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February 26, 2013

Profiles of Kenya's Presidential Candidates

Raila Amollo Odinga
Prime Minister Raila Amollo Odinga was born on January 7, 1945 in Maseno, Nyanza Province, the son of Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. He is running in the Orange Democratic Movement with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka as his running mate. Odinga has focused on youth in his campaign, promising to help them gain access to employment and education. He said he will institute cash transfers for the poor and elderly, and create a programme for youth waiting to enter university or looking for jobs to teach in primary schools. In 1997, Odinga lost a bid for the presidency. He served as minister of energy from 2001 to 2002 and as minister of roads, public works, and housing from 2003 to 2005.
 
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was born in October 1961. His father is Kenya's first president Jomo Kenyatta, who served from 1964 to 1978. He is the presidential candidate for the Jubilee Alliance, a coalition party formed under Kenyatta's The National Alliance and William Ruto's United Republican Party. Kenyatta ran unsuccessfully for president in 2002, yet won a seat in parliament representing Gatundu South that same year. He ran for president again in 2007, but withdrew and put his support behind President Mwai Kibaki for re-election. Kibaki appointed Kenyatta minister for local governments in January 2008 before he became deputy prime minister and minister of trade in April 2008 as part of a coalition government deal to end the violence after the 2007 elections.

Mohamud Abduba Dida
Mohamud Abduba Dida was born in Kenya's Wajir District in 1975. A former teacher, Dida is competing for the presidency with the Alliance for Real Change. His running mate is Joshua Odongo Onono, also a former teacher. Dida, a newcomer to the political scene, has vowed to be a president who focuses on the poor. He says education should be free for all Kenyans, and not based on a subsidy system. Dida has expressed confidence in his ability to do well in the elections, as he has said his party enjoys significant support among the youth. He holds a bachelor's degree in education from Kenyatta University and is currently pursuing a master's in religious studies from the University of Nairobi.
 
Martha Wangari Karua
Martha Karua, the only female candidate in the presidential race, was born in September 1957 in Kirinyaga, Central Province. Karua, a parliamentarian for Gichugu, is running under the National Rainbow Coalition with former East African Legislative Assembly member Augustine Lotodo. Karua has vowed to represent a united Kenya with a platform of economic and social reforms, including universal healthcare and establishing Kenya as a regional economic hub. She said she would commit 10% of Kenya's budget to improving agricultural production, increase renewable energy sources and work to have internet access in 50% of Kenyan homes in five years. In 1997 and 1998, she worked with the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group to foster the development of a multi-party system in Kenya. In 2008, Karua was appointed minister of justice, national cohesion and constitutional affairs after serving as minister of water resources management and developmen
 
Peter Kenneth
Peter Kenneth was born in November 1965 in Bahati, Nairobi. He is a parliamentarian who has specialised in banking. He is seeking the presidency under the Kenya National Congress party, with running mate Ronald Osumba, a former senior manager at Safaricom. As a candidate, Kenneth has focused on ameliorating unemployment and food insecurity. He has also vowed to better equip the police and pay officers well to encourage them to do a good job, and he believes that development and education in crime-ridden areas will deter unlawful behavior. He plans to pay for his programmes by cutting excess government spending. From 2003 to 2005, he served as assistant minister in the Ministry of Co-operative Development and Marketing, then as assistant minister in the Ministry of Finance until 2007. Since 2008, he has been assistant minister in the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030.
 
James ole Kiyiapi
James ole Kiyiapi was born in May 1961 in Osupuko, Rift Valley Province. A former permanent secretary in multiple ministries, he resigned in 2012 to run with businesswoman Winnie Kaburu under the Restore and Build Kenya Party. Kiyiapi is running on a platform denouncing tribal politics. He said his first priority if elected would be to focus on youth unemployment, which he called a national disaster. His government, he said, would initiate work to settle land disputes with utmost care and transparency, and would improve agricultural production in the country.

Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi
Deputy Prime Minister Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi was born in September 1960 in Sabatia, Western Province. He is running under the United Democratic Forum Party in the Amani alliance, with Jeremiah Kioni, a parliamentarian from the Ndaragwa Constituency. Mudavadi has vowed to bring real economic growth to Kenya by focusing on good governance and poverty alleviation.  Mudavadi became a member of parliament in 1989, when he was elected unopposed to take the Sabatia parliamentary seat left vacant after the death of his father, Moses Mudavadi.
 
Paul Kibugi Muite
Paul Kibugi Muite was born in April 1945. He is a former parliamentarian from Kabete who is a founding member and the party leader of Safina. He is running with Shem Ochuodho, former minister of energy and parliamentarian from Rangwe. Muite said that as president he would address unemployment and improve labour conditions, in part by raising salaries and enforcing labour laws that limit the working day to eight hours. He says he believes in the unity of all Kenyans, regardless of ethnicity, and would work for social and economic improvements for all people. Muite, a human rights lawyer, was a prominent figure in ending Kenya's single party system in the 1990s, which had been established by the Kenya African National Union in 1982.