Kenya goes to the polls in closely contested election

Kenyans are casting their votes to elect a president and a new parliament following weeks of campaigning and claims of a plot to rig the results.

Polling began at 6.00am (3:00 GMT) and is expected to end at 5.00pm (14:00 GMT) local time with results to be announced within seven days.

More than 19 million voters have registered to cast their vote in Tuesday’s election in 40,883 polling stations across the country.

Polling stations were crowded from the early hours of the day, with some voters queuing from 1am despite chilly weather of 15 Celcius degrees.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, is seeking a second and final five-year term in office and faces stiff competition from an opposition coalition led by veteran politician Raila Odinga.

Odinga, 72, is running for the presidency for the fourth time.

Aggrey Mwelesa, a43-year-old father of four who works as a security guard, told Al Jazeera that he was happy to exercise his democratic right.

“The exercise was smooth. Very calm. I came to the polling station at 2am. I pray for the best man for our country to win,” he said.

Alice Waithaka, a 35-year-old mother of two, said she had been queuing since 4am and did not experience any problems while voting.

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