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Election workers counted ballots under armed guard Wednesday in Kenya's tumultuous presidential election, marred by eight deaths, mounting complaints of vote fraud and opposition threats to reject the results.

President Daniel arap Moi, 73, who has led the nation since 1966, took an early lead among the more than a dozen challengers.

However, Kenyan and foreign observers said early results were close and that it was too early to declare a winner in Kenya's most suspenseful vote since independence from Britain in 1963.

Moi's two leading opponents, former vice president Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, met Wednesday to consider rejecting the results because of fraud.

Critics blame Moi for the rampant corruption in this country of 29 million people that has cost Kenya international loans and left its roads, schools and hospitals in shambles.

With results from 64 of the country's 210 constituencies tallied Wednesday evening, the private Kenya Television Network said Moi was leading with 759,411 votes. Next was Kibaki, with 519,180, and Odinga with 252,424.

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