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Kenya on a knife edge ahead of high-stakes elections.

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Kenya on a knife edge ahead of high-stakes elections.

Kenyans head to the polls Tuesday to vote in a knife-edge contest between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga which has heightened claims of vote rigging and fears of violence.

The final days of campaigning have been marred by the murder and torture of a top election official, opposition claims one of its vote tallying centres was raided by police and a feverish atmosphere of conspiracy and suspicion.

The August 8 election is seen as a crucial test of Kenya’s progress since a disputed poll a decade ago led to two months of politically motivated ethnic clashes, which along with a police crackdown on protests left more than 1,100 dead and 600,000 displaced.

Kenyans will cast ballots in six different elections, but all eyes are on what is set to be the last showdown of a dynastic rivalry between the Kenyatta and Odinga families that has lasted more than half a century.

The men belong to two of the country’s main ethnic groups, Kenyatta from the Kikuyu, the largest, and Odinga the Luo. Both have secured formidable alliances with other influential communities in a country where voting takes place largely along tribal lines.

Polls are so tight the vote is seen as too close to call, and turnout will be crucial to either side’s success in the 48-million-strong east African nation.

The 72-year-old Odinga and  the head of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, is taking his fourth — and what many suspect will be his last — stab at the presidency. He claims both elections in 2007 and 2013 were stolen from him and is adamant Kenyatta’s Jubilee party is trying to do the same this time around.

 

Courtesy of Cpital News.

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