Reports from Kenya have suggested a certain voter apathy in this year’s general election campaign — only 22.1 million of the nation’s roughly 55 million people have registered to vote — but photos from the country Tuesday suggest an electorate that is passionate about the ballot and the issues at hand.
There have been long lines at polling stations since the day broke across Kenya, in villages and the nation’s largest cities alike — as Kenyans vote for a new president and members of Parliament.
The front-runners for the presidency are a pair of long-standing politicians: the former prime minister Raila Odinga, 77, and current deputy president, William Ruto, 55. Odinga leads the One Kenya Coalition and is hoping the fifth time might be the charm; he has run in four previous elections. It’s a first try for Ruto, who heads the Kenya Kwanza alliance. The vote comes in the wake of a campaign dominated by charges of corruption against both sides, as well as unemployment and rising costs of living.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has held two five-year terms — and as in the U.S., Kenya’s constitution allows no third term. Kenyatta has backed Odinga — despite the fact that he hails from the opposition party.
These photos are snapshots of the vote — and that passion — taken from just a few of the more than 46,000 polling stations that are open.
To win the presidential race in the first round, a candidate must win more than half of all the votes counted across the country — and at least a quarter of the votes counted in a minimum of 24 counties.
Along with the passion have come pledges from all sides to respect the result.
“I think for the first time in the history of multi-party democracy in Kenya, all the candidates have undertaken that they will accept the outcome of the results,” Ruto told the BBC.