Millions of Kenyans are expected to vote for their next president on Tuesday.
It’s close, with Raila Odinga, former prime minister, only six points ahead William Ruto (deputy president) in the latest polls.
There are growing fears that a contested outcome may trigger violence from die-hard supporters of both candidates.
For the fifth time, Odinga will run for president on an anti-corruption platform and universal healthcare platform.
His opponent, Mr Ruto, is drawing on his own background to position himself as a voice of the “hustlers”, promising to address Kenya’s shocking 40% youth unemployment.
His sources of wealth and his mild stance against corruption have been points of criticism.
Opponents have criticized Mr Odinga for his elite background and age of 77 as the son Jaramogi Odinga, the first vice president of Kenya. This reality is only getting worse as the cost-of-living crisis continues to rise.
“Today is bad, but I don’t want to have money”
More than half the population of Nairobi lives in informal settlements.
Mukuru is home to around 900,000.
Ruth, a mother to three children, is one of them. She is currently struggling more than ever.
Continue reading: Meet Kenya’s presidential candidate for marijuana and hyena testing
Ruth says, “I can go see my boss, and the boss will tell me that today is bad and I don’t need money.” Ruth adds,
Ruth’s bags have been packed.
She plans to take her children and grandchildren to the country until after the election, like many others.
Jane Wanjiru, Jane’s neighbor, is also leaving: “We don’t know what will happen. This tension is everywhere.”
“Only fools fight”
The turbulent past has influenced concerns about a peaceful transition.
Since 1997, there have been incidents of electoral violence at every general election in Kenya.
More than 1000 people were killed and 600,000. Those displaced by the Luo and Kikiyu rivals claimed victory in 2007.
Kenya is among the most powerful and influential countries in Africa.
The outcome of next week’s election will have a profound impact on the country beyond its borders. There is a lot of hope that it will be peaceful.
Young Nairobians meet in a trendy bar to have a night of open mic. They hope the sound system will help drown out any doubts about the democratic process.
Kadong Mwangi, 24, says that all we ask is for peace.
In Mukuru, a heated political debate at a carwash ends in both sides agreeing to accept the political outcome.
One man shouts: “Why should you fight?” “We won’t fight, only fools fight.”