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15 Nov 2007 16:30
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday lodged nomination papers with the electoral board, seeking a second and final term of office ahead of polls expected to be the country’s closest yet.
Kibaki, who signed an Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) code of conduct, vowed to crack down on violence in the run-up to the December 27 election, the fourth since pluralism was reintroduced in 1992.
“Let us vote peacefully.
There is no need to intimidate one another.
So far the election panel has cleared six candidates, including sharp orator Raila Odinga and suave former foreign minister Kalonzo Musyoka as well as no-hopers Pius Muiru, Waweru Ngethe and Jeremiah Nkubu Wanyonyi.
The candidates have pledged tranquil campaigns in a country known for pre-election political turbulence, sabotage and politically instigated tribal violence.
At least 20 people have been reported killed since July in election-related violence, according to the state-run Kenya National Commission for Human Rights.
Several opinion pollsters suggest that the 62-year-old Odinga will oust the 75-year-old Kibaki, whose reputation has been sullied by his failure to crack down on government corruption.
But political watchers say Kibaki might retain his job with the help of the state apparatus, doling out money and pledging unity and peace if he stayed on.
In addition, they say modest economic growth, free primary education and a pledge to offer secondary education as well as higher revenue collection and unfettered media might well buoy his bid.
About 14-million Kenyans are eligible to cast ballots in the polls to be monitored by the European Commission, the African Union, the Commonwealth and a raft of local civil groups.—Sapa-AFP
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