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Low Turnout in Kenya's Do-Over Election Raises Concerns

October 27,2017 00:09

Just before midnight on Thursday, with more than 90 percent of the returns received at the national tallying center, elections officials said slightly more than 6.5 million Kenyans had voted — only one third of those registered. In August, nearly 15 ...and more »


Ordinary Kenyans have had just about enough, losing patience even with the candidate they support.
Jeremy Maganga, a 45-year-old scrap metal dealer from Kibera, said he voted for Mr. Kenyatta, but he also blamed him, in part, for the fragile political — and economic — situation. Mr. Maganga said that business had dropped off dramatically since the court called for a new election, and that it was hard to put food on the table.
“It’s destroying families,” he said. “The children are demanding things, the wife is demanding things. It creates tension.”
Wycliff Wanyonyi, another scrap dealer, agreed. “You feel ashamed,” he said. “You can’t meet their expectations. So you go home at night when everyone is asleep.”
Mr. Wanyonyi, 35, also voted for Mr. Kenyatta, and the first thing he wants the president to do is reach out to his longtime rival.
“There is a need of dialogue, and of reconciliation,” Mr. Wanyonyi said. “We Kenyans need each other, at the end of the day.”
For Victor Joseph, a 23-year-old poll worker in Kibera, the fragility of the political situation had turned into futility. After the dramatic twists and turns of two presidential campaigns this year, and the deadlock that has emerged between the two men, Mr. Joseph said wasn’t convinced that voting mattered.
“What effect will it have on the outcome for the country?” he said. Without a political dialogue between the two rivals, and an agreement on a path forward for Kenya, there seemed to be little point to the exercise. “Otherwise, I can’t see if anything will change.”

Elections,Kenya,Kenyatta Uhuru Muigai,Odinga Raila

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