Elections in Kenya

KenyattaElections were held in Kenya to choose the country’s next president and other government officers. Votes are still being counted, and the results are expected soon. Although eight people ran for the president’s post,  the two main contenders are Uhuru Kenyatta (image on left) and Raila Odinga (image below).

Odinga is the country’s current prime minister. He also ran for the last presidential elections which were held just over 5 years ago. (A presidential term in Kenya is 5 years.) He lost that election to Emilio Kibaki. After the election, fighting had broken out in the country between the various tribes. There are many tribes in Kenya. The largest tribe is the Kikuyu with 22% of the country’s population, the next largest is the Luhya with 14%, followed by the Luo with 13%.

OdingaNow, Kibaki belongs to the Kikuyu tribe, and Odinga to the Luo tribe. The Luo and some other tribes were unhappy about the fact that the Kikuyus had dominated the politics of Kenya for a long time. They believed that the Kikuyus cheated to keep Kibaki in power. After a month of fighting, the United Nations helped the two opposing leaders reach an agreement where they shared the leadership role. A new post of “prime minister” was created for Odinga, and Kibaki continued to be the president. This post of “prime minister” will no longer exist after a new president is chosen for Kenya this time. Odinga’s new opponent, Kenyatta, is also a member of the Kikuyu tribe. Kenyatta is facing criminal charges for his role in the fighting after the last election. His trial is due to start next month at the International Criminal Court.

Kenya  got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963. Kenyatta’s father became the country’s first president and Odinga’s father became the country’s first vice-president.

Kenya is a very popular tourist destination for its magnificent safaris. You’ll find elephants, lions, rhinoceros, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, and the list goes on! The Great Migration, one of the world’s greatest natural events involving millions of animals travelling between Kenya and its neighboring country, Tanzania, takes place each summer. The capital of Kenya is Nairobi . The official languages are Swahili and English. Kenya was named after the second highest mountain in Africa called Mount Kenya.

Earlier this year, the government of Kenya started work on a new city in the country called Konza which is expected to be built by 2030. Konza has been nicknamed as “Africa’s Silicon Savannah”. It is going to be a hi-tech city that is expected to be a business center of Kenya.


Image Credits: Nairobi Photo for Kenyatta’s image; shizhao for Odinga’s image; konzacity.co.ke for Konza City’s image