At least a dozen people were killed in election violence in Kenya on Monday according to police sources.
Just before the polls opened it was reported that four policemen were hacked to death by a gang of machete-wielding youths in the area of Mombasa.
Later a similar attack was reported further up the coast in Kilifi.
The authorities hope a repeat of the tribal blood-letting that occurred in the election five years ago, killing more than 1,200 people, will be avoided but these attacks cast an early shadow on proceedings.
In all there are eight candidates for the presidency, but as in the 2007 vote it has come down to a two-horse race and both candidates will depend heavily on loyalists from their tribes.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga, from the Luo tribe, is the son of the country’s first vice president.
He will be pitted against Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu who is the son of Kenya’s founding president.
Kenyatta, has been indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court after he was accused with his running mate, William Ruto, of instigating the post-2007 vote violence. Charges that he denies.
To try to prevent a repeat of the violence, a new election commission has brought in new measures to speed up counting and increase transparency.
Provisional results are expected within hours of polls closing on March 4 at 15:00 CET.