, in the western part of Kenya, where we also have another major or main candidate. We also had over 80% voter turnout. But generally, in Kenya, we can see that the turnout wasn't that pleasing and this is pretty much the story here. And we are now waiting for more.

Helena Humphrey: We are waiting for more. I know it's early, but do we have any indications at this stage as to how it might go?

Micheal Oduor: Well, I just followed about a presser by the independent electoral commission, the IEC, that is the commission managing this election. And what they say is that they are not going to release information or results as per now, but they are waiting for physical reception of forms from each and every polling station. And there are about 34 which are typically there, the forms that are being filled in by the presiding officers in each and every respective polling station. So, they are waiting for these forms to physically come in. But meanwhile, we have other forms that, the same forms have been uploaded into the system and journalists can actually access some of these sites and even to see some of the preliminary results or forms that have been uploaded. But this is not official. They are preliminary. But according to a recent presser, the just concluded presser, the IEC said, of course, they have to wait for these forms to come physically so they are authenticated and stamped and then they're going to give the results. But so far, if you look at the local media and what they've been doing tallying here and there, it shows currently that Raila Odinga, is a bit ahead. leading by a very small margin which I can say now, but again this keeps changing. But so far, the race is still tight.

Presenter: And briefly, if you don't mind, Michael, what would you say have been the most important issues in this election for Kenyans?

Micheal: So fundamentally, we've had very many issues in Kenya that are stake. For instance, youth unemployment that has been at record high for the past five years, which stands at more than 30% as we speak. And then, of course, we also had the inflation coming in. Though this is more of a global crisis with many countries experiencing inflation currently. But in Kenya, we had a very specific issue whereby even before the inflation or before the war in Ukraine came in, we have also had higher prices of goods; with prices that were actually skyrocketing each and every day. And therefore, with war in Ukraine coming this further push up the prices of goods and so these are basically some of the things that are affecting voters in terms of whether they see the need to go to vote or choose a candidate and of course there are other issues; Yes.

Helena Humphrey: All right, Michael Oduor from our sister service, Africa. Thanks for running us through all of that. Thank you. Welcome.

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