The Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta showdown is back and no less exciting and nerve-racking. Kenyan elections are upon us and tensions are as high as expectations. Raila Odinga, the opposition coalition leader running for the fourth time has predicted a resounding victory in the elections contrary to polls suggesting a tight race. The signature claims of vote rigging that soundtrack almost every election in Sub-Saharan Africa have already been sounded. Odinga is at his watershed moment and Kenyatta seeks to legitimise his rule. Kenyatta won the last election but Odinga fought hard to the end. One man shall emerge victorious and hopefully his victory will be the people’s victory. Violence was reported in the Laikipia and Baringo in the run up to the elections and forced people to flee their homes. Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta however reminded people, “I say peace because Kenya was here before and it will be here after today.”
A newly born named “Ballot”
Polling in the 40,883 polling stations across Kenya began at 6am (GMT +3) local time and ended at 5pm. Results are expected to be announced within seven days. Reports suggest polling stations were already crowded by daybreak as voters started queuing from 1am defying the cold weather. One of these determined voters was heavily pregnant Paulina Chemanang who gave birth while waiting to cast her vote. She commented, “Now I am happy, because I have given birth and I have voted. Having given birth at a polling station is a blessing to me and I thank God.” Chemanang said she named her child Chepkura which means “elections”. Equally committed to the civic duty of hiring a new leader was a 102 year old Lydia Gathoni who braved the cold to cast her vote and also led officials and voters in a prayer for God to govern the country.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) spokesperson Andrew Limo said three or four cases of voting machine malfunction had been reported but everything went well for the most part. Some voters praised the voting system’s improved efficiency. The country is using a biometric system which uses fingerprints to verify voters.
To win the election, a candidate must have at least one vote over 50 percent of the votes and receive at least 25% of the votes in 24 of 47 counties in the country. Failure to garner the required results by all candidates will result in what would be Kenya’s first re-run. Some results are already in with Uhuru Kenyatta in an early lead with only one percent of the results reported. Follow election results here.