Oct. 26 (UPI) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta warned citizens that action will be taken against anyone who tries to interfere with another’s right to vote in the nation’s election rerun Thursday.
Kenyatta, who cast his vote for president at a primary school, said intimidating election officials or using violence would not be tolerated.
“We’re explaining ourselves very clearly. There’s no reason for anybody to take any violent action,” Kenyatta said.
“It is the right of every Kenyan to decide whether to vote or not and my guarantee to Kenyans is that they shall be protected.”
Two people were shot at a polling station in the city of Kisumu, authorities said, and tear gas was used to disperse a crowd opposing Kenyatta.
Although Kenyatta made clear that boycotting the election was acceptable, he added that the government is committed to ensuring Kenyans have an environment for a successful vote. The Kenyan leader also clarified the importance of moving forward quickly after the election.
“Kenya is proving that our democracy is improving and has indeed matured. Our institutions are maturing,” he said. “I believe Kenya is setting an example other African countries should emulate.
“We’re tired of this prolonged electioneering period. Let us elect our leader and proceed with nation-building.”
Kenyatta’s main opponent in the last election, in August, National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga received nearly 70,000 votes compared to Kenyatta’s 912,000 in August.
Odinga called for his supporters to boycott Thursday’s vote due to alleged issues with polling. He called for “fresh, free and fair” presidential elections to be “organized within 90 days.”
Aside from Kenyatta, other candidates on the ballot are Ekuru Aukot of the Thirdway Alliance, Alliance for Real Change leader Abduba Dida, Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party, and independent candidates Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kaluyu.