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Violent Incidents Cast A Dark Cloud Over Kenya's Upcoming Election

Violent Incidents Cast A Dark Cloud Over Kenya's Upcoming Election

The final week of campaigning has been marred by the murder of a top election official and claims of vote-rigging.

"CIVICUS calls on the Kenyan authorities, politicians and leaders to act in a responsible manner and respect the will of the electorate during and after the elections", said the group.

Mr. Odinga was also a candidate in the 2007 election, which was followed by deadly violence fueled by ethnic rivalries.

The 55-year-old, accompanied by his wife Margaret, his mother and two of his three children, urged Kenyans to vote peacefully and go home to await the results.

In March 2013, Kenyatta, defeated Odinga, despite charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the 2007-2008 violence. This resulted in the inter-ethnic violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 displaced from their homes.

"There are a lot of people in line, and it is going to take some time, and we are going to need to be very patient", said Kerry, chief election observer for The Carter Center.

To win the election, a candidate must win 50% + 1 of the votes, as well as 25% in at least 24 of 47 counties.

Incumbent president Kenyatta is seeking a second and final term in office for his Jubilee Party after narrowly winning the last election in 2013. This time around the stakes are higher, and many fear a repeat of the post-election violence a decade ago.

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.

Odinga comes from the Luo people in western Kenya, an area that has long felt neglected by the government and resentful of their perceived exclusion from political power.

Kenya's general elections kicked off on Tuesday, with almost 20 million eligible voters expected to cast their ballots at over 40,000 polling centers to elect public officials, including the president.

Voters cut sleep short and began to line up as early as 12 a.m.

Whatever happens, this will be the last battle of the dynasties: Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president, against Raila Odinga, the son of its first vice-president and a man who also spent much of his political career in opposition.

The electoral commission acknowledged the problem and said it is addressing the concerns.

"The choices you make in the coming days can either set Kenya back or bring it together", Obama said.

Nearly 20 million people are registered to cast their votes for a new president as well as members of parliament, senators, governors and local councilors.

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.

Hundreds of foreign observers, including former U.S. secretary of state John Kerry and former South African president Thabo Mbeki, as well as delegations from the European Union, are overseeing the election.


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