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Rallies see final pitches in Kenya presidential poll

By OTIATO OPALI in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-09 09:54
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A vote-tallying center in Kilgoris is readied on Sunday ahead of Kenya's election on Tuesday. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP

As Kenya's general election campaigns come to an end, all four presidential candidates in this year's race addressed their last grand rallies on Saturday as they attempt to woo the hearts of the electorate to their side.

Raila Odinga, candidate for the Azimio la Umoja coalition, and William Ruto, the Kenya Kwanza coalition's candidate and incumbent deputy president, have each projected a win in the polls on Tuesday, which pollsters have said are too close to call.

In their final submissions on Saturday, the two front-runners urged their supporters to turn out in large numbers in an election considered to be the closest in Kenya's recent history.

In addition to fighting corruption, Odinga's campaign pledge included cash transfers for the poor and negotiating a debt restructuring. Ruto, on the other hand, sought to align himself with Kenyans struggling against a high cost of living crisis by championing his "Bottom-Up" economic model.

The national government has assured Kenyans of its commitment to ensuring that the security of all Kenyans is guaranteed and that elections are conducted peacefully. Various state agencies have completed the necessary preparations to facilitate the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to carry out a free and fair poll.

Cyrus Oguna, the government spokesman, said on Saturday that the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology has rolled out reliable, efficient and flexible information and communication technology infrastructure for seamless communication support for the electoral process.

Additionally, the Interior Ministry has heightened security measures across the nation with the aim of enhancing peace during the elections.

"I urge the public to come out in large numbers on D-day to exercise their civic right by voting in their leaders of choice," Oguna said.

On Friday, embassies and high commissions in Kenya from countries including Australia, Canada and the Czech Republic released a joint statement on the general elections, saying that they fully support work to build a more inclusive and equitable political system, and will continue to do so after this election has concluded.

To win outright, a candidate must secure more than half the overall votes as well as a minimum of 25 percent of the votes in more than half of Kenya's 47 counties. The electoral commission has up to seven days to declare a winner or call for a runoff. Voters will also elect members of parliament and county governors in this week's elections.

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