Kenyatta Urges Kenyans To Shun Violence Before Tense Election

Calm before the Kenyan election storm

Reaction to the result could partly depend on the performance of Kenya's electoral commission, which will collect vote counts from more than 40,000 polling stations.

Last week, one senior election official was found murdered, his body displaying signs of torture.

"We are fearful because before there was rigging and that led to violence", said orange seller Christine Okoth. More than 14,000 candidates are standing in those elections.

The 55-year-old, accompanied by his wife Margaret, his mother and two of his three children, urged Kenyans to vote peacefully and go home to await the results.

Recently, a politician from Odinga's National Super Alliance opposition coalition asked ticket agents at the station to check the voting card of travellers to make sure they were registered where they were travelling, said Lary Taja, an agent at Machakos.

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Voters will choose between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and veteran challenger Raila Odinga.

Editar Ochieng, a resident of the Nairobi slum Kibera, where clashes broke out in 2007, has sent her two daughters out of town for the duration of the elections. 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.

Election officials say the victor of Kenya's presidential race must get more than 50% of the votes as well as one-quarter or more votes in at least 24 of Kenya's 47 counties. Fifty-five year-old Kenyatta's father was the first President of Kenya, while Odinga's father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga served as his vice president, before the two had a falling out in 1966, giving way to major political rivalries across ethnic lines. I urge all Kenyans to work for an election - and aftermath - that is peaceful and credible, reinforcing confidence in your new Constitution and the future of your country.

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

Alfred Nganga, a press liaison for Nakumatt, Kenya's largest supermarket chain, said the volume of customers Monday was the largest in recent weeks.

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Many voters see Kenyatta as the candidate of the Kikuyu people, the country's largest ethnic group, while Odinga is seen as representing the Luo.

Polling staff will be accompanied by security officials and polling stations will be heavily guarded to enable voters to exercise their democratic rights, said electoral commission CEO Ezra Chiloba.

Vote counting got underway in several parts of Kenya Tuesday evening following close of polling at the official time: 5pm EAT.

The atmosphere at several polling stations in Nairobi was relaxed as eager voters queued in orderly lines to vote.

Chris Msando had spent the previous weeks on television telling Kenyans that the new decentralized, electronic voting system was rig proof.

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Over 150,000 police officers have been deployed to provide security to election officials and to ensure everything runs smoothly across around 41,000 polling stations in the country. Talk of "fake news" has flavored the campaign debate as global observers, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, seek to ensure a fair vote.

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