All eyes are on Kenya as 14.2 million voters out of a total population of 37 million prepare to go to the polls on 27 December to choose their next president and parliamentary and local government representatives.

The elections will be monitored by over 20,000 observers, including 200 from the United States and 150 from the European Union. This is a sign of the interest taken by the leading industrialised countries in Kenya's political development and stability.

Over 3,000 local and foreign journalists are also criss-crossing the country to update their viewers, listeners and readers on the presidential race, which is pitting the incumbent president Mwai Kibaki, who is seeking a second term on a Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket, against his two former cabinet ministers, Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and ODM-Kenya's Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka.

The last opinion polls before the election, conducted by Nairobi-based Steadman Group, showed Odinga leading with 45 per cent, followed closely by Kibaki with 43 per cent and Musyoka trailing at 10 per cent.