Nairobi. – On August 9, Kenyans head to the polls and with soaring food and fuel prices, high unemployment and post-pandemic stagnation, a change in leadership could not come at a more critical time for East Africa’s largest economy.
Deputy President William Ruto, 55 and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, 77, are leading in opinion polls in the race to succeed term-limited President Uhuru Kenyatta.
It’s a bitter battle between the former foes-turned-allies-turned-foes-again vying to lead the relatively stable nation in a volatile region.
Ruto calls himself the “Hustler-in-Chief,” a reference to his humble beginnings as a chicken seller in Kenya’s Rift Valley to a heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the land.
“I may be the child of nobody but we want to make this a country of everybody,” the Kenyan deputy president said at his expansive official residence in the wealthy Karen neighbourhood of Nairobi.
“We want to make this country a country of opportunity for every child in Kenya.”
Odinga, who says he is contesting for the last time, has unsuccessfully run for president four times before and challenged his loss in the last three elections.
“I had considered not running this time but there was a lot of pressure on me from my supporters to run because of what I represent,” he said, promising change if elected.
“I’ve been saying that the aspirations and the desires of the people of Kenya as expressed in the founding document of our nation, what you can call the Kenyan dream, has not been realised.” The two other candidates cleared to run for president are professor George Wajackoyah and David Mwaure Waihiga.
They are both considered long shots and unlikely to win – CNN.com