Obama Weighs in on Kenyan Election

Women pray on the streets of Eldoret town Uasin Gishu County

Voting got underway shortly after 6am local time and all eyes are on an electronic voter identification and tallying system whose success is seen as crucial to a smooth election.

In the previous polls, opposition leader Raila Odinga had claimed that 2 million votes were used to rig the election.

Like many elections in Kenyan history, the vote is looking fraught.

The voting process is running smoothly in many parts of the country, but some parts have experienced a few technical issues that caused delay in the process.

A key concern was whether Kenya would echo its 2013 election - a mostly peaceful affair despite opposition allegations of vote-tampering - or the 2007 election, which led to violence fuelled by ethnic divisions that killed more than 1,000 people.

About 5.2 million Kenyans will vote for the first time, according to the electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which also stated that more than half of the registered voters are aged between 18 and 35, reflecting the influence of the group on the presidential election. "They had to finish with me before letting someone else in", Tom Bunde, a voter said.

In 2007, a dispute over the election victor flared into violence that left about 1,400 people dead, and the specter of another clash hovers over this year's race.

Chief EU observer Marietje Schaake said polling stations were busy and people were eager to cast their vote. If neither candidate secures more than 50 per cent of the vote then there will be a second round.

Mr Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president after independence from British colonial rule, campaigned on a record of major infrastructure projects, many backed by China, and claimed strong economic growth.

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"If the elections are not fair, if there was rigging, people will definitely go to the streets", said Sophia Ajwang, a 29-year-old student.

Polling station clerks for the 2017 Kenyan General Elections discuss at a polling station in Nairobi, on August 07, 2017.

"We commend (election officials) for the good job so far. we also wish to commend security agencies for the professionalism displayed so far", he said in a news conference about an hour before polls were due to close at 1400 GMT.

"I just came from casting my vote and I want to go home early and wait for the results".

With many people still waiting, some centres remained open beyond the official end of voting to ensure people in the queue could cast their ballots.

Long lines of voters snaked outside of polling stations around the country, many of them camping out from before midnight, under heavy security.

Former US president Barack Obama led worldwide calls for peace Monday ahead of Kenyan elections seen as too close to call, with fears that violence could flare in east Africa's richest economy.

Hundreds of foreign observers, including former USA secretary of state John Kerry and former South African president Thabo Mbeki, as well as delegations from the European Union, are overseeing the election.

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