Kenyans are casting their ballots for a new leader in a tight race that’s too close to call

Voters across the country started lining up as early as 2 a.m. local time in some places, according to local media.

Analysts say the race is close because none of the front-runners polled significantly more than the other candidates. The election will go to a runoff for the first time in Kenyan history if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.

According to Tuesday’s presidential election Opinion pollsIt is considered a two-horse race between Deputy President William Ruto, 55, and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, 77.
Odinga is a businessman and politician who served as Kenya’s prime minister for five years following a disputed December 2007 presidential election that led to widespread protests and violence. More than 1,000 people died.

Odinga is part of a Kenyan political dynasty; His father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was the first Vice President of independent Kenya.

he Graduated with a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering After studying in East Germany and abroad in the 1970s, he was a one-time lecturer at the University of Nairobi.

He says he is contesting the polls for the fifth and final time, after failing in four previous attempts.

Odinga is backed by former rival President Kenyatta, who overruled his deputy Ruto for the top job.

Known as “Baba” in Kenya, he has pledged to establish social protection and universal health care programs. grandma For poor households. Free education up to college level is also a part of their plans.

This could be Odinga’s year, says political reporter and analyst Moses Odhiambo.

“There’s a sense that whichever side the government leans on wins. If you borrow from polls, Rye has an advantage,” Odhiambo told CNN.

Odinga’s main opponent, Ruto, describes himself as the “hustler-in-chief”, citing his humble beginnings as a chicken seller who fought his way to one of Kenya’s highest political offices.

Ruto, a former teacher with a doctorate in plant ecology from the University of Nairobi, has adopted a popular “man-of-the-people” approach designed to capture Kenya’s largest voting bloc – the youth.

And he seems to be succeeding, senior political analyst Herman Manyora told CNN: “Ruto has excited the youth … in an almost euphoric sense. This will help them turn out and vote.”

Ruto has pledged to prioritize Kenya’s economy and “Uplift Common Citizens” If elected president.

“There is a difference between me and my opponent. I have a plan, he doesn’t,” Ruto says of Odinga.

Ruto Attempts were also made with Kenyatta In 2013 at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands for alleged crimes against humanity following the 2007 election violence. However, the fee was later thrown out.
A 'hustler-in-chief' or a seasoned 'daddy' politician, who will be Kenya's next president?

Analyst Odhiambo says that while the election will lead to a change in administration, Ruto and Odinga’s affiliation with the current government will not necessarily lead to a new political event.

“Among front-runners, people look for a balance between consistency and freshness,” Odhiambo said.

“Ruto is the deputy president and part of the current government. There is a perception that Odinga may be an extension of the current president because of the support the president has given him.”

What are the issues?

A myriad of economic issues matter to voters, from rising debt to high food and fuel prices and high levels of youth unemployment.

Parts of the country are suffering from a debilitating drought that poses a threat Adding to the problem of growing insecurity.

Analyst Manyora says many Kenyans, especially the youth, are disillusioned with the government and may boycott the election.

“There are things that can affect voting. One is the high cost of living in the country, helplessness and despair among the youth, unemployment, poverty levels and people not seeing what the politicians are doing for them,” the analyst said.

He added that while Kenya’s problems should generally motivate his countrymen to vote for the right candidates regardless of faction, they are not “angry enough”.

“One would expect that these issues would lead Kenyans to turn out in large numbers to the polls and express their anger at the high cost of living by voting for the people in charge … I don’t think Kenyans are where they are. Enough anger to translate that anger into political action. came,” Manyora told CNN.

The role of ethnicity

Kikuyu, Luhya, Kalenjin and Luo are the four nations of East Africa The most populous ethnic group.
Outgoing leader Kenyatta included Three out of four Kenyan presidents The dominant Kikuyu ethnic group has emerged since the country gained independence in 1963.

“The problem in this country is that tribal considerations trump everything else… most of the votes will be based on tribe; very few votes will come from serious voters,” analyst Manyora said.

A record number of women are running in Kenya's elections but many face harassment and abuse

Ruto is from the Kalenjin tribe and Odinga is from the Luo ethnic group.

The two traveled the country before completing their missions over the weekend, seeking support from people outside their strongholds.

Both candidates also chose their runners-up from the Kikuyu – one of Kenya’s largest voting blocs – also known as the Mount Kenya region.

Ruto is running alongside first-term MP Rigathy Gachagua while Odinga is polling alongside former justice minister and one-time presidential aspirant Martha Karuwa.

If elected, Karua will become Kenya’s first female vice president. Analyst Odhiambo says Kenyan women are excited by Odinga’s choice of running mate.

“There is a growing wave of support around women’s leadership which has been accelerated by Odinga’s selection of Martha as his running mate,” he said.

Women represent 49% of Kenya’s registered voters, Accordingly to the Election Commission of the country.

Only the Kikuyu and Kalenjin tribes have produced the country’s president, and this is the first election in which no leading candidate is a Kikuyu.

No candidate from the Luo tribe has ever won a presidential election.

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