Kenya’s Tuesday presidential election saw a lower turnout than anticipated, as electorates cast their votes to determine the country’s next leader.
How did it go?
The election, which was considered close but calm, had a turnout of around 60%(less than the previous 80% in 2017) as voters expressed indifference about any expectation of real change. Economy and widespread corruption have been the main issues in the buildup to the election, which saw a dramatic change of alignment as outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta is reported to favour a victory by longtime rival, 77 years old Raila Odinga.
How do the contestants stand?
The East African country is projected to see a presidential runoff – the first time in its history – unless one of the candidates gets more votes than pre-election polls suggest. While Raila Odinga, a democracy campaigner who has had his eyes on the presidency for more than 20 years, remains favourite, he faces a stiff challenge from 55-year-old Deputy President William Ruto, who used his rise from a humble childhood to appeal to struggling Kenyans.
What does a candidate need to win?
To be declared the outright winner, a candidate must have polled more than half of all votes cast, and have a minimum of 25% of the votes in more than half of Kenya’s 47 counties. In the absence of this, a runoff election will be conducted within 30 days. Expressing hope of an unusual victory, Ruto drew attention to the significant influence that the electorates – many of whom are regular struggling citizens – wield at times like this. “In moments like this is when the mighty and the powerful come to the realization that it is the simple and the ordinary that eventually make the choice,” he told journalists.