Why the upcoming presidential election in Kenya is crucial

Kenya's presidential election is close and may go to a runoff for the first time . Raila Odinga is one of the top candidates for the presidency .

Nairobi, Kenya (Nairobi) — Kenyans vote to name a replacement to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday.The race is close and may go to a runoff for the first time.Raila Odinga is one of the top candidates for the presidency, an opposition leader in his fifth run for presidency who is supported by former Kenyatta.William Ruto, a Kenyattas ally who fell out with the president earlier in their decade of rule, is the other.

WHAT'S AT STAKE Kenya is East Africa's economic hub and home to about 56 million people.The country has a recent history of turbulent elections.However, it stands out for its relative stability in a region where certain elections are severely hampered, and long-serving figures such as Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni have been declared the winner with almost 99% of votes or have been criticized for verbally targeting opponents.Kenya has no rules on campaign contributions and spending.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CANDIDATES PLATFORMS Ruto, 55, describes himself to the young and poor as a hustler who arose from humble beginnings as a chicken dealer in comparison to the elite backgrounds of Kenyatta and Odinga.He wants to see a greater increase in agricultural output and financial inclusion.Agriculture is a key determinant of Kenya's economy, and about 70% of the rural workforce is farmers.Odinga, 77, has promised cash handouts to Kenya's poorest and more affordable health care for all, having been jailed for decades during his struggle for multi-party democracy.

The electoral commission received just 2.5 million of the promised voters, but less than half of them.In every election, major issues are addressed by widespread inequality and the economy.Kenyans have been burdened by higher prices for food and fuel as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and that comes after the financial challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic.More than a third of the country's youth are unemployed.

Official results will be revealed within a week of the vote.To win outright, a candidate needs more than half of all votes and at least 25% of the votes in more than half of Kenya's 47 counties.A runoff election in 30 days is not guaranteed.The previous presidential election in 2017 made history by making a new vote, Africa's first.

Candidates or others will have a week after the results are announced to submit a petition to the court, which has two weeks to reach a decision on it.