The people of Kenya in East Africa, went to the polls on Thursday (8 November) to elect a new government.
The people of Kenya in East Africa, went to the polls on Thursday (8 November) to elect a new government. Early results show that, as predicted, about half the present cabinet ministers would probably lose their seats. For the first time in Kenyan independent history, a white man has been elected to Parliament. Philip Leakey, Nairobi-born youngest son of world renowned anthropologists Louis and Marry Leakey, gained an eight-hundred majority over the nearest of eight black opponents. Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi, who took over on the death of Jomo Kenyatta fifteen months ago, was returned, unopposed.
SYNOPSIS: Some four million voters enjoyed a national holiday on Thursday (8 November) to vote in Kenya's first general election since the death of the late President Kenyatta. Many of them had walked for days through the bush to reach the polling stations.
The campaign ended on Wednesday (7 November) with the throb of drums, amplified self-praise from loudspeakers and the last minute completion of earlier promised development projects.
It was a one-party election with about eight hundred candidates vying for a place in what President Daniel Arap Moi presents as a new era of Kenya politics.
Voters had their fingers marked with purple ink to ensure they voted only once.
Gifts of beer, sugar and milk have flowed freely during the vigorous three-week campaign. Asians, Europeans and black Africans all braved seasonal heavy rainshowers to cast their vote.
Nairobi candidate reported that the poll was the most efficient they had seen. Political observers said that not only half the ministers but about half the one hundred and fifty eight parliamentarians also stood little or no chance of being returned. President Moi, Kenyatta's successor, helped ensure a smooth transition of power by keeping on most of the late President's ministers.
After coming second in the 1974 elections, Mr. Philip Leakey becomes the first white man elected. He speaks fluent Swahili, Kimuyu, Masai and Kamba but since he opposed tribalism he campaigned only in Swahili. Like his parents he is an anthropologist and in director of the Kenya Museum.