Skip to main content

Main players in Kenyan presidential election

By Faith Karimi, CNN
March 3, 2013 -- Updated 0821 GMT (1621 HKT)
Kenya's eight presidential candidates are pictured during the first ever officially televised election debate in Nairobi on February 11, 2013.
Kenya's eight presidential candidates are pictured during the first ever officially televised election debate in Nairobi on February 11, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • If elected, Uhuru Kenyatta would be the nation's youngest president
  • Raila Odinga spent years in government detention in the 1980s
  • Musalia Mudavadi is a former rugby player
  • Martha Karua has said she will run the government like a household

(CNN) -- Two Kenyan presidential frontrunners are awaiting the results of a vote recount, bringing back memories of a political dynasty that dates to the 1960s.

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga are the sons of the nation's first president and vice president, respectively.

Their fathers started out as allies in the quest for Kenyan independence from Britain. But their relationship ended in bad blood when founding President Jomo Kenyatta forced out his vice president, Jaramogi Odinga, following a series of disputes.

About five decades later, it is the sons' turn in the spotlight.

Though the two are the main players, there are a total of eight presidential contenders.

Kenya elections: What you need to know

Exclusive: Uhuru Kenyatta talks to CNN
Promoting a peaceful election in Kenya
Kenya's currency concerns

Uhuru Kenyatta

One of two deputy prime ministers, he has the political clout and the resources. He was born into a wealthy, powerful family and is one of Africa's richest, according to Forbes magazine.

If elected, the 51-year-old would be the nation's youngest president.

He lost the presidential election in 2002 to the incumbent, but has maintained his popularity.

But his fame has come at a price.

He is facing crimes against humanity over accusations he mobilized a tribal militia to fight in the last disputed election. He has denied the charges.

Despite the International Criminal Court indictment, supporters have stood by him. His running mate, William Ruto, has also been indicted by the ICC, and both will appear at the Hague this year.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he is a candidate for the Jubilee Coalition.

Raila Odinga

The current prime minister is a political veteran who spent years in government detention in the 1980s after a failed coup attempt.

After he was freed, he went into political exile in Norway and returned to fight for democracy in 1991 at a time when elections in the nation were single party affairs.

Odinga, 68, enjoys massive popularity in Kibera, the nation's largest slum, which is under his constituency.

A fixture in the nation's politics for decades, the office of the prime minister was created for him in a power-sharing deal after a disputed election in 2007.

He attended university in Germany, and is a candidate for the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy.

Musalia Mudavadi

The second deputy prime minister has been in politics for more than two decades, and has served as a running mate to both frontrunners in previous elections.

He started off as a member of parliament in 1989, and later become minister for finance. He had a short stint as the nation's vice president more than a decade ago.

The 52-year-old former rugby player is a contender for the Amani Coalition. He graduated from the University of Nairobi.

Martha Karua

The veteran politician's win would make her the first female president in Kenya. She was a big part of the current government, but cut ties with it four years ago when she resigned as justice minister.

A former lawyer, the 55-year-old Karua has said if she doesn't win the presidency, she will retire from politics.

She equates her leadership to that of a mother, and has said she will run the government like a household and not let her children go hungry.

Her campaign slogan is "Simama na Mama," which translates to "Support Mom" in Swahili.

The University of Nairobi alumna is a contender for the National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya party.

Other candidates:

Four others are running, including former banker Peter Kenneth, Mohammed Dida, Paul Muite and James Ole Kiyiapi.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT