Kenyan leader, Obama urge calm in presidential election

Kenyan leader, Obama urge calm in presidential election

Kenyan leader, Obama urge calm in presidential election

This is the young East African nation's 11 election since its independence from Britain in 1963.

"Not any single life of a Kenyan should be lost because of a section of people who want to serve the people of Kenya".

Why are Kenyans nervous about the election?

NAIROBI, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Kenyan election officials began counting votes on Tuesday, as results trickled in from a hard-fought contest between the country's foremost political dynasties and election authorities called for calm.

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.

It would be recalled that Kenya's last election was marked by violence which killed many people.

Google's doodle marking the 2017 Kenya elections. "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", Kenyatta said in a televised address on the eve of polling day.

The polls were due to close at 17:00 local time (14:00 GMT), but the electoral commission said polling stations would stay open in areas where voting had been hampered by heavy rain.

Odinga, 72, has accused Kenyatta of attempting to rig this year's election.

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International Criminal Court cases against Kenyatta and his now-deputy, William Ruto, for helping direct that violence collapsed as witnesses died or disappeared.

Over 150,000 police officers have been deployed to provide security to election officials and to ensure everything runs smoothly across around 41,000 polling stations in the country.

President Kenyatta is widely seen as the candidate of the Kikuyu people, the country's largest ethnic group.

Kenyatta is the son of the country's founding father. He has promised to create 1.3 million new jobs, reduce the cost of living and create a more inclusive economy by reducing economic inequalities.

Kenyans will vote in six different elections, choosing governors, lawmakers, senators, county officials and women's representatives in local races also rife with tension.

Odinga's National Super Alliance (NASA) promises to fight persistent corruption and to lower food prices that have been hiked up by the country's worst drought in 30 years. Officially, election authorities have up to a week to declare the outcome.

Yet policy differences matter less than ethnic politics.

While Kenyatta is hoping to be re-elected based on his achievements, Odinga hinges his hopes on promises he has given, including free education from kindergarten to secondary school. This time, with a more mature voting system, the opposition - Odinga, his tribe and his allies - would finally rise to power. Odinga is associated with the Luo voting bloc, which has never produced a head of state.

While there has been reports of glitches at some of the polling units which numbers about 40,000 or more across Kenya, Limo says for most part, things have gone well.

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