Millions vote for new president in Kenya

Odinga is seeking the presidency for the fifth time and has campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket…reports Asian Lite News

Kenyans are voting on Tuesday to elect a President and a new Parliament, with around 22 million people eligible to cast their ballots in a closely fought election.

Pre-election polling put opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga slightly ahead of William Ruto, who served as Vice President to the outgoing Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been President of the East African country for the past 10 years, reports dpa news agency.

Odinga is seeking the presidency for the fifth time and has campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket.

Ruto has pledged far-reaching economic reforms to improve the lot of small businesses and farms.

Rising food and fuel prices have added to tensions in the large country, which is home to a wide range of ethnic groups. Past elections have often been characterized by outbreaks of violence

Kenya is nevertheless seen as a relatively stable country on the continent, and the two main candidates have indicated they intend to accept the election result.

They have also said they plan to continue close relations with the US and the European Union.

Under the Constitution, results must be published within seven days. With four candidates running, and a close result expected, a run-off election may well be necessary.

The election in the country of some 56 million inhabitants is the fifth presidential election since independence from Britain in 1963.

Members of the National Assembly and Senate were also chosen on Tuesday.

Tanzanian President wishes Kenya peaceful general elections

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has wished neighbouring Kenyans peaceful general elections as they went to the polls to vote for their leaders.

“I am praying God be with you (Kenyans) as you fulfill your constitutional right of getting leaders of your choice in a peaceful environment, unity, harmony and solidarity,” she said in her official tweet on Tuesday.

“Wishing you all the best.”

President Hassan was inspecting the Njombe region in the country’s southern highlands on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Millions of Kenyan citizens on Tuesday cast their ballots at nearly 46,229 polling stations across the country to elect the country’s fifth President as well as members of the National Assembly, Senators, and county governors.

William Ruto, Kenya’s sitting Deputy President and Presidential candidate under the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) Alliance, cast his ballot at 6 a.m on Tuesday at a primary school located in his ancestral Sugoi village in the northwestern county of Uasin Gishu. Soon after casting his ballot, Ruto said he will respect the election outcomes, after months of heated campaigns.

Ruto is running for the presidency with three other candidates, including his closest rival, Raila Odinga, a veteran Opposition leader who is running for the presidency under the Azimio La Umoja (Resolution for Unity) One Kenya Coalition. Odinga also cast his ballot at a polling station in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, later on Tuesday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Votes in Gatundu

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday morning cast his vote at Mutomo Primary School in Gatundu, Kiambu County.

The Head of State, who was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, cast his vote shortly after 9.00 am and urged Kenyans to vote peacefully.

“Vote peacefully and go home to wait for the results,” President Kenyatta said.

Responding to questions from the media, the President said the voting exercise at the Mutomo Primary School polling station was smooth and he hoped the same will apply across the country.

Before accompanying the President to Gatundu, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta had cast her vote at St. Mary’s School in Nairobi County shortly before 7.00 am.

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