Kenya election 2017: Kenyatta says respect the result

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People are voting in Kenya’s general election amid fears that the result could trigger communal violence.

President Uhuru Kenyatta called for unity, saying he would accept the result and urged rivals to do the same.

Queues at polling stations formed early and some minor stampedes were reported. Kenyan radio said one person was killed in clashes in the southern Kilifi area.

The contest pits Mr Kenyatta against his long-time rival, Raila Odinga, and is seen as too close to call.

Mr Kenyatta, the 55-year-old son of Kenya’s founding president, is seeking a second and final term in office.

The final week of campaigning has been marred by the murder of a top election official and claims of vote-rigging.

Chief EU observer Marietje Schaake said polling stations were busy and people were eager to cast their vote.

“Today is a very important day for Kenyans. We hope these elections will be peaceful, credible and transparent,” she said at Nairobi’s Moi Avenue primary school polling station.

Observers say the leading candidates both avoided inflammatory speeches as polling day drew closer.

In 2007, more than 1,100 Kenyans died and 600,000 were displaced after a disputed election – an outcome neither side wants to see repeated.

This time long queues were seen at some polling stations, and video footage at one showed people injured on the ground after an apparent stampede.

Some polling stations opened late, with operations hampered by heavy rain, the electoral commission reported.

It later announced that voting would be extended in those areas.

But other problems emerged. One polling station in four was apparently without mobile phone coverage, meaning that officials would have to drive to the nearest town to send results.

Mr Kenyatta voted at lunchtime in his hometown of Gatundu, north of Nairobi.

“To my competitors, as I have always said, in the event that they lose, let us accept the will of the people. I am willing, myself, to accept the will of the people,” he said in a brief statement.

“Let us pull this country together and let us move forward as one nation.”

Opposition leader Mr Odinga cast his ballot in the Nairobi slum of Kibera.

Speaking outside the voting centre, he told his supporters: “Let’s turn out in large numbers and vote.

“After finishing, in the evening, let’s meet at Uhuru Park [in Nairobi] and wait for the results.”