Middle East

Kenya eagerly awaits close vote results

Kenyans were awaiting the results of the country’s presidential election yesterday after a largely peaceful poll.
Vice President William Ruto and Laila Odinga, a veteran opposition leader now backed by the ruling party, vowed to keep their cool after Tuesday’s poll, but memories of past election-related violence remains fresh to many Kenyans.
Officials counted the ballots overnight under the watchful eye of observers as the Independent Electoral Boundary Commission (IEBC), which must announce its results by August 16, was under pressure. The complex process of verifying and tallying votes is expected to take days, and IEBC chairman Wahra Chebukati, desperate to avoid allegations of fraud that have plagued previous polls, said Kenyans He encouraged them to be patient.
Kenyans, who lined up to vote before dawn, voted in six rounds of elections on Tuesday to elect a new president, senators, governors, members of parliament, women legislators and some 1,500 county officials. Despite early enthusiasm, however, voter turnout was significantly lower than usual, suggesting that, for at least some Kenyans, patience with the political system has run out.
Anthony Kemboi, a 24-year-old alumnus of Eldoret, home of the Root’s Rift Valley, told AFP that voter disillusionment was to blame. “Years of false promises have made people … underperform compared to the past,” he said. According to his latest IEBC figures, voter turnout was just above 65%, with polls still taking place in Wazir county, where a shootout forced officials to postpone the polls until Wednesday.
This compares with a final voter turnout of 78% in the contested elections in August 2017. In the lakeside town of Kisumu, the fortress of Odinga, former civil servant Koga Edward said the young Kenyan simply did not show up. “Most of our young people are just good at attending political rallies and not participating in the actual voting process,” the 65-year-old man told AFP.
“Personally, I didn’t even vote because I didn’t care anymore,” said Caroline Mwangi, 31, a waitress in Nairobi, Kenya.
Politicians “tell the same old story and do nothing for us,” she told AFP. Others said they just wanted the election cycle to end so they could focus on putting food on the table in a country hit by skyrocketing inflation and an unemployment crisis. I’m not going to waste any more time,” 28-year-old IT specialist Celestine Muoki told AFP.
Gabriel Lynch, a professor of comparative politics at England’s University of Warwick, said the drop in voter turnout was a result of politicians’ tendency to “promise a lot and then not deliver enough”. “Unfortunately, many Kenyans are becoming more and more skeptical of the political class,” she told AFP. Few Kenyans expect either Odinga to accept the outcome without being challenged.
After President Uhuru Kenyatta (who cannot run for office again) surprises the nation by teaming up with former enemy Odinga, 77, his supposed successor, Ruto, 55, is banished to the sidelines. I noticed that. Since then, Root has established himself as an advocate for ‘hustlers’ trying to survive in a country ruled by a ‘dynasty’. The Kenyatta and Odinga families have dominated Kenyan politics since independence from Britain in 1963.
With a third of Kenya’s population living in poverty, economic pressures weighed heavily on voters even before the war in Ukraine sent prices of essential commodities skyrocketing. Some observers speculate that the economy may even outweigh tribal affiliation as a primary motivator for Kenya’s 22 million registered voters. Her two other candidates are also in the race, and if neither Root nor Odinga receives more than her 50% share of the vote, Kenya could hold a runoff vote for the first time in its history. .



http://www.gulf-times.com/story/722519/Kenya-waits-impatiently-for-results-of-close-fough Kenya eagerly awaits close vote results

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