Economy, political permutations at centre of Kenyan election

Economy, political permutations at centre of Kenyan election

A woman casts her ballot at the Kibera primary school in Nairobi [Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP Photo]
Tuesday’s vote is seen as a key test of stability for the East African powerhouse and a referendum on the president’s economic legacy.

Nairobi, Kenya – Kenyans will vote on Tuesday for a successor to outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in what is seen as an important test of the stability of one of Africa’s healthiest democracies.

Voting begins at 06:00 (03:00 GMT) local time and continues until 18:00 (15:00 GMT). The stakes are high in his seventh consecutive election in the country since his 1992 return to multiparty democracy under Daniel Arap Moi.

Four candidates are on the ballot, but only his two are the most suitable to succeed Kenyatta. One, Vice President William Root, 55, is considered a student of Moi and rose to national prominence in the 1992 election as a youth fighter for the ruling party.

He confronts 77-year-old ex-Prime Minister Laila Odinga, one of the civil society leaders involved in the fight against the Moi in the 1980s and imprisoned by the Moi. He led the 60-year-old by six points in the poll, which his opponents dismissed as “fake” and “propaganda.”

Tuesday’s poll of votes is seen as an important test of the stability of a country seen as a healthy democracy in a region known for its longtime dictators. Kenya is also an economic hub in East Africa. Yes, and neighboring countries are watching the vote with interest.

Citizens also vote for governors, legislatures, and other representatives.

Plans and alliances

The election is also a referendum on the president and his economic legacy.

Unemployment is rampant in Kenya, with more than a third of young people out of work, a situation exacerbated by supply disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Magdalen Kariuki, public policy director at the Nairobi office of the Africa Practice, told Al Jazeera: “Food inflation rose from 12.4% in May to about 18.8% in June, but the government is working hard to ensure stabilization and ease Kenyans.” It has pledged to inject Kenyan shillings ($1.68 billion) into the economy to create job opportunities.

He launched a campaign to seize power from the dynasty, citing that the political careers of Kenyatta and Odinga predate those of their fathers who led the country as first president and vice president respectively.

Meanwhile, Odinga’s campaign pledged to pay poor and vulnerable households across the country his 6,000 Kenyan shillings (US$50) during the first 100 days of his term, as well as his health care plan called BabaCare. provided.
Despite making peace with longtime enemy Kenyatta, veteran opposition figures have fought under the slogan ‘Freedom is here’. His 2018 truce between them, known in Kenya as the “Handshake,” ended animosity between the duo.

But the beginning of new friendships between old enemies was also the beginning of new animosities between old friends. Root, formerly the founding candidate and Kenyatta’s anointed successor, effectively exchanged positions with opposition figure Odinga.

Azimio La Umoja, who holds the ruling Jubilee Party, seeks to consolidate Odinga’s power by helping him win the fifth presidential election.

But there is also the Kenyan Kwanzaa movement, led by Root, which includes many established politicians, his own family members, and other opposition elements who resent Kenyatta’s presidency.

Voter logistics

The Independent Boundary Election Commission (IEBC) is under pressure to run elections smoothly, especially after the Supreme Court ordered a rerun of the presidential election.

On Monday, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that gubernatorial elections in Mombasa and Kakamega counties would be called off due to an election mix-up. Seven police officers were fired earlier in the week for various crimes, including meeting with local politicians in western Kenya.

This could affect voter turnout in other counties due to concerns about voter indifference. Of the
million registered voters, only one-third are between the ages of 18 and 35, while two-thirds of the 56 million Kenyans are under the age of 35.

Credit/Source : Aljazeera

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