Vote counting is underway following Kenya’s general elections. Voters endured long lines Monday to cast ballots for the country’s fourth president and a host of other elected positions.
Voters began lining up in the early morning hours at this polling station in Gatundu.
Huge turnout across the country overwhelmed polling stations, and many, like Lucas Nganga, waited hours to vote.
“This is the first election after the inauguration of the new constitution,” said Nganga. “And this is why it’s a democracy that’s going to work, because it’s a majority that’s going to decide for the next government.”
With a new constitution in effect since 2010, Kenyans are for the first time voting for new elected positions including senators, governors and women’s representatives.
But the main focus is on the presidential race.
Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta voted in Gatundu Monday.
Kenyatta is facing charges at the International Criminal Court that he helped organize the violence that erupted after the last election in 2007.
He said this election should be about peace.
“Kenya will be there after this election and it is for all of us to understand that, and to understand that peace and our unity as a nation is the most important and critical aspect,” said Kenyatta. “Any issues that one may have, there is due process, there are the courts and everything else, which we should follow as opposed to inciting our supporters one way or the other.”
In Nairobi, another presidential candidate, Prime Minister Raila Odinga also cast his ballot.
He and Kenyatta are neck and neck in recent polls, but both predict victory.
“I am very confident that we are going to win these elections in the first round,” said Odinga.
An early-morning attack on police threatened to disrupt voting in Coast Province. Several police officers were killed in the violence blamed on a separatist organization that has boycotted the vote.
Now the vote count is underway at the national election center in Nairobi.
Results are being sent in from polling centers around the country and being tabulated here.
The winner will be announced when all the votes are in. If no candidate in the presidential race gets more than 50 percent, the race will go to a run-off in April. VOA