Election excitement


Nairobi traffic is always bad; the difference at the moment are the matatus and buses decorated to campaign for Presidential candidates. The race continues to be close between current President Mwai Kibaki of the Party of National Unity, and his main opponent Raila Odinga of Orange Democratic Movement. The campaign is colorful – with the PNU’s red & blue and “Kazi Iendelee” (“keep working together”) competing with ODM’s bright orange hues for space on billboards, hats, scarves, and matatus.

Kibaki has the benefit of the backing of his Kikuyu tribe (the largest in Kenya) and 6% economic growth under his leadership last year, but he is criticized for his failure to address corruption and tribalism during his first term. And at age 76, he has a hard time keeping up with Odinga’s charisma and energy in the campaign. Odinga’s billboards picture him holding up a small baby to the clouds and read “Giving hope to the next generation” and “The People’s President.” Odinga is well-liked by young voters – it is common to see crowds of young men running around with oranges and chanting his name – but he seems to unsettle many (he is accused of involvement in a planned 1982 coup to topple President Moi, and of having ‘authoritarian tendencies.’)

14 million voters are registered for the December 27 election – so keep your eyes on the news from Kenya. This would be the first time in history that a President has been voted out of office.

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One Response to “Election excitement”

  1. More News from Nairobi « Immersion Says:

    […] is hard to believe that my post from Jomo Kenyatta Aiport, with all of its excitement and hope for the election, was written only two weeks ago. I vividly […]

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