Kenyans go to polls today

Kenyans will today vote for a new president, MPs, senators, governors as well as county and women representatives. Peter Kenneth, Martha Karua, Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Uhuru Kenyatta, Mohammed Dida, Paul Muite and James ole Kiyiapi have for the past weeks been vote hunting to replace Mwai Kibaki as president.
L-R: Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta
L-R: Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyans will today vote for a new president, MPs, senators, governors as well as county and women representatives.

Peter Kenneth, Martha Karua, Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Uhuru Kenyatta, Mohammed Dida, Paul Muite and James ole Kiyiapi have for the past weeks been vote hunting to replace Mwai Kibaki as president.

The two leading presidential candidates are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a son of Kenya’s first Vice President, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta, and son of Jomo Kenyatta, the country’s founding president.

 Kenya, a member of the East African Community is widely seen as a nation that has demonstrated  democratic maturity, owing to its relative transfer of power in the past.

But that record was stained in 2007 when post election violence  killed atleast 1,200 people and displaced   600,000 others.

What Rwandans say

Sheikh Abdul Karim Harerimana, a member of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), said unlike the previous election, this time Kenya has stronger and more independent institutions, including electoral commission and the new constitution which are strong tools to ensure free elections.

He also observed that politicians fear being indicted by the International Criminal Court in Hague in case they fuel bloodshed as it was in previous polls. 

“I have a good experience with Kenyans. I was among the observers in previous elections. I went to different areas like in Nakuru, Rift valley and others and saw how people were viciously killed. However, this time around the world has turned eyes towards these elections and I don’t think we shall see what happened in 2007,” the lawmaker said.

Monique Mukaruliza, the Rwandan Minister in charge of East African Community affairs said free and fair elections in Kenya have a positive impact not only to the region but also on Africa as a continent.

She stated that she was hopeful about the elections since Kigali had received assurance from the outgoing Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.

“We have got assurance from Kenyan President that the polls will be free and transparent,” she said.

Last week, President Kibaki, through his envoy, in a message to President Paul Kagame  in which he reassured that business flows to Rwanda would not be interrupted during the polls.

Prof. Peter Rwanyindo Ruzirabwoba, the Director of Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) a local think tank advised that if Kenya is to remain peaceful, the candidates should put the future of the nation and the lives of the citizens above self.

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