News / Africa

Odinga Maintains Strategy in Tight Kenyan Election

Kenya's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga addresses the crowd during peace prayers in Nairobi, Feb. 24, 2013.
Kenya's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga addresses the crowd during peace prayers in Nairobi, Feb. 24, 2013.
Andrew Green
The latest polls in the Kenyan presidential election show Prime Minister Raila Odinga locked in a dead heat with Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.
 
During the past three weeks, Odinga has given virtually the same stump speech at each of his campaign rallies around the country. He promised free primary and secondary education, improved access to healthcare and increased funds for youth entrepreneurs. He told  the crowds that improving Kenya’s social programs will jump-start the country’s economy.
 
Odinga said he is planning to stick to the same points in the campaign’s last week, even as the latest presidential polls show he has lost his lead and dropped into a dead heat with Uhuru Kenyatta.
 
“Transformation of Kenya is the platform that we are using to convince the people to vote for us," Odinga said. "And I think the people are buying it. I am sure that we will be able to record victory first round.”

Opinion polls gave Deputy Prime Minister Kenyatta a victory in the country’s first-ever presidential debate earlier this month.  And while Odinga is stressing his social programs, the additional seven presidential candidates share many of the same policies.
 
Every candidate is promising to deliver free primary and secondary education.  Kenyatta is also committed to free universal health care, although he says he would roll it out first to particular groups, like pregnant mothers and HIV patients.  

And between the two front-runners, Kenyatta’s manifesto offers a more detailed program for encouraging youth job creation, a key issue in a country with high youth unemployment
 
But in Kenya, where recent presidential elections have fallen largely along ethnic lines, Odinga said he is hoping to attract a broader base of support than his rivals. He promised voters he will equally distribute the local funding needed to improve social programs. And an instant poll after the debate ranked Odinga first on the issue of giving more control to local leaders.
 
“We want to bring the face of Kenya and this is the movement which is doing it," Odinga said. "To unite the people across the country and be able to actually inspire them that Kenya can do better. In the past Kenya has always been complacent ... What I am trying to do is inspire them to aim higher.”

After Monday night's second and final presidential debate, Odinga will hit the road for a last week of campaigning. He plans to travel northeast before wrapping up in his political stronghold of western Kenya.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs