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Kenyans Vote in Presidential Election

In the urban crush of Kibera, things were much rockier, with polling centers opening up to three hours late. Rumors of rigging circulated among the lines of people, who occasionally erupted in impatient shouts, but mostly remained calm as the hours dragged on.

At the polling center where Odinga was to vote, lists of names beginning with O -- O names are common among the Luo -- went temporarily missing, along with the M's -- commonly Kikuyu names -- and the A's, until the situation was sorted out.

Odinga, who had been scheduled to vote in the morning, finally cast his ballot around 1 p.m.

"It's on purpose," said Terry Ombaka, 22, a musician smushed body-to-body in the shadeless O line, which she had endured since 5 a.m.

"They know what they're doing," said her friend Jackline Ochieng, 20, referring to suspicions that Kibaki's team would rig the vote, a charge the government has denied, and which international election monitors have not substantiated.

With expectations high among Odinga's supporters that he would win the election, there was also a fear that if the results turn out differently, volatile areas such as Kibera might erupt in riots.

On Wednesday night, the vigilante groups that rule Kibera lit bonfires around the entrances to the slum and checked cars for anything that might suggest vote-rigging.

Those fires still smoldered in the clear, spring air Thursday, and some of the young men guarding the roads promised that they would "go guerrilla" if Odinga didn't win.

But others standing in the long lines -- electricians, mechanics, fruit-sellers, cellphone vendors, corn-on-the-cob hawkers and computer technicians with hopes transcending their surroundings -- said that Kenya had moved beyond that point.

"We are optimistic that with a Raila government, the economy will really grow, and that will change how everyone lives," said Kennedy Mango, 34, referring to the candidate by his first name, as he is commonly known. But if he does not win, he added, "we will accept the results of our fellow Kenyans."

Special correspondent Charles Wachira contributed to this report.


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