Kenyans go to the polls in crucial election..15 killed
Kenyans have begun voting in an election that observers are describing as the most important in the country’s history.
It is the first time a vote has taken place under a new constitution, designed to prevent a repeat of violence that followed the 2007 polls.
More than 1,000 people died when supporters of rival candidates clashed over a contested result.
Security has been stepped up and candidates have appealed for calm.
Kenyans will choose a president, members of parliament and senators, county governors and members of the newly-formed county assembly.
However, the BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse in the capital Nairobi says all eyes are on the presidency.
Eight candidates are standing but it is essentially a two-horse race pitting Prime Minister Raila Odinga against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, he says.
The count was underway by gas-light across Kenya tonight in what is being seen as the country’s most important election in a generation.
First light this morning revealed crowds of voters, many of whom spent the night outside polling stations in their determination to cast their ballots. A nervous start to the day was assured by the news that at least 15 people had been killed in pre-dawn attacks blamed on separatist groups along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast. Later, the country’s deputy speaker of parliament said gunmen had attacked two polling stations near the border with Somalia.
The contest pits Raila Odinga, the man most observers believe was denied a narrow victory at the last polls against Uhuru Kenyatta, a politician due in the dock at The Hague for his alleged role in the post-election violence that killed more than 1,300 people in 2007.
Despite today’s killings near Mombasa, the worst that most voters had to contend with for the rest of the day were epic queues produced by the combination of a record turnout and delays inflicted by a new computerised voter identification system. “They told us to come in large numbers and now we’ve come they can’t handle us,” said Calvin Odongo, a pharmaceuticals worker who was forced to wait for eight hours in the centre of Nairobi.
the price of voting and holding elections is death for some..we await the results to see which puppet will take over the baton for the west..its probably already decided anyway..