Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday expressed his confidence that Kenyans would give him another five-year mandate to finish the job.
The president on Tuesday cast his vote at Mutomo Primary School in his birthplace of Gatundu, Kiambu County. Speaking to journalists, Kenyatta said he was confident of winning because he ran a positive campaign.
“I feel good. I feel positive because we ran a positive campaign,” said Kenyatta who was accompanied by his family including First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and his mother, former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, and two of his three children.
Voting opened in Kenya’s presidential, parliamentary and gubernatorial elections Tuesday with 19.6 million voters expected at over 40,000 poll centres to elect 1,882 public officials, including the president.
Thousands of voters started trooping to polling stations as early as 1 am Tuesday, hours ahead of the official voting time of 6 a.m. to vote for their choice.
Kenyatta said his party ran on a platform of peace, harmony and progress that resonated with Kenyans.
The president called for peace, urging Kenyans to vote peacefully and go back to their homes to await the results.
“Vote and go home to wait for the results,” the president said in response to a question about what his message to Kenyans was on election day. He urged Kenyans to safeguard the stability of the country.
The Head of State will spend the day in Gatundu visiting neighbours, and waiting for the results to come from the electoral body.
Some 19.6 million Kenyans will vote to elect the country’s fifth president, 290 members of parliament, 47 county governors, similar number of senators and women representatives and several hundred county representatives.
Eight candidates are contesting for the presidency–Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee Party, National Super Alliance (NASA)’s Raila Odinga, Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Others are Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance, Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change (ARC), and Independent candidates Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kavinga.
However, tight contest is expected between the incumbent and Odinga.
The seat for County Ward Representative has attracted the most number of candidates totaling 11,857, followed by the position of the member of National Assembly where 1,893 candidates have been cleared to run.
The Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) cleared 210 candidates to vie for various gubernatorial posts across the country.
The Senate contest has attracted 256 contestants while 299 women have been cleared to contest for the 47 County Woman Representative posts across the country.
Polling stations is scheduled to open as early as 6 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning across the country and close at 6:00 p.m.in the evening, with voting being extended in areas where more time is needed.
Kenyans of over 18 years are eligible to vote but one must be a registered voter to be allowed to cast the ballot.
About 5.2 million Kenyans will vote for the first time.
The electoral body also stated that 53 per cent of those registered are male compared to 47 per cent female.
According to IEBC, about 51 per cent of the registered voters represents persons aged between 18 and 35.
Results are expected to start trickling in by Tuesday evening and by Wednesday evening, the country’s next president will be known, although the electoral body will have seven days to officially announce the results.