NAIROBI: Some 22.1 million Kenyans will vote on Aug. 9 to elect, among others, the country’s fifth president, members of the National Assembly, senators, and county governors, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The polling stations across the country will be opened at 6 a.m., local time, Tuesday, and close at 6 p.m. with voting being extended in areas that will not have finished.
Only Kenyans who are 18 years and above are eligible to vote, but one must have registered as a voter to be allowed to cast the ballot.
Results are expected to start trickling in from Tuesday evening, although the IEBC constitutionally has seven days to officially name the winner.
The constitution stipulates that for one to win the presidential election, a candidate must receive over 50 percent of the total votes cast and at least 25 percent of the votes in at least 24 of the 47 counties.
A runoff is scheduled within 30 days of the first election if no candidate receives more than half of the votes cast in the election and at least 25 percent of the votes cast in 24 counties.
Those to take part in the runoff will be the first and second candidates and the person who receives the most votes in the fresh election is declared elected as president.
A president-elect is sworn in on the 14th day after the date of the declaration of the results of the presidential election. And that is only if the results are not challenged at the Supreme Court or there is no runoff.
Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta will not be eligible to contest as he is constitutionally barred from having served the maximum two terms.
The two leading candidates are veteran opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and sitting Deputy President William Ruto.
The elections are hotly contested, with President Kenyatta backing Odinga. The most recent opinion polls have shown a tight race between Odinga of the Azimio la Umoja (Resolution for Unity) One Kenya Coalition, and Ruto of Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) Alliance.
Both candidates have urged their supporters to turn out in large numbers to guarantee a round-one win to avoid a runoff.