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Eight presidential candidates to contest Kenyan elections


13:56, January 31, 2013

NAIROBI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's electoral body has cleared eight presidential candidates to contest the forthcoming general elections slated for March 4.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday awarded the Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta nomination certificates to run for president in the forthcoming polls.

The 68-year-old Odinga who will be contesting the elections under the coalition for the Restoration of Democracy (CORD) has picked Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka as his deputy. Kenyatta who is leads Jubilee Coalition has picked ex-Higher Education Minister William Ruto as his deputy.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto have been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over crimes against humanity they are alleged to have committed during the last general elections.

The candidates were required to produce their national Identification Cards, degree certificate, proof of being a registered voter in Kenya, draft of a campaign program among other requirements as stipulated in the law.

Odinga and Kenyatta are the leading contenders for the presidency and political analysts say the vote in March will be hotly contested because President Mwai Kibaki is set to retire after serving two terms into office.

Speaking after presenting his papers in Nairobi, Odinga called for issue-based campaigns and stressed that he was impressed by the way IEBC had handled the electoral process so far.

"We hope to see fairness in the process. We do not want to see a repeat of what happened in 2007/2008 general elections," he said.

The Kenyan premier who disputed the previous presidential elections, sparking bloodshed across the country said his team will conduct themselves with dignity and stick to principles and ethics and will hold peaceful campaigns.

"The whole world is watching Kenya and they want Kenya to have a peaceful transition," he said and called on other presidential aspirants to hold peaceful campaigns saying they should base their hunt for votes on principles and issues.

The PM appealed to the media to be impartial and give fair treatment to all competitors for all to have a platform and wished the best candidate victory.

Odinga's running mate, Musyoka said CORD prioritize the provision of free basic and secondary education and increase scholarships at the tertiary and university level, eradicate tribalism, ensure Kenyans' security, and create job opportunities for the youth.

"We are today declaring the war to State House. We know it is a struggle but a democratic one. We won't relent until we embrace victory. Our opponents should read the writing on the wall and prepare for a resounding defeat," Musyoka said.

He said the coming elections are too important for the country as they would determine whether the count

On his part, Kenyatta said his coalition will ensure a smooth and peaceful election and he will accept the decision of Kenyans as it will reflect the will of Kenyans.

Political party representatives have also signed a code of conduct binding them to uphold peace and respect for the rule of law during the elections.

The elections are planned for the president, members of the newly created Senate, Parliament, governors for 47 county governments, members of the regional Parliaments and representatives of youth and women.

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