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KENYA 14 Aug 2012 Kenyans hold presidential election

Kenyans elect a successor on Aug 14 to President Mwai Kibaki, whose second and last term ends Dec 2012. An International Criminal Court announceme

August 14, 2012 - NULL

KENYA 14 Aug 2012 Kenyans hold presidential election

Kenyans elect a successor on Aug 14 to President Mwai Kibaki, whose second and last term ends Dec 2012. An International Criminal Court announcement on 30 Aug 2011 might shorten the field. Two men known to have sights on the presidency could be too busy with their ICC defense to campaign. They were named among six high-profile Kenyans the ICC will try as suspects in the violence that erupted after disputed elections in 2007. Rival ethnic groups are said to be arming for the 2012 vote.

Most Kalenjins had supported Raila

KENYA 14 Aug 2012 Kenyans hold presidential election

Kenyans elect a successor on Aug 14 to President Mwai Kibaki, whose second and last term ends Dec 2012. An International Criminal Court announcement on 30 Aug 2011 might shorten the field. Two men known to have sights on the presidency could be too busy with their ICC defense to campaign. They were named among six high-profile Kenyans the ICC will try as suspects in the violence that erupted after disputed elections in 2007. Rival ethnic groups are said to be arming for the 2012 vote.

Most Kalenjins had supported Raila Odinga, a member of the western Luo community, who is now the country's prime minister. They believed he had been cheated of victory by Kibaki, a Kikuyu. The ensuing violence between the Luo and Kikuyu communities killed some 1300 people and displaced some 600,000, and ended with a power-sharing agreement that allowed the president to keep his job and Odinga given the premiership.

A BBC investigation in 2009 found that the same rival groups are rearming in readiness for violence at the 2012 election, and that an ethnic arms race is under way.

Odinga is expected to contest the presidential election. Two of the ICC suspects, William Ruto, a former education minister, and Uhuru Kenyatta, the current finance minister, also want to run for president. Kenyatta is the son of Kenya's founding president and one of the richest and most influential men in the country.

The ICC stepped in when Kenya failed to investigate the killings and set up a local tribunal.

The election will test the country's new constitution, passed in Dec 2010. It reduces the powers of the presidency, which had been used by Kenya's first two leaders to favor their tribes in land distribution, government jobs and tenders. It also sets up a second round between the first and second place getters if neither achieves 50+1 per cent majority in the first round or if the winner does not get 25 per cent of the votes in at least 24 Kenyan counties. (WRITTEN Sep 2011)

RELATED READING:

Kenya loses bid to stop ICC poll probe (Al Jazeera 30 Aug 2011)
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/08/201183014382681458.html

Kenya: Government's Bid At Hague Fails (Nation/All Africa 30 Aug 2011)
http://allafrica.com/stories/201108310662.html

Kenyans 'rearming for 2012 poll' (BBC 7 Oct 2009)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8293745.stm

Kibaki Urges Reforms in Run-Up to Kenyan Elections (VOA 23 Mar 2011)
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/east/Kenyas-Kibaki-Urges-Reforms-in-Run-Up-to-Elections-118496549.html

Date written/update: 2012-08-14