Kenya's presidential candidates wrap up rallies ahead of key vote

NAIROBI, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival from National Super Alliance (NASA), Raila Odinga, on Saturday concluded their campaigns for votes by holding major rallies ahead of the Aug. 8 polls that are expected to be hotly contested. 

Kenyatta wrapped up his campaign for re-election with a massive rally at Nakuru's Afraha Stadium in northwest Kenya where he urged Kenyans to re-elect him to continue with development projects across the country. 

Kenyatta's main challenger, Odinga, addressed his supporters at a public park in central Nairobi where he called on his supporters to participate in Tuesday's elections to bring change and expressed his commitment to free, fair and peaceful elections. 

During the rally, Kenyatta said Kenya is much better than it was in 2013 when the Jubilee government took power. 

"We have laid down the foundation for prosperity and we now need to finish the job. We have an action plan to deliver more jobs, lower prices and improve peace and security," he said. 

He listed the achievements Kenya had made over the last four years, including the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and more than 7,000 kilometers of tarmac roads in the country. 

Kenyatta said under his reign Kenya has attracted more than 1,500 new companies and has hosted more than 50 world leaders including the Pope and a sitting U.S. president. 

He pledged that his administration will continue working for Kenyans diligently if given a second term. 

"On Aug. 8, come out in large numbers to send our rivals home for good," Kenyatta said, wrapping up one of the most intense campaigns in the country. 

He appealed to the Kenyan public to maintain peace during voting, tallying and announcement of election results. 

Kenyatta, who is pushing 56 this year, faces stiff competition in his re-election bid from the 72-year-old Odinga, who is making his fourth attempt at the presidency. 

Recent opinion polls indicated the two candidates are neck to neck in a tight race whose outcome will be determined by several factors including high voter turnout in their strongholds and ability to persuade undecided voters in battleground counties. 

Kenyatta said that he will focus on poverty alleviation and job creation for youth through financing of new infrastructure projects, industries and special economic zones if re-elected. 

"We have a vision of a united, prosperous and cohesive society that will contribute to the next phase of economic progress in this country," Kenyatta said, adding that his administration will pursue a path of development. 

On his part, NASA presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga pledged to address high cost of living, poverty, inequality and ethnicity once elected to occupy the highest office. 

"Our main goal once elected will be to re-energize the fight against poverty, corruption, inequality and youth unemployment that has slowed down our progress," said Odinga. 

He promised to unify the country and promote inclusive development if elected. 

He called on the police and the electoral body to ensure they maintain peace during the election day to avoid riots and chaos. 

"We are calling on every one, from the sick, weak, healthy and youth to show up and vote, hoping to get 99.1 percent turnout, and with that, we can have a victorious win," Odinga told his supporters. 

He called on the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC), the electoral body, to ensure the elections are credible. 

"We are asking the IEBC to give Kenyans transparent elections. We don't want them to manipulate numbers. The price of an independent nation is one that conducts its affairs openly and fairly and we ask the police to ensure they do not interfere and cause chaos," Odinga said. Enditem