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News
Date:07 Aug 2017
#KenyaElections: Closer look at 8 contending presidential candidates

Eight presidential candidates will contest in the upcoming August 8, 2017 polls in Kenya.

Over – million Kenyans are expected to cast their vote on August 8. Final presidential election results will be published within seven days after voting.

Here is a look at the eight candidates contesting in the 2017 elections:

Uhuru Kenyatta

Uhuru Kenyatta is the flagbearer of the Jubilee Party of Kenya and the son of Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta, and is the 4th and current President of Kenya. After winning the elections in 2013, Kenyatta became Kenya’s youngest president.

Kenyatta is Kikuyu, a Bantu ethnic group. Born into a prestigious and powerful family, he attended St. Mary’s school in Nairobi, and then went to Amherst College in the United States where he studied economics, political science, and government.

Before serving as president, Kenyatta was a deputy prime minister, during which the ICC named him as a suspect of crimes against humanity in the 2007-8 post election violence which claimed over 1,000 lives. The ICC charges threatened to strain foreign relations during his presidency, with many Western countries threatening to cut ties with Kenya. However during his presidency, he has hosted numerous international conferences and world leaders including former United States President Barack Obama.

While in power, Kenya has seen its economy growing at an average of 5% each year, and an increase in foreign investment. The Nairobi-Mombasa railway, one of his major projects funded by the Chinese, is said to contribute to economic growth. However on the other hand, many have criticized him of excessive borrowing, with the nation’s debt at an all time high. His government has also been tagged as corrupt and has been accused of limiting freedom of expression, particularly with the press. 

The 55-year-old incumbent leader is seeking re-election on August 8. In his manifesto, he promises more jobs, free public secondary education, the completion of the 57 large-scale dams construction programme, and promote transparency and accountability, amongst many other things. Kenyatta’s biggest rival is Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance.

Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga is the son of the first vice president of Kenya. His father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, was one of many politicians who played a huge role in liberating Kenya from British rule.

Born in 1945 in Maseno, Odinga attended Kisumu Union Primary School, Maranda Primary, and later Maranda High School. He went on to study mechanical engineering at University of Leipzig in Germany. After his studies, Odinga was a lecturer at the University of Nairobi. He has also served as a Member of Parliament, as Energy Minister, and as Prime Minister in 2008 under a power-sharing deal to end the post-election violence that saw some 1,300 people killed. 

After losing the election in 2013 to Uhuru Kenyatta, Odinga challenged the results in the courts, but the Supreme Court ruled against him. On August 8, Odinga will make his fourth attempt at the presidency of Kenya. He promises to address issues related to healthcare, governance, security & crime, and employment.

Odinga is the flagbearer for the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, which includes all of Kenya’s main opposition groups, Odinga – together with his running mate Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka – hopes to end Uhuru Kenyatta’s bid for a second term.


Cyrus Jirongo

Cyrus Jirongo is a politician and former Member of Parliament. The 56-year-old presidential aspirant is known for his position as chairman of the AFC leopards football club in 1991, and for leading the Youth Kanu ’92 Movement ahead of the first multi-party elections in Kenya. He is currently the Chairman of Kenya African Democratic Development Union and he is running on the ticket of the United Democratic Party.

Ekuru Aukot

Ekuru Aukot is a renowned scholar and law practitioner. He holds a PhD in International Refugee Law and Law in Development from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Aukot is from a small tribe in the Turkana village of Kapedo in northern Kenya and well known for his anti-tribalism stance.
Aukot was part of the committee that wrote the current Kenyan constitution in 2010.
The 45-year-old is the flagbearer of the Thirdway Alliance Kenya (TAK) party that unsuccessfully contested the 2013 elections. He has eight key areas he promises to address if elected: anti-corruption, taxation, education, welfare, public administration, economy, agriculture, and environment.

Mohammed Abduba Dida

Mohammed Abduba Dida was born in 1974 to a Kenyan-Somali mother and a Borana father in Northern kenya. Dida, the only Muslim candidate in the race, was a high school teacher, teaching English Literature and Religion. He ran for president in 2013 on the Alliance of Real Change Party ticket and obtained 0.43% of the popular vote.

Joseph William Nyagah

Joseph William Nyagah is a Kenyan politician who previously served as the Minister of Cooperative Development and Marketing in Kenya’s coalition government between 2007 and 2013. Earlier this year, the 69-year old resigned from this position to run as an independent presidential candidate in the upcoming elections for the first time. He has has a Masters in Financial Management and has previously worked as a banker His manifesto is simply to improve the lives of all Kenyans, regardless of tribe, party, or community.  


Michael Wainaina Mwaura

Michael Wainaina Mwaura is a professor and former lecturer at Kenyatta University in Kenya who is running as an independent presidential candidate. If elected, Wainaina plans to invest heavily in the youth. The 44-year-old candidate believes the youth will drive the transformation of Kenya from a developing nation to a fully developed one. His running mate is Miriam Muthikwa Mutua – the only woman in the race.
 

Japheth Kavinga

Dr. Japheth Kavinga is running as independent presidential candidate. He holds a PhD in Urban Health Policy and Research, with a focus on HIV research, from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the United States. Kavinga has a six point plan for Kenya, which is to reduce living costs, create jobs, offer free job skills training, cut taxes, end corruption, and invest in the diaspora.
 

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