The usually congested streets of Nairobi were silent this morning as Kenyans quietly cast their vote for their next president. Many had left the nation’s capital ahead of Tuesday’s vote, heading up-country in hopes of avoiding the kind of violence that has engulfed their country in past elections.
But all remained peaceful as the majority of polling stations closed Tuesday evening, some voters still waiting patiently under night skies to see their tickets successfully placed inside a ballot box.
Still, this year’s elections haven’t been without their challenges. The lead-up to Tuesday was marred by accusations of political corruption, bribery and the suspicious murder of election official Chris Msando late last month.
And on Tuesday, technical hang-ups, misdelivered ballots and weather delays meant Kenyans in several counties would continue casting votes late into the night. Many other voters who didn’t face those types of problems still waited long hours in lines wrapping from one side of a polling station to the other; some arrived at 6 a.m. only to cast their votes in the early afternoon.
But Kenyans remained determined to select their next president — some even slept at polling stations overnight, to make sure they would get to cast their votes.
While the votes are still being counted across Kenya tonight, the country known for the 2007-2008 postelection violence that killed up to 1,500 seems to be experiencing a sense relief, however temporary, until the official winner is announced.