Election officials in Kenya began counting ballots by hand on Wednesday after the electronic voting system broke down, while a top presidential candidate levied charges that Britain is meddling in the vote. The party of Deputy Prime Minster Uhuru Kenyatta – the candidate who faces charges at the International Criminal Court and is the son of Kenya’s founding president – accused the British high commissioner of “shadowy, suspicious and rather animated involvement” in efforts to get the election commission to make a decision on how rejected ballots should be counted in the overall vote total. Mr. Kenyatta’s party also asked the high commissioner, Christian Turner, to explain what it called “the sudden upsurge of British military personnel” in Kenya. British troops attend a six-week training course near Mount Kenya before deploying to Afghanistan. A new battle group arrived the week before Kenyans voted.
Kenyans on Monday held their first presidential vote since the nation’s disputed election in 2007 spawned violence that killed more than 1,000 people. Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Mr. Kenyatta are considered the top two contenders.
Election observers from around the world said Wednesday that Kenya carried out a credible election on Monday, but the groups reserved final judgments until the counting process is completed.
Kenyans were growing increasingly frustrated that the announcements of public vote tallies have ceased close to 48 hours after polls closed. Kenya’s election commission was forced to abandon its electronic tallying system after it broke down.
The breakdown of the electronic voting system has meant that less than half of the results have been released, and officials – who have been working to ensure violence doesn’t break out – are calling on the public to remain patient.