Kenya’s electoral commission on Monday approved eight candidates to take part in the presidential election in August, including incumbent leader Uhuru Kenyatta and his historic rival Raila Odinga.
The vetting process left several candidates disappointed, including one man who allegedly tried to jump off the sixth floor of the election commission’s office on Saturday when he was disqualified.
Peter Solomon Gichira was Monday charged with three counts of attempted suicide and slapped with bail of $2,000 (1,700 euros), according to court documents.
Aside from the frontrunners Kenyatta and Odinga — both fielding the same running mates as in 2013 — there are three candidates from small opposition parties and another three independent candidates named by the election commission.
Odinga, 72, has managed to rally several of the country’s main opposition leaders behind him in a coalition called NASA, a boost to his fourth shot at the presidency after failing in 1997, 2007 and 2013.
A dispute over the result of the 2007 election led to two months of politically motivated tribal violence that left over 1,100 dead.
Odinga again claimed fraud in 2013 but his challenge went to the courts, not the streets, and it was dismissed.
Kenyatta and Odinga are from bitterly competing political dynasties in Kenya: their fathers Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga were rivals in the independence era and the decades that followed.
“We are determined to ensure that we conduct our election peacefully and that we ensure that during this period we uphold the dignity of the Kenyan nation as well as the unity in the diversity of our people,” Kenyatta said upon being cleared to run for a second and final term.
Odinga, who was cleared on Sunday, said: “We as the NASA family have prepared enough and we are going for victory. We are confident of winning the election.”
©Alleastafrica and Daily Monitor