The coming elections in Kenya are causing major consternation in London amid fear that the outcome may unravel key British strategy in east Africa.
Uhuru Kenyatta, the candidate running neck and neck with his main opponent in the polls, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity – and the UK's position is that it will have nothing but the most "essential" contact with someone in that position. Mr Kenyatta is accused of orchestrating the violence which left 1,300 people dead during the last elections in 2007.
Britain's close links with Kenya on anti-terrorist operations, military affairs, trade and aid distribution has been the subject of a series of Whitehall cross-departmental meetings, to try to decide what action to take should Mr Kenyatta win, The Independent understands.
The UK has a longstanding military training base in Kenya, visited by 10,000 UK personnel a year, and Kenya is also a regional trade hub for UK businesses.