News / Africa

Kenya PM Aims to Win Presidency in First Round

Orange Democratic Party presidential candidate, Raila Odinga (R), displays his registration certificate, with running mate Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (L), in Nairobi, Kenya, January 30, 2013.
Orange Democratic Party presidential candidate, Raila Odinga (R), displays his registration certificate, with running mate Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (L), in Nairobi, Kenya, January 30, 2013.
Andrew Green
With less than three weeks before the Kenyan presidential election, current Prime Minister Raila Odinga is vying for an outright first-round win. As election day gets closer, Odinga’s campaign is increasing its criticism of his main opponent in hopes of avoiding a run-off vote.

Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are Kenya’s presidential frontrunners. With eight candidates in the field, however, surveys indicate none of the contenders will win more than half the vote in the first round. That would set up a run-off election between the top two finishers.  

Despite the polls, Odinga’s strategists are convinced a first-round victory is possible.

It is a massive operation. The Odinga campaign includes eight different advance teams and thousands of volunteers. Last week they organized packed rallies across the Coast province.

There, members of Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy increased their offensive against Kenyatta, continuously reminding voters that he is under indictment by the International Criminal Court.

The National Alliance Party (TNA) presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta right, and his running mate William Ruto, talk during a rally at Uhuru Park, in Nairobi, January 12, 2013.The National Alliance Party (TNA) presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta right, and his running mate William Ruto, talk during a rally at Uhuru Park, in Nairobi, January 12, 2013.
x
The National Alliance Party (TNA) presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta right, and his running mate William Ruto, talk during a rally at Uhuru Park, in Nairobi, January 12, 2013.
The National Alliance Party (TNA) presidential candidate Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta right, and his running mate William Ruto, talk during a rally at Uhuru Park, in Nairobi, January 12, 2013.
Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto, are both charged in connection with the violence that swept across Kenya after the disputed presidential election in 2007. Kenyatta  repeatedly has denied the ICC charges, and said during Monday’s presidential debate the trial would not interfere with his ability to govern the country.

At a rally in Malindi, though, Odinga running mate Kalonzo Musyoka warned voters that electing Kenyatta would damage Kenya’s international reputation.

“We do not want as a people to do things that are going to bring disgrace and dishonor to this nation,” said Musyoka.

In a country with 42 different ethnic communities, tribalism in voting also is a key concern. Wafula Buke, the campaign’s field manager, said Odinga is looking to project an image of inclusiveness.

“For once, you can have 40 communities identify him as a leader that can help this nation move forward," said Buke. "Of course, in the remaining two, which is our rival’s strongholds, we have elements of support, but there they dominate.”

Buke said the campaign also will continue to focus on land redistribution, which played well in the Coast province. Odinga’s manifesto promises to address situations where communities were forcibly displaced from land.

Walter Odhiambo, who is helping run the campaign for a local member of parliament, said Odinga’s land stance was one of the main reasons his candidate joined the prime minister’s coalition.

“It’s the key reason. We need the land issue to be settled. We need the poverty to be settled," said Odhiambo. "We think if we choose CORD to govern the country, we will realize all these things.”

Following Monday’s debate, Odinga is set to return to the road. Buke said that while the campaign’s key messages are established, the schedule is flexible depending on what additional issues arise.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Paul Gesimba from: Nairobi
February 13, 2013 3:45 AM
Well the land issue is critical and crucial and so are othe historical injustices and many unresolved issues like the post elections violence and Kenya has not yet fully healed .The huge debt burden and the looming threath of sanctions with such a debt burden all call for a candidate who will be able to address and fully deal with these challenges .The PM seems to fit the bill

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs