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Main players in Kenyan presidential election

By Faith Karimi, CNN
updated 3:21 AM EST, Sun March 3, 2013
Kenya's eight presidential candidates are pictured during the first ever officially televised election debate in Nairobi on February 11, 2013.
Kenya's eight presidential candidates are pictured during the first ever officially televised election debate in Nairobi on February 11, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • If elected, Uhuru Kenyatta would be the nation's youngest president
  • Raila Odinga spent years in government detention in the 1980s
  • Musalia Mudavadi is a former rugby player
  • Martha Karua has said she will run the government like a household

(CNN) -- Two Kenyan presidential frontrunners are awaiting the results of a vote recount, bringing back memories of a political dynasty that dates to the 1960s.

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga are the sons of the nation's first president and vice president, respectively.

Their fathers started out as allies in the quest for Kenyan independence from Britain. But their relationship ended in bad blood when founding President Jomo Kenyatta forced out his vice president, Jaramogi Odinga, following a series of disputes.

About five decades later, it is the sons' turn in the spotlight.

Though the two are the main players, there are a total of eight presidential contenders.

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Uhuru Kenyatta

One of two deputy prime ministers, he has the political clout and the resources. He was born into a wealthy, powerful family and is one of Africa's richest, according to Forbes magazine.

If elected, the 51-year-old would be the nation's youngest president.

He lost the presidential election in 2002 to the incumbent, but has maintained his popularity.

But his fame has come at a price.

He is facing crimes against humanity over accusations he mobilized a tribal militia to fight in the last disputed election. He has denied the charges.

Despite the International Criminal Court indictment, supporters have stood by him. His running mate, William Ruto, has also been indicted by the ICC, and both will appear at the Hague this year.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he is a candidate for the Jubilee Coalition.

Raila Odinga

The current prime minister is a political veteran who spent years in government detention in the 1980s after a failed coup attempt.

After he was freed, he went into political exile in Norway and returned to fight for democracy in 1991 at a time when elections in the nation were single party affairs.

Odinga, 68, enjoys massive popularity in Kibera, the nation's largest slum, which is under his constituency.

A fixture in the nation's politics for decades, the office of the prime minister was created for him in a power-sharing deal after a disputed election in 2007.

He attended university in Germany, and is a candidate for the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy.

Musalia Mudavadi

The second deputy prime minister has been in politics for more than two decades, and has served as a running mate to both frontrunners in previous elections.

He started off as a member of parliament in 1989, and later become minister for finance. He had a short stint as the nation's vice president more than a decade ago.

The 52-year-old former rugby player is a contender for the Amani Coalition. He graduated from the University of Nairobi.

Martha Karua

The veteran politician's win would make her the first female president in Kenya. She was a big part of the current government, but cut ties with it four years ago when she resigned as justice minister.

A former lawyer, the 55-year-old Karua has said if she doesn't win the presidency, she will retire from politics.

She equates her leadership to that of a mother, and has said she will run the government like a household and not let her children go hungry.

Her campaign slogan is "Simama na Mama," which translates to "Support Mom" in Swahili.

The University of Nairobi alumna is a contender for the National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya party.

Other candidates:

Four others are running, including former banker Peter Kenneth, Mohammed Dida, Paul Muite and James Ole Kiyiapi.

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