Kenyans start voting for lawmakers and a new president early today after a campaign in which the key issues were raising food costs and corruption.
Long lines of eager voters were already showing up in the capital Nairobi by 6.00am ahead of Kenya’s 12th General Election since independence and its 7th since the reintroduction of multi-party democracy in 1992. It is also the third General Election to be held under the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said Monday that it had finalized preparations for the national poll.
Wafula Chebukati, the Chairman of IEBC said that logistics including deployment of ballot papers, polling clerks and security personnel had been finalized to ensure the voting exercise was devoid of glitches.
“The preparations have been completed to ensure that we deliver credible elections,” Chebukati said at a briefing in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.
Kenya will on Tuesday hold its seventh general election since the introduction of multiparty politics in 1991 where some 22.1 million registered voters will elect the country’s fifth president, members of the National Assembly, senators, and county governors.
Kenyans will be voting for 16,105 candidates, who are vying for a total of 1,879 elective positions.
The registered voters who must be over 18 years of age in line with constitutional requirements will troop to 46,229 polling stations countrywide to elect a new group of leaders, the IEBC chairman said.
Chebukati said that tallying of presidential results will be conducted at the constituency, county and national levels, adding that accredited media, election observers and party agents will be given unfettered access to polling stations.
The electoral body, according to Chebukati, has already deployed over 150,000 security officers to enhance security during the polling day while close to half a million temporary staff had been hired to oversee the one-day exercise.
In addition, a toll-free number has been set up by the electoral agency to enable voters and monitoring groups to report malpractices, said Chebukati.
The two leading candidates in the Tuesday elections are veteran opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and sitting Deputy President William Ruto.
The elections are hotly contested, with President Uhuru Kenyatta backing Odinga.
The most recent opinion polls have shown a tight race between Odinga of the Azimio la Umoja (Resolution for Unity) One Kenya Coalition, and Ruto of Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) Alliance.