Polling begins in Kenya elections

Polling begins in Kenya elections

The commission thanked Kenyans for putting confidence in them to conduct this high-stakes general election and also thanked all voters, especially first-time voters for participating in polling.

"I have come here to vote because good leadership comes from God", Lydia Gathoni Kiingati said. But if he does not win, it's ok.

Kenyan journalist Bernice Mbugua said Monday the military had initially prevented vehicles from heading to Lamu because of fears that al-Shabab militants, who have been operating in dense forest in the area, would attack vehicles.

The election commission has said that about 25% of polling stations will not have network coverage, meaning officials will have to move to find a better signal and transmit results by satellite phones. Many Maasai urged peaceful acceptance of the elections results, in contrast to the violence that broke out after the 2007 elections, which killed more than 1,000 people.

President Uhuru prays to God to give Kenya peace, tranquility and protection ahead of the elections.

The two main candidates in this election are well-known to Kenyans. However Odinga took his grievances to the courts instead of the streets, where he lost.

Both candidates are so certain of victory, that Nic Cheeseman, professor of African politics at Birmingham University, warns they may have "talked themselves into a corner" in which defeat is not an option.

Kenyans 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.

NASA will accept defeat should it conclude Tuesday's vote was free and fair, principal and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula has said.

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"We are fearful because before there was rigging and that led to violence", said orange seller Christine Okoth.

"May the stronger candidate win tomorrow", he said.

Polling stations across the country are already open with thousands already queued up to cast their ballots.

The two dynasties have always been rivals, and Kenyans feel so strongly about the vote that ambulances have been ferrying bed-bound patients to polling stations.

A total of 19 million Kenyans are registered to cast their ballots. Half are aged under 35. There were vague reports of "insecurity" at a few polling places, but mostly the vote seems to have been peaceful and orderly.

In addition to a new president, Kenyans are electing lawmakers and local representatives, the result of a 2010 constitution that devolved power and money to the counties, reducing the "winner takes all" nature of the presidential race that helped unleash previous ethnic violence.

Officials and politicians have called for calm in what is mainly a contest between sitting president Uhuru Kenyatta 55 and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga 72.

Kenyatta and Odinga originate from opposing tribes.

However Kenyatta is criticised for soaring food prices - with prices jumping 20 percent year-on-year in May - and massive corruption scandals on his watch.

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