Nairobi, Kenya – Kenyans are voting on Tuesday to choose a successor to outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in what’s seen as a key check of stability for one in all Africa’s healthiest democracies.
Voting begins at 6am native (03:00 GMT) and runs by way of till 6pm (15:00 GMT).
The stakes are excessive within the seventh consecutive election within the nation since its return to multi-party democracy in 1992 beneath Daniel Arap Moi.
4 candidates are on the poll however solely two are greatest poised to succeed Kenyatta. One is Deputy President William Ruto, 55, who’s thought to be Moi’s pupil and first got here to nationwide consciousness within the 1992 election as a youth campaigner for the ruling celebration.
He’s up towards 77-year-old former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, one of many civil society leaders concerned within the battle towards – and imprisoned by – Moi within the Nineteen Eighties.
An opinion ballot put the sexagenarian forward by six proportion factors, however his opponent has brushed them apart as “faux” and “propaganda”.
Tuesday’s vote is seen as a key check of stability in a nation thought to be a wholesome democracy in a area recognized for long-serving dictators. Kenya can also be the financial hub of East Africa and its neighbours can be keenly watching the vote.
Residents may also vote for governors, legislators and different representatives.
Plans and alliances
The election can also be a referendum on the president and his financial legacy.
Unemployment is rife in Kenya as greater than a 3rd of its youth are with out jobs and the scenario has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide disruptions because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Commodity costs are at the moment unstable and trending upwards,” Magdalene Kariuki, head of public coverage on the Nairobi workplace of Africa Observe, advised Al Jazeera. “Meals inflation has elevated to about 18.8 p.c in June, up from 12.4 p.c in Could, however efforts are being taken by authorities to make sure stabilisation and cushion Kenyans.”
Ruto, who has referred to as himself a ‘hustler-in-chief’ and talks about rising up poor, has promised to inject 200 billion Kenyan shillings ($1.68bn) into the economic system to create job alternatives.
He has framed his marketing campaign round wresting energy away from dynasties, referring to Kenyatta and Odinga, whose political careers had been preceded by these of their fathers who led the nation as its first president and vice chairman respectively.
In the meantime, the Odinga marketing campaign has promised to start paying 6,000 Kenyan shillings ($50) to poor and susceptible households throughout the nation in its first 100 days in workplace, in addition to a healthcare plan referred to as BabaCare.
The veteran opposition determine has campaigned beneath the “Freedom is right here” slogan, regardless of reconciling with longtime foe Kenyatta.
Their truce in 2018, recognized in Kenya as “the handshake“, ended hostilities between the duo.
However the starting of a brand new friendship between previous foes additionally marked the start of a brand new animosity between previous pals. Ruto, beforehand the institution candidate and Kenyatta’s anointed successor, successfully swapped positions with opposition determine Odinga.
4 years on, the brand new alliances have crystallised in new coalitions.
The Azimio la Umoja, which has enveloped the ruling Jubilee celebration, is looking for to consolidate its maintain on energy by serving to Odinga win the presidency on his fifth try.
However there’s additionally the Kenya Kwanza motion which has Ruto as its flag bearer and includes a variety of institution politicians disgruntled with the Kenyatta presidency, together with inside his personal kin, and different opposition components.
There may be strain on the Unbiased Boundaries and Electoral Fee (IEBC) to conduct clean elections, particularly after the Supreme Court docket ordered a rerun of the presidential polls.
On Monday, IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati introduced the suspension of governorship elections within the Mombasa and Kakamega counties because of a poll mix-up. Seven officers had been additionally dismissed earlier within the week for numerous offences, together with assembly a neighborhood politician in western Kenya.
That might have an effect on voter turnout in different counties, given issues about voter apathy.
Solely a 3rd of the registered 22 million voters are aged 18-35, despite the fact that two-thirds of Kenya’s 56 million persons are beneath 35.