On August 9, 22.1 million registered Kenyans will go to the polls to elect the country’s fifth president and successor to the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta. since the resumption of multiparty electoral democracy 30 years ago. It is the third under the 2010 constitution.
Raila Odinga, one of the two leading contestants is a former prime minister. The 77-year-old veteran Kenyan politician is contesting the election for the fifth time. He has come close to victory twice before. The 2007 poll result was hotly disputed, leading to widespread violence in which 1,100 people were killed. He appears to be the government’s favorite.
The other main challenger is Deputy President William Ruto, 55, who served two terms with Kenyatta but has since fallen out with his boss after the latter’s reconciliation with Odinga. He is the leader of the United Democratic Alliance, the largest party under the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) coalition. By rebranding him as the antithesis of the status quo and personification of the hopes of the poor, his messaging has resonated with the marginalised, reports The Conversation.
George Wajackoyah of the Roots Party has captured the public’s imagination, he and David Waihiga of the Agano Party are fringe presidential aspirants.
With a population of 48 million, Kenya has 22 million registered voters. Nearly 40% of these are young voters. Voters are required to simultaneously vote for a president, senator, member of parliament, woman representative, county governor and county assembly member.
Ahead of Tuesday’s elections, registered voters in the diaspora are 10,444 – more than double the number (4,223) in the last cycle. The number of registered voters in prison is also 7,483, a 44 percent increase from 5,182 in the last elections. Another community that is set to vote in the elections are the Shonas, who have been stateless since arriving as missionaries from Zimbabwe in 1959, until two years ago when more than 1,000 officially became citizens. This is their first time voting in Kenya.