Kenyans are expected to turn out in huge numbers today to vote in the country’s first election since the disputed polls in 2007 left more than 1,100 people dead.
Close to 100,000 police officers and reservists will stand guard at the 33,000 polling stations to deter a repeat of the clashes. Yesterday, in churches, family homes, parks and on buses, Kenyans of all faiths gathered pray for peace during and after the vote.
At the African Inland Church in Jericho, a suburb of the capital, Nairobi, Reverend Joseph Ndebe told 400 Christians that by voting, Kenyans were showing faith in their country.
“All registered Kenyans are expected to be casting their vote, they will be showing what they believe in,” Mr Ndebe said during the Sunday service. More than 80 per cent of Kenyans are Christian and the Church carries great influence.
More than 14 million people are registered for the elections, the first since the disputed vote in 2007 led to six weeks of violence as supporters of rival politicians fought. More than 1,133 people died and more than 600,000 were forced to leave their homes.
Those clashes caught many by surprise. This time, extensive efforts have been made to unite divided parts of the country and to remind voters that the chaos after the last election must not happen again.
At separate final campaign rallies in Nairobi, the two leading presidential candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, urged supporters gathered in a city park and a sports stadium, and millions more watching on TV, that polls must be peaceful.