Kenyans pray for peace on day before elections

By Rodney Muhumuza

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, March 3 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

In 2011 Forbes magazine listed him as the wealthiest Kenyan, worth at least $500 million, although he was dropped from a subsequent list because his personal wealth was hard to separate from that of his close relatives. The Kenyattas are said to own hundreds of thousands of acres of prime land across the country, a controversial point in a nation where millions do not own even a small plot of land.

Gladwell Otieno, a Kenyan who runs a think tank called The Africa Center for Open Governance, said it would "be difficult for (Kenyatta) to claim that he can do much" to tackle Kenya's historical land problem. But despite the baggage of wealth and the ICC charges, Kenyatta's team has done a good job of marketing him as "a youthful candidate" of hope, Otieno said.

"Our main concern has been the fact that he is indicted at the ICC," Otieno said. "A government led by him would immediately be paralyzed."

Odinga, 68, who has been prime minister since 2008, believes he was cheated out of victory in the last election. Odinga's refusal to accept the results of the 2007 election helped fuel tribal tensions, with many here seeing Kibaki's win as another example of the Kikuyu's overly broad influence.

A win by Odinga would make him the country's first Luo president, a feat never accomplished by his father, Oginga Odinga, who was Kenya's first vice president and himself a hero of the anti-colonial movement. The elder Odinga fell out with Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president, straining Kikuyu-Luo relations for decades.

In a rally Friday in Kisumu, Odinga's hometown and the biggest Luo-dominated city, Odinga repeatedly used words like "freedom" and "change" to emphasize the epochal moment it would be for his people if he wins.

"Be prepared for freedom," he said. "This country is at the verge of total liberation."

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