Kenyatta, Odinga campaign for votes before tight race

Presidential runners Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga try to win voters on final day of campaigning.

Kenya’s presidential candidates have attempting to win over voters on the final day of campaigning before Tuesday’s elections.

President Uhuru Kenyatta again faces longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga, the country’s former prime minister, in a narrowly contested vote which many fear could see violence.

Kenyatta is the son of Kenya’s first president; Odinga is the son of the country’s first vice president. 

The country’s 19.6 million eligible voters will also be selecting new MPs, governors, and senators.

Recent elections have been contested and more than 1,000 people were killed in post-election violence a decade ago.

Some in the East African nation have left the capital, Nairobi, because of the threat of chaos, while many plan to travel to their home regions elsewhere in Kenya to vote.

Raila Odinga was Kenya's prime minister between 2008 and 2013 [Simon Maina/AFP]
Raila Odinga was Kenya’s prime minister between 2008 and 2013 [Simon Maina/AFP]

The torture and killing in recent days of a key election official in charge of the electronic voting system has some concerned about the possibility of vote tampering.

Kenya: Land disputes top agenda as election nears

Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi, reporting from a Kenyatta rally in Nairobi on Saturday, said the leading contenders were making last-ditch pleas to the electorate.

“[Kenyatta] is campaigning on a platform of economic development and infrastructure investment,” she said.

He said that in the last four and half years, his government has been able to provide free maternal health to women, and tarmac hundreds of kilometres of road.”

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, at an Odinga rally in the same city, said there were fears in the crowd about how fair the upcoming vote would be.

“The Odinga camp is very hopeful of victory but they’re telling their supporters they will not allow anything other than free and transparent elections,” he said.

“They want to put pressure on the institutions of government to ensure that the elections are credible,” Adow added.

READ MORE: Why Kenya’s presidential election on August 8 matters

In a related development on Saturday, Kenya’s main opposition party said that an American and a Canadian who were assisting its campaign were taken from their homes the previous day and detained.

James Orengo, a senior member of the opposition National Super Alliance, said the detentions took place at around the same time that armed and masked police raided an opposition vote counting centre, intimidating workers and seizing equipment.

A police official said immigration officials were holding the American and the Canadian at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies