Over 19.6 million Kenyans vote

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

About 19.6 million Kenyans are flocking to more than 40 000 polling stations across the nation today to cast ballots for the election of the country's next president.

Eight candidates are vying for the presidency - incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party, National Super Alliance (NASA)'s Raila Odinga, Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Ekuru Aukot of the Thirdway Alliance, Mohammed Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change (ARC), and independent candidates Joseph Nyaga, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kaluyu.

A tight race is expected between President Kenyatta, who is seeking a second term, and Odinga, a political veteran intent on becoming Kenya's fifth president in his fourth attempt at the top job of the nation.

Polling stations opened at around 6am and will close at 5pm, with voting being extended in areas where more time is needed.

Kenyans over 18 years old are eligible to vote, but one must be a registered voter to be allowed to cast a ballot.

About 5.2 million Kenyans will vote for the first time, according to the electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which also stated that more than half of the registered voters are aged between 18 and 35, reflecting the influence of the group on the presidential election.

Results are expected to start trickling in by Tuesday evening, and by Wednesday evening, the country's next president is expected to be known, although the electoral body will have seven days to officially announce the results.

However there are fears of an eruption of chaos if the results of the polls are disputed. But the African Union Elections Observation Missions (AUEOM) and the Commonwealth Observer Group Mission (COGM) have urged stakeholders to allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to put their country first.

AUEOM and former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki challenged the government to facilitate the necessary support to IEBC for it to deliver a credible election.

“The government must do everything necessary to help ensure that the IEBC does everything necessary such that Kenya holds free, fair and transparent elections,” said Mbeki. - SAnews.gov.za-Xinhua  

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