Local elections are taking place across Kenya in the last vote before the new devolved system of government outlined by the 2010 constitution becomes operative next year. The minister for local government has said that all such elections should take place by 15 August.
In Nairobi the tension is high among possible candidates for the mayoral elections that take place on 11 August. The Orange Democratic Party (ODM) is split between supporting the acting mayor George Aladwa or a relative newcomer Simba Arati, who seems to have support of minority communities and is free from the taint of the old regime. There is also a possible third contestant William Kinyanyi.
The acting mayor Aladwa has been in the post since October 2010 when his predecessor Geoffrey Majiwa had to resign in a corruption scandal over the sale of cemetery land. Majiwa, who has been coordinating the mayoral election to ensure that an ODM retains control of the city, is supporting Aladwa.
The Party of National Unity (PNU) is also divided about its candidate. James Gakuya is the party choice but Bernard Matura may present a last minute challenge from the floor.
The present system of local government is due to end under the terms of the 2010 constitution, to be replaced by still-to-be defined county assemblies. Now the city council elects the mayor but in future the election may be by popular vote.