Kenyans Vote in Presidential Election, Amid Fears of Violence

Uhuru and Ruto praying at the church service

Uhuru and Ruto praying at the church service

This time around, a new electronic system commissioned by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be used to count the votes.

Kenyans were on Tuesday forced to wait in line for hours outside polling stations as new identification systems caused delays in a crucial presidential election held amid fears of a repeat of the violence that marred the 2007 general election. The turnout in the 2013 election was more than 86%.

Millions of registered voters in Kenya go to polls today in one of the most closely watched elections on the African continent. Still, most of Odinga's overtures toward women has been complimenting women from Meru on their skin (a result of the local potatoes, he said), and calling on women to abstain from sex with their husbands to ensure that they vote.

The two leading candidates' fathers Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga were allies in the struggle for independence, but later became bitter rivals, setting the stage for decades of political rancour. In 2007, the disputed vote escalated in to violence that left at least 1,300 people dead and 600,000 displaced from their homes.

NAIROBI, KENYA - AUGUST 8: People gather to vote at a polling station at Olympic Primary School in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, on August 8, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

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Kenyatta is seeking a second and final term in office and has called for unity, saying he would accept the result.

Heavily booked buses are ferrying Kenyans back to their hometowns, for some in order to vote where they are registered, but for others it is due to fears of post-election violence in the areas where they live.

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Kenyans on Tuesday started voting in a fiercely contested election that pits Kenyatta against challenger Raila Odinga.

From first-time voters to those bent with age, from urbanites to ethnic Samburu warriors, thousands descended upon polling stations long before dawn to cast their ballots.

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More than 180,000 agents from various organs of state security are also believed to have been deployed for the election.

Ahead of this vote, Kenya's Catholic bishops issued an appeal for peace, noting the relatively calm manner in which the political campaigns have been conducted.

The electoral commission acknowledged the problem and said it is addressing the concerns. Kenyatta won by a thin margin, with just over 50 percent of the vote; Odinga alleged voting irregularities and took his case to Kenya's highest court, which ruled in Kenyatta's favor by validating the results.

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. Maraga spoke after meeting former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is among global observers who will be monitoring the election.

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