Published On: Mon, Jul 31st, 2017

Missing Kenyan Electoral Official Was Murdered, Says Agency

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BLOOMBERG: Kenya’s election authority said a high-ranking official who went missing three days ago was found dead, a week before the East African country holds its presidential vote.

The body of Chris Msando, an ICT manager at the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission, was found on Monday at a mortuary in the capital, Nairobi. The commission is working with the police to ensure his killers are caught, its chairman, Wafula Chebukati, told reporters outside the facility.

“There is no doubt that he was tortured and murdered,” Chebukati said. “The only issue in our minds is who killed him and why.”

Msando was among a small number of people at the commission who had knowledge of the whereabouts of its servers, the Nairobi-based Star newspaper reported, without citing anyone. He’d previously reported to the police that he’d received death threats, it said.

Elections in Kenya are fraught times for investors because a dispute over the outcome of a 2007 vote triggered two months of violence that left 1,100 people dead. Last month, Kenya’s main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, accused the IEBC of plotting to rig the election. The former prime minister, who’s challenging incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, has warned there may be violence if the electoral authority fails to ensure this year’s process, to be held on Aug. 8, is credible.

The IEBC has postponed a Monday test of its election results-transmission system and will announce a new date soon, Chebukati said. He vowed the IEBC will ensure all its employees’ lives are “secured” before voting day.

‘Key Person’

The National Super Alliance, which is backing Odinga’s bid for the presidency, condemned the killing. Addressing reporters in Nairobi, coalition spokesman Musalia Mudavadi said Msando’s responsibilities included systems dealing with voter identity verification, electronic tallying and transmitting results.

“He was at the nerve center,” Mudavadi said. “He was supposed to lead the results transmission trial run today. It’s telling that the key person has been eliminated at this delicate time.”

The killing is “an attempt to drive a dagger into the heart of the forthcoming election, and indeed a dagger into the heart of Kenyan democracy,” he said. “But we are totally confident that this terrible crime will accomplish the opposite and strengthen all Kenyans’ will to demand a free, fair and credible election.”

Source: Bloomberg Africa

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