Charismatic Odinga leads in opinion polls

POLITICAL SPEAK: Presidential candidate Rail Odinga addresses tens of thousands od cheering Kenyans at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, on Saturday, during the launch ot the biggest opposition party's electrol campaign. Pic.Khali Senosi. 06/10/2007. © AP
POLITICAL SPEAK: Presidential candidate Rail Odinga addresses tens of thousands od cheering Kenyans at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, on Saturday, during the launch ot the biggest opposition party's electrol campaign. Pic.Khali Senosi. 06/10/2007. © AP

Andrew Cawthorne

Andrew Cawthorne

NAIROBI - Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga held his lead over President Mwai Kibaki in three opinion polls published yesterday, two months ahead of a presidential election.

Odinga, a charismatic former government minister and political prisoner, first overtook Kibaki in opinion polls late last month to set up what could be one of the closest election fights of recent times in a major African democracy.

Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement launched its election campaign in Nairobi on Saturday, while Kibaki - who has criss-crossed the country in recent weeks to promote his new Party of National Unity - held a rally in Nakuru town.

Many had expected the 75-year-old president's greater public visibility to help his poll ratings.

But a Strategic Research poll gave Odinga 49,6percent to Kibaki's 39,6.

Consumer Insight had Odinga on 46percent to Kibaki's 41, and Infotrak Harris put them on 46 and 35percent.

A third candidate, Kalonzo Musyoka, took between 10,8 and 15percent in yesterday's polls, and is seen as a potential kingmaker. - Reuters

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