Discuss as:

Kenya braces for elections, Odinga supporters rally

Will Boase / AFP - Getty Images

Supporters of Raila Odinga are pictured here traveling home after a major rally in Kisumu town on March 1, 2013. Kisumu town is the home of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and a hotbed of support for ODM and CORD. Kenya is to hold general elections on March 4.

Will Boase / AFP - Getty Images

Supporters of Raila Odinga celebrate as Raila takes the stage during a major rally in Kisumu town on March 1, 2013.

Will Boase / AFP - Getty Images

Supporters of Raila Odinga are pictured during a major rally in Kisumu town on March 1, 2013.

By Edmund Blair, Reuters

Kenyans choose a new president on Monday in a closely fought election that has divided the east African nation and raised fears of a repeat of the bloodshed that followed the tightly contested race five years ago.

Rival tribe members wielding machetes, knives, and bows and arrows butchered more than 1,200 people after the disputed 2007 vote, shattering Kenya's reputation as one of the continent's most stable democracies and dealing a heavy blow to east Africa's biggest economy from which it is only now recovering.

The government has spent five years trying to rebuild confidence with a reformed judiciary and newly appointed police commanders. Church preachers and civil society groups have brought politicians and rival voters together in rallies in Nairobi's central park to appeal for a peaceful vote.

Yet, this year's race is haunted by the past. One of the top two candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for instigating the violence after the 2007 race. And tribal loyalties will again largely determine who backs Kenyatta or his main rival Raila Odinga, 68.

Continue reading.