Uhuru Kenyatta casting vote in Kenyan national elections. Kenyatta has accused Britain of interfering in the elections., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Kenya Election: Kenyatta Team Criticises UK
Uhuru Kenyatta's campaign team accuse a British diplomat of working to deny their candidate outright victory.5:30pm UK, Wednesday 06 March 2013
Ballot boxes for the various electoral positions are collected in Nairobi
By Sara Mojtehedzadeh in Nairobi
The team running the presidential campaign for Kenyan presidential frontrunner Uhuru Kenyatta has accused Britain's High Commissioner of "canvassing to deny outright victory" to its candidate.
Mr Kenyatta, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, has lead the provisional vote count by a slim majority since polls closed on Monday.
But controversy has erupted over whether the high number of rejected ballots should be included in the final tally of votes cast.
Counting the rejected ballots could cut Mr Kenyatta's share of the total vote to below 50%, forcing the election to a second round.
Speaking on behalf of the Jubilee Coalition, the political coalition that supports him, former Water Minister Charity Ngilu said she was "deeply concerned about the shadowy, suspicious and rather animated involvement of the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr Christian Turner, in Kenya's 2013 General Election".
She added: "The British High Commissioner, in cahoots with (human rights activist) Maina Kiai has been canvassing to have rejected votes tallied in an attempt to deny the Jubilee Coalition outright victory as indeed all indicators are showing at the moment."
Asked if he believed the West was seeking to derail his campaign, Mr Kenyatta said in an exclusive interview with Sky News ahead of the March 4 election that he "didn't know", but that the final decision on the country's new leadership should rest with Kenyans alone.
The Kenyatta team also took issue with what it called the "abnormally high influx of British military personnel in the country".
Mr Turner swiftly rebuffed the allegations on Twitter, saying: "Not true that UK has position/view on rejected votes; that is decision for Kenyans & if necessary Supreme Court."
The Foreign Office also issued a statement calling the claims "entirely false and misleading", adding that British troops were in Kenya as part of a regular training exercise.
The UK sends thousands of troops to its army base in central Kenya every year for training under an agreement signed between the British and Kenyan governments.
"We urge all sides to ensure calm, avoid inflammatory statements, and to take any disputes to the courts," the Foreign Office said.
The UK has provided more than £14m in funding to Kenya's new electoral commission, which was established to serve as a neutral and transparent arbiter of the elections after claims of vote rigging triggered widespread ethnic violence in the country's 2007-2008 poll.
More than 1,100 Kenyans died as a result of the unrest and up to 600,000 were displaced from their homes.
Foreign observer missions in Nairobi have presented their first analysis of the March 4 poll, praising the electoral commission for a well-conducted process and urging calm as the country nervously awaits the final result.
Responding directly to questions of foreign interference in the contest, Dr John Stremlau of the Carter Centre's Observer Mission to Kenya said the complaints should made through judicial channels.
"It does seem to me to be a mindset of the old colonial era to think that the foreign powers would be dictating to the (electoral commission) in any way," he said.
"There are going to be accusations in every election because elections are run by people who are not perfect. The accusations should be rendered to the right authorities and they must be backed by evidence."
Kenya's electoral commission is under increasing pressure after its new electronic vote counting system broke down - causing an increasingly slow and chaotic transmission of results.