- Kenyans are heading to the polls on Tuesday to select the successor to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
- Cost of living, high unemployment and rampant corruption have dominated the campaign season, with top presidential candidates Raila Odinga and William Ruto pledging to address the country’s gaping inequality and focusing largely on domestic issues.
Candidate’s lawyer alleges issues with electronic ID system
Nairobi, Kenya – A lawyer for Odinga’s One Kenya Coalition has sent a letter to the chairman of the election commission, decrying what he described as the “large number” of failures of the electronic identification system (KIEMS) kits used at polling stations.
Paul Mwangi wrote that the Odinga campaign was “appalled” by the alleged failures of the kits.
“The campaign is also appalled that the vast majority of these failures are occurring in the strong holds of [Odinga],” he wrote.
The election commission has maintained the KIEMS system, which was at the centre of a challenge by Odinga following the eventually annulled presidential election in 2017, makes voting more secure.
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The commission told Al Jazeera earlier in the day that minor issues had been reported at just 229 of the more than 46,000 polling stations in the country.
Youth ‘feel their votes don’t count’: Voter
Derrick Makolo, 25, a social worker, was voting in the Kilimani neighbourhood in Nairobi, Kenya.
Regarding the somewhat low voter registration rates among the youth, he said: “A lot of them feel that their votes don’t count which I don’t agree with, but they feel they’ve been electing leaders and nothing has been changing for them.”
“So, a lot of them have that opinion, that why should they go out and vote and things will remain the same?”
“But personally I’m out here because your vote definitely counts, because if you don’t vote, someone else will vote and determine who will enter and they may not push views favourable to the youth.”
European Union election observers visit polling sites
Touring a voting centre in Nairobi, Ivan Stefanec, the head of the EU’s election observation mission, said more than 160 observers had been stationed across Kenya.
“We are more than 160 observers basically working in pairs spending roughly 30 minutes in polling stations observing identification of voters, secrecy of voting and all the procedures and we also follow counting of votes and also transmission of results,” he said.
“We do believe that democracy is really very key and it is important that it is working that is what is common for European Union and for Kenya.”
Kenyans have started voting in presidential and parliamentary elections but many citizens desperate for relief from spiking food prices and deep-rooted corruption have little confidence the next government will deliver change.
Large numbers of young people have not registered to vote in the elections on Tuesday, electoral commission figures show. Many say they are frustrated by widening inequality and an entrenched political system overseen by the same familiar elite faces.