Former United States President Barack Obama has rallied Kenyans to remain peaceful during today’s presidential election, Chimp Corps report.
In a statement issued on the eve of Kenya’s presidential polls, Obama also cautioned leaders against incitement that could plunge the nation into chaos.
“I urge Kenyan leaders to reject violence and incitement; respect the will of the people; urge security forces to act professionally and neutrally; and work together no matter the outcome,” said Obama.
The Former U.S. leader’s father was born in Kenya.
He also visited the East African country in 2015.
“I urge all Kenyans to work for an election – and aftermath – that is peaceful and credible, reinforcing confidence in your new Constitution and the future of your country.”
At least 20 million Kenyans will today elect the President and deputy, senators and governors amid heavy security deployment in almost all corners of the country.
There are 19.6 million registered voters in the East Africa’s biggest economy, in which 53 percent are male and 47 percent women.
A presidential candidate is expected to get 50 percent plus 1 vote and at least 25 percent in each of the 24 counties needed to be declared the winner.
4,883 polling stations opened for the voting exercise at 6:00 am and each has six ballot boxes for the president and deputy, Members of Parliament both for the Senate and National Assembly, county governors and ward representatives.
The elections are being conducted amidst fear and tension especially following the murder of a high ranking Electoral Commission official in Nairobi.
The 2007 election violence in Kenya left at least 1,200 dead and displaced tens of thousands and threatened the Ugandan economy.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has since warned his rival Uhuru Kenyatta against using armed forces to subvert the election outcome.
Obama said the ultimate responsibility is in the hands of the people of Kenya, who know more than any the needless pain and agony thousands suffered as a result of the crisis in 2007.
“Kenya has come a long way in the last two decades – undertaking a peaceful transition of power in 2002; and, following the horrific violence around the 2007 election, working hard to recover from crisis and embracing a new Constitution,” said Obama.
“I hope you will choose to build on this inclusive spirit to further advance the gains that have been made, rather than putting them at risk.”