A look at Kenya's presidential candidates ... again

2017-09-01 15:40
President Uhuru Kenyatta (File: AFP)

President Uhuru Kenyatta (File: AFP)

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Nairobi - The surprise ruling by Kenya's Supreme Court nullifying last month's presidential election and calling for a new vote within 60 days almost certainly means another matchup for the sons of the country's two leading political families.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had been declared the winner of the August 8 election. But longtime opposition candidate Raila Odinga went to court, claiming the results were hacked and manipulated. The court ruled that the election was not conducted in accordance with the constitution and promised details in its full ruling within 21 days.

Here's a look at Kenyatta and Odinga:

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PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA

Kenyatta is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president.

The 55-year-old Kenyatta had wanted to avoid becoming the first Kenyan president not to win re-election. He won in 2013 with 50.03 percent of the vote, triggering an unsuccessful legal challenge by Odinga.

Kenyatta at the time was facing criminal charges at the International Criminal Court over his alleged role in the post-election violence in 2007, fueled by ethnic tensions, that left more than 1,000 people dead. The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence, with the ICC prosecutor blaming unprecedented witness interference and bribery.

Many voters see Kenyatta as the candidate of the Kikuyu people, the country's largest ethnic group.

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OPPOSITION LEADER RAILA ODINGA

Odinga is the son of Jaramogi Odinga Odinga, the country's first vice president. He and Kenyatta grew up as family friends and have allied politically from time to time before splitting for good.

After losing past elections dating back to 1997, last month's vote was seen as the likely last chance for the 72-year-old Raila Odinga to claim the seat that eluded his father.

Odinga has claimed that hackers last month used the identity of a murdered Kenyan election official, who had been in charge of the electronic voting system, to gain entry to the election commission's database in order to manipulate voting results.

Many voters see Odinga as the candidate of the Luo ethnic group. The Luo have never produced a head of state.

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