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Kenyan President Assures Voters of Victory


The incumbent presidential candidate, Mwai Kibaki, voted in his home constituency of Othaya Thursday in an election that observers say is too close to call. As Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Othaya, all went well at the polling station where Kibaki voted.

Immediately after casting his vote in Othaya constituency, presidential candidate and leader of the Party of National Unity Mwai Kibaki assured the crowds that he would return as Kenya's president for another five years.

President Kibaki says that when he finishes the next five years, then he will vote for someone else. For this time now, he says voters should give him another five-year term so that his government can finish the work that they have already started.

Kenyans voted Thursday for presidential, parliamentary and civic candidates.

People standing in long lines interviewed by VOA in Kibaki's home constituency overwhelmingly supported the incumbent.

Voter Jane Mwangi explains why.

"For example, for the last five years, we have seen great changes, especially as far as education is concerned. In fact, there has been a lot of development. Our roads have been improved, and so many other things," she said.

The Kibaki administration has been credited with introducing free primary education, improved health care services, infrastructure development, and other projects.

But he has been criticized for failing to deliver a new constitution to Kenyans, which he had promised to do so when he ran for president five years ago.

Corruption has also continued under his leadership, and government ministers and others accused of involvement in grand corruption schemes have never been prosecuted.

In the past few months, Kibaki's major competitor, Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga and others have accused Kibaki and members of his party of rigging these elections.

Kibaki and his Party of National Unity have also been accused of using an enormous amount of public funds to pay for the party's campaign.

But here in Othaya, most voters deny that Kibaki and his party have conducted their campaigns unfairly.

Voter Joseph Njuguna says he thinks 90 percent of the largely rural constituency of Othaya backs Kibaki and PNU.

"We are very much worried if this president is not re-elected," he said. "What is going to happen, especially [about the] development consciousness that has been existing for the last five years?"

Kibaki came to power in the December 2002 elections on a ticket of the National Rainbow Coalition, taking over from Daniel arap Moi, who ruled Kenya for 24 years.

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