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 Tuesday, 24 December, 2002, 23:38 GMT
Campaigning ends in Kenya
Mwai Kibaki listens to orphaned children sing during a Christmas Eve service
It is the third time Mwai Kibaki runs for the presidency

Campaigning has ended for Friday's landmark presidential elections in Kenya.

The two main contenders - Mwai Kibaki for the opposition National Rainbow coalition and Uhuru Kenyatta for the ruling Kanu party - both say they are confident of victory.

The poll will result in Kenya's first new president for over two decades, as the incumbent, Daniel arap Moi, is retiring.

Most reports suggest the opposition is poised to win.

Key message

Cheering supporters greeted Uhuru Kenyatta, as he embarked on a whistle-stop tour of the capital.

President Moi in Nairobi
Moi will step down on 5 January

Despite being President Moi's chosen successor and the son of Kenya's independence leader, he is now campaigning as the underdog.

On Tuesday afternoon Uhuru Kenyatta was repeating one of his key election messages: that he is his own man and will not be manipulated by Mr Moi, after the veteran leader steps down.

The candidate said those predicting his defeat had got it wrong.

"There's a lot of people who hang around Nairobi here, who don't really know what's going on in Nairobi, and who conduct their campaign through press reports, not through the people of this republic," he said.

"I'm counting on 10.5 million voters."

Ready for change

Across town, Mwai Kibaki, was holding a special Christmas Eve carol service for friends and family.

Earlier this month he was involved in a serious car crash and his injuries, including a broken ankle, have prevented vigorous campaigning.

It is the third presidential election that 71-year-old Mr Kibaki has contested. This time he expects to win.

Most Kenyans say they are ready for change.

Daniel arap Moi has ruled Kenya for over two decades. Everyone knows that, come January, after he retires, a new chapter of Kenyan politics will be opened.

Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down

Background

INTERACTIVE GUIDE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

23 Dec 02 | Africa
17 Dec 02 | Africa
13 Dec 02 | Media reports
12 Nov 02 | Africa
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