Barack Obama, former US president sent a message to Kenyans as they go to the polls today. Obama, whose father is a Kenyan, visited Kenya during his tenure as the 44th US president.

In a press release published yesterday the statement read, “Almost two years ago, I travelled to Kenya as President of the United States to express my support for the Kenyan people. I said then that Kenya was at a crossroads- a moment of extraordinary promise but also potential peril. To move forward, Kenyans have to reject a politics of tribe and ethnicity, and embrace the extraordinary potential of an inclusive democracy. As Kenyans vote in your election, that choice is once again in your hands.”

Kenyans are voting in a tightly contested presidential election. President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second and final term but faces a strong challenge from Raila Odinga.

Presidential contender Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta – incumbent in this picture taken on August 4, 2017. He is one of the frontrunners in the August 8 general elections, pollsters have ranked him slightly ahead of Mr. Raila Odinga the opposition leader.
Photo/Billy Mutai

Other six presidential contenders include Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Ekuru Aukot of Thirdway Alliance, Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change (ARC), and Independent candidates Joseph Nyagah, Michael Wainaina and Japheth Kavinga.

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President Obama further said in his statement, “I urge Kenyan leaders to reject violence and incitement; respect the will of the people; urge security forces to act professionally and neutrally; and work together no matter the outcome. I urge all Kenyans to work for an election- and aftermath- that is peaceful and credible, reinforcing confidence in your new Constitution and the future of your country. Any disputes around the election should be resolved peacefully, through Kenya’s institutions and the rule of law.”

Presidential frontrunner Raila Odinga addressing supporters during a protest campaign to expunge contested Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officers charged with responsibility to oversee elections in Kenya. A new team was appointed led by chairman Wafula Chebukati and CEO Ezra Chiloba. Photo/Billy Mutai

Obama who’s been largely quiet since he left office charged the people of Kenya to take responsibility of their actions while keeping in mind the pains suffered in the 2007 post-election violence. He said, “I also know the Kenyan people would be the losers if there is a descent into violence.”

In his closing words for President Kenyatta and Raila he reminded them that, “We have not inherited this land from our forbearers, we have borrowed it from our children.”