BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 13:06 GMT
Election fever hits Mombasa
Muslims outside a mosque in Mombasa
A new dawn for Kenya's second largest city?

The piercing sound of the muezzin, calling all Muslims to prayer, shatters the morning peace.

The sun slowly climbs over the Indian Ocean and the sea water begins to subside and retreat from the beaches.

It is Thursday morning, 24 hours before polling stations open.

It is time for the final push, as the law requires the campaigns to end a day before the polling, at midnight.

Opposition favourite

A noisy procession of opposition supporters, led by trucks and minibuses, passes through the centre of town, chanting "Yote Yawenzekana Bila Moi", meaning "All is possible without Moi".

I hit the pot-holed pavements on Digo Road and then Moi Avenue, mingling with men clad in white floor-length cotton shirts, known here as "khanzu" and women hidden inside black veils or "buibui".

Their chanting is overwhelming.

Mwai Kibaki supporters in Mombasa
Polls put Kibaki ahead of his rivals

For long the people of Mombasa seemed to be unfathomable under their traditional garbs.

But there is little doubt this morning that they have already made up their minds about who or which party to vote for.

A phone-in poll by a local radio had almost 90 callers saying the main opposition group's candidate would win the presidential race.

I would not want to be in the shoes of the ruling party, Kanu, right now.

Mosquitoes

Later in the evening, it will be time for door-to-door campaigning, when money changes hands under the cover of night, when pleas and promises are made in whispers, and a little bit of arm-twisting and veiled threats.

Away from Mombasa, the two presidential frontrunners, Kanu's Uhuru Kenyatta and the main opposition group's Mwai Kibaki, are winding down their campaigns in central Kenya.

In the final battle for the minds of urban voters, they have opted for Op-Eds in a national newspaper.

Uhuru Kenyatta and his son Muho on the campaign trail
Kenyatta says he is ready for a fresh start

Mr Kenyatta reiterates his campaign theme: vote for a fresh start.

Mr Kibaki promises a liberated media that will benefit all Kenyans.

Not to be outdone, Ford People's candidate, Simeon Nyachae, says, in his article, that reconciliation is key to Kenya's progress.

I know it is going to be a long night, checking out the polling stations and setting up our sat phone before the polling stations open, most of the time fighting off swarming mosquitoes.

If mosquitoes' bites were votes I could be the next president by now.

Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down

Background

INTERACTIVE GUIDE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

24 Dec 02 | Africa
23 Dec 02 | Africa
17 Dec 02 | Africa
13 Dec 02 | Media reports
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes