News / Africa

Kenyan President Urges Voters to Register as Deadline Looms

Nubian traditional dancers perform during the 49th Jamhuri Day celebrations, the day Kenya gained independence, at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, December 12, 2012.
Nubian traditional dancers perform during the 49th Jamhuri Day celebrations, the day Kenya gained independence, at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, December 12, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
In an address marking Kenya's independence day, President Mwai Kibaki has urged Kenyans to register to vote ahead of next year's presidential election. Yhe president's plea comes as election officials fall behind in their efforts to get Kenyans signed up.

President Kibaki addressed a crowd of thousands Wednesday at Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium to celebrate Jamhuri Day - the day Kenya declared independence from the British 49 years ago.

This is the last Jamhuri Day Kibaki will preside over as president, as his term in office is set to expire and he cannot run in next year's election, scheduled for March 4.
He urged Kenyans to register to vote, as the deadline to complete the process ends in seven days.

“Registering to vote will enable you to carry out your civic duty of electing your leaders,” he said.

Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is falling behind schedule on its voter registration drive. As of Monday, the IEBC said only 8.6 million people had registered, out of 18 million eligible voters.

Wednesday's event doubled as a farewell ceremony for President Kibaki, who dedicated most of his speech to reflecting on the achievements the country has attained during his 10 years in office - from expanding the country's tax base, to increasing the number of Internet users.

He said it will be the responsibility of Kenya's future leaders to maintain this economic momentum.

“Kenya is now at the edge of a takeoff to greater prosperity, equity and unity," he said. "We must keep up, keep our eyes on the goal of building a great Kenya.”

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is also one of the front-runners for president, praised Kibaki for his years of service and called on all Kenyans to hold a peaceful vote.

“We all must commit to holding free, fair and peaceful elections. To realize our aspirations and the promises that stand before us, we will need to elect a credible, focused and committed leadership that will implement the constitution in letter and spirit,” he said.

Odinga lost to President Kibaki in a disputed run-off vote in the last presidential election in 2007. The results set off weeks of inter-tribal violence across the country that left more than 1,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Odinga became Prime Minister as part of a Grand Coalition with the president, formed in a power sharing agreement to bring about peace.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs