Twenty million plus registered voters took to polling stations in Kenya to vote for the next president of East Africa’s largest economy.
The voting process was largely peaceful with no incidents of violence reported.
Vote counting begun at the close of the poll stations at 5pm Tuesday.
In the ethnic Somali counties of Wajir, Mandera and Garissa no incidents were reprted except for delays at a station in El Wak and Garissa due to technical problems.
Voters were however allowed to vote past the 5 pm deadline.
“I exercised my right as a Kenyan to vote here in Wajir and choose my governor MP and President. I was at the poll station by six in the morning. We pray for a peaceful election” Ubah Shair a Kenyan voter told Radio Dalsan.
A significant number of the Kenyan Somalis living in urban centers chose to vote in their home counties in north eastern Kenya.
The last week so a movement of voters from Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa and other urban centers to north eastern counties.
There are 8 presidential candidates including the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta of the ruling Jubilee party and Raila Odinga of the opposition NASA coalition.
An ethnic Somali candidate Mohamed Abduba Dida is also in the race for the second time.
Security has been beefed up in the north eastern counties.
Mandera county has until the eve of the elections been under attack by the Somali militant group Alshabaab.
The key races in north eastern Kenya include the Mandera gubernatorial race between incumbent Ali Roba and former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Hassan “Moses” Noor.
Wajir county is hotly contested between incumbent Ahmed Abdullah “Jiir” and former Kenyan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohamed Abdi Mohamud.
Farah Maalim will be seeking to unseat majority leader Aden Dualle in Garissa township while in Kamukunji constituency in Nairobi the battle will be between Jubilee’s Hassan Yusuf and NASA’s Ibrahim “Johnny” Ahmed.
As vote counting begun in the evening Kenyans can only hope that there will be no repeat of the 2007 disputed elections that led to the killing of 1100 people and displacement of 600000 others.