Line up: Kenya presidential candidates

2013-03-01 13:51
A man walks past a wall sprayed with graffiti reading "We need peace in Kenya" in Nairobi's Kibera slum. (AFP)

A man walks past a wall sprayed with graffiti reading "We need peace in Kenya" in Nairobi's Kibera slum. (AFP)

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Nairobi - Eight Kenyan presidential candidates are preparing for March 4 elections, the first since deadly post-poll violence five years ago.

While two main candidates - Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga - dominate the race, all eight candidates have potential influence, especially if voting goes to a second round runoff after the March 4 vote.

Uhuru Kenyatta: Influential, hugely wealthy and son of Kenya's founding president, the 51-year-old deputy prime minister faces trial immediately after the election for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Hailing from the Kikuyu people of central Kenya, Kenyatta's running mate in the Jubilee Coalition party is former arch-rival William Ruto, who also faces trial at the ICC for violence following the 2007 elections.

Raila Odinga: Former communist turned powerful businessman, the 68-year-old prime minister is a leading contender, having joined hands with long-time foe, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka. He told AFP in an earlier interview he was confident of a first round triumph.

A powerful negotiator, he led a relentless and colourful campaign last time round, but was piped by President Mwai Kibaki in a controversial vote-tallying process that sparked the violent protests. Odinga, who comes from the Luo people of western Kenya, leads the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) party.

Musalia Mudavadi: Leader of the United Democratic Forum (UDF), the deputy prime minister is a former running mate of Odinga in 2007 polls. This time round, the political chameleon briefly joined Kenyatta's party, hoping to lead it, but later split to run alone after his bid failed.

The 52-year-old comes from western Kenya's Luhya tribe, and his supporters could be key in a second round vote.

Martha Karua: A lawyer and former justice minister, she was once a staunch supporter of outgoing President Mwai Kibaki and his policies until her resignation in 2009, citing interference in the discharge of her duties.

The 55-year old Kikuyu is the only female candidate. Brought up in a humble rural area of central Kenya, she was appointed a magistrate aged 24, before becoming an MP a decade later. She is campaigning for government and judicial reform.

Peter Kenneth: One of the youngest candidates, 47-year-old Kenneth stresses his mixed ethnicity presents a "tribeless candidate". A junior government minister, his coalition brings together his Kenya National Congress (KNC) party and the Party of Action (POA).

James ole Kiyapi: An academic and forestry expert who has taught at both Kenyan and international universities, the 51-year-old former senior civil servant heads the Restore and Build Kenya party.

Paul Muite: Lawyer and civil rights activist, 67-year-old Muite is a founding member of one of Kenya's first opposition political parties. A Kikiyu, as a lawyer he represented former Mau Mau fighters - who once battled British colonial rule in the 1950s - to obtain compensation from the British government.

Mohammed Abduba Dida: A 40-year old teacher from Kenya's ethnic Somali population. Little known before campaigning began, he has gained media popularity after a series of quips during presidential debates.

Read more on:    peter kenneth  |  uhuru kenyatta  |  raila odinga  |  musalia mudavadi  |  paul muite  |  kenya  |  kenya elections 2013  |  east africa

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