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Nairobi: A city divided

Kenyans in the nation's capital speak to Al Jazeera about their candidate of choice as election day nears.
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2013 16:22
Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga held competing rallies on Saturday in Nairobi [James Brownsell/Al Jazeera]

Nairobi, Kenya - These are the final hours of one of the most closely watched elections in East Africa's recent history. As the clock ticks down to Kenya's polling day on Monday, both leading campaigns have sought to pump up their supporters with mass rallies here in the country's capital.

Uhuru Kenyatta's TNA alliance held court on Saturday in Nairobi's Uhuru Park, while just across the traffic-logged city, Raila Odinga's CORD alliance packed out the national Nyayo stadium.

The parties are deadlocked in the most recent polls, mere percentage points separating them - and all predictions are within the margin of error, meaning these last-minute attempts to boost turnout may mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Amid the crowds, the noise, the crush and the excitement, Al Jazeera's James Brownsell spoke to supporters of both parties.
Joseph Moshiri, truck driver
[James Brownsell/Al Jazeera]
 
"I'm supporting Uhuru Kenyatta. I am like any Kenyan, I love everyone - he love all Kenyans too.

"We have 42 languages in Kenya, and we love them all. We love Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.

"We will win - first round, we will win. It's because of the people and their love. Uhuru is coming to bring uhuru ["freedom" in Swahili] to Kenya.

Ann Wangoye, businesswoman
[James Brownsell/Al Jazeera]
 
"I believe Uhuru will bring the reform we want. He's a new face - we want a new face, not the same as before.

"We will win by 10am. Raila will still be sleeping by the time we have won.

"Kenyatta will help us find jobs for the youth, build infrastructure, have better education and fight corruption."

Mariam Mulela, secretary
[James Brownsell/Al Jazeera]
 
"For one thing, Uhuru is a guy who loves peace, who loves democracy. He loves interacting with people - he's a leader and he has a human heart. 

"This generation, which is so young, he's someone we can trust, he's a man who will bring change.

"He's God-fearing, and is a leader who can unite the citizens of Kenya and stand against corruption.

"Whoever comes in [to power], we will be accept the results - we want peace. If it's Raila, if it's Uhuru, we're ready for that. All we need is peace."

Queenter Oudam and Judy Oduor, students
 
[James Brownsell/Al Jazeera]

"We are here because we want to vote for Raila. We want to show our support.

"Since we vote on Monday, this is the final lap. This is the mother of all rallies.

"He has changed this country's constitution, and brought major development - like wider highways. He has also supported free secondary education. So we want him to do more, to carry on in this direction, to continue with these developments.

"Alongside all that, it is him who has helped reduce tribalism in this country. Forget what Kenyatta supporters are saying - they are just joking. Odinga is the man."

Morris Okoth, salesman
 
[James Brownsell/Al Jazeera]
"I support Odinga because he is a fighter. He has fought for democracy since independence. He has brought in a new constitution, which is good because we now have freedom of speech - unlike before.

"We also have a better system of governance. Devolution is the best thing because now we can have equal distribution of resources.

"He will change our country. He's an engineer by profession, and we're facing a lot of problems in infrastructure development. Because he's an engineer, we think he will understand these issues better than others, and will be able to help more.

"If Odinga doesn't win, the people from his region, Nyanza - the same region as [US President Barack] Obama's family - the people of this region will feel neglected and there will be regional balance in terms of governance."

Pascalia Rdhait, Katherina Ayako and Irene Ongacha
 
[James Brownsell/Al Jazeera]
"We love Raila, he's a lovely man, a peaceful man. He's not a tribalist, he's a good Kenyan leader; a good man.

"He's a caring man, he loves everybody. Everybody has the same view of their candidate. Kenyatta's people love him, we love Odinga. 

"Odinga is a sympathetic man, if you have a problem, he will help you.

"Our children - some are in Saudi Arabia, and five more are in Dubai. Here in Kenya, life is hard - we think Raila can change our life. When he becomes president, our lives will change. We need change. 

"We need change from this country's fourth president - who will be Raila Odinga. He's the only one who can change our lives."

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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