Jittery Kenyans vote in key polls

Raila Odinga vs Uhuru Kenyatta: Final statements before the Kenya election tomorrow

In some parts of the country, voters lined up outside polling stations at 3am, hours before booths officially opened.

Mr. Owiti said he was skeptical that the elections would be credible, having already spotted the names of two dead people, both acquaintances, on the voting register. "It's not that we are foreseeing doom, it's just that we are stocking up because supplies in markets have dwindled and we do not want to have a dry spell", she said. "That's why we will accept whatever outcome it is".

Kenyan officials have deployed about 180,000 security officers nationwide to ensure safety.

A decade ago, vote tallying was abruptly stopped and the incumbent president declared the victor, triggering an outcry from Mr Odinga's camp followed by outbreaks of ethnic violence in which 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 displaced.

The past few weeks brought a dramatic end to Kenyan's presidential campaign. Mr Odinga's campaign has focused on the high price of food and the fight against corruption.

However, many voters are expected to vote along ethnic lines.

Kenyatta is the son of the country's founding father. Odinga is associated with the Luo voting bloc, which has never produced a head of state. Six other presidential candidates are also on the ballot.

"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", said Obama, who served as president of the USA 2009-2017 and visited Kenya almost two years ago.

Mr Odinga, 72, voted in the poor area of Kibera, an opposition stronghold in the capital Nairobi, and was surrounded by well-wishers.

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At Moi Avenue Primary School, the largest polling station in the city, voter Calvin Otieno, 27, joined the queue shortly after midnight.

Reports from observers at the elections show voters especially among the 45% under 35 new voters who are committed and energetic about exercising their rights and choosing a leader who will move the nation forward.

Yesterday, President Kenyatta urged voters to go home after casting their ballots. "But obviously, the transition from voting to counting is going to be critical and there is a process in place for that too".

More than 1,000 people were killed and 500,000 were displaced in months of chaos following the election, after Odinga - who had been defeated by the then-president Mwai Kibaki - claimed the vote had been rigged.

Many fear a repeat of the violence that followed the disputed 2007 election.

So far, the turn out has been huge as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) spokesman, Andrew Limo said.

Officials and politicians issued last-minute calls for calm, with many fearing violence during voting or, more likely, when the results are announced in coming days.

Nearly 20 million Kenyans have registered to vote to choose candidates for a vast array of positions, from the presidency to county councillors, but all eyes are on the latest battle between the former British colony's two political dynasties. If that threshold is not met, a run-off vote between the top two candidates will be triggered.

Odinga, who has failed on three previous attempts to win the presidency, has refused to rule out his supporters taking to the streets if his opposition alliance deems the election unfair.



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