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Kenya elections: Calls for peace as voting begins under heavy security

09 August 2017, 12:32 | Marta Robbins

Uhuru speaking at the Deliverance Church Umoja

Uhuru speaking at the Deliverance Church Umoja

He urged Kenyans to safeguard the stability of the country. He was accompanied by his wife, Margaret, his mother and two of his three children.

"What am I supposed to do?" said Catherine Okello, frustrated by a hotline text message telling her to go to the nearest election commission office to sort out the problem.

"Shake their hand, share a meal and tell them, "Let us wait for the results", for Kenya will be here long after this general election".

Odinga voted in Kibera, the country's biggest slum, but left without speaking to supporters.

To win outright, a candidate needs 50 per cent plus one vote, and at least 25 per cent of the votes in 24 of Kenya's 47 counties.

The men belong to two of the country's main ethnic groups, Kenyatta from the Kikuyu, the largest, and Odinga from the Luo.

"We hope the counting process will be as good as the voting and the results will reflect the true victor", said Ken Okoth, legislator for the Kibera constituency in Nairobi.

"As a friend of the Kenyan people, I urge you to work for a future defined not by fear and division, but by unity and hope", Mr. Obama added in a statement.

An worldwide election observer says Kenyans are voting with enthusiasm and that the process is going well.

Kenya's elections matter well beyond the country's borders-and usually, attract a higher level of scrutiny and larger teams of worldwide observers.

"There have been no incidents so far", Mahama said.

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Kenya has 20 million registered voters out of a population of more than 40 million people.

Eight candidates are contesting for the presidency-Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee Party, National Super Alliance (NASA)'s Raila Odinga, Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

Shrouded in fears of violence, the vote pits President Uhuru Kenyatta, a wealthy 55-year-old businessman and the son of Kenya's founding president, against Raila Odinga, 72, a former political prisoner and son of Kenya's first vice-president.

"I have come here to vote because good leadership comes from God". This is the young East African nation's 11 election since its independence from Britain in 1963.

If that threshold is not met it will trigger a run-off vote between the top two candidates, with the victor requiring a simple majority.

Kenyatta called for peace regardless of the outcome of the election.

It remained to be seen if the millions of voters, some of whom said they had queued for up to six hours, will be able to cast their ballots before the close of polling at 5pm.

Queues at the polling station formed very early in the morning, with voters arriving at 2 a.m.in some.

Five years ago, Kenyatta defeated Odinga, who disputed the results before they were confirmed by the country's supreme court. "No matter the result in this election, we must stand together as one people".

The electoral authority hasn't said when final results will be announced. Hundreds of voters discovered that their names were not on the register, there were reports that voting materials in some constituencies had not been delivered, and voting kits were not working properly in other areas.



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