Exactly a week before Kenya goes to the polls to elect a new president the lead official in charge of electronic voting was found dead on Monday after being missing for three days.
Exactly a week before Kenya goes to the polls to elect a new president, the lead official in charge of electronic voting was found dead on Monday after being missing for three days.
The body of Chris Msando, who was the head of information, communication and technology for the electoral board, was found in a bush by the side of a road near the town of Kikuyu.
The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, alleged that Msando had been tortured and murdered, although a post mortem has yet to be carried out. He has now called for all IEBC officials to be given immediate police protection in the run-up to the election.
The police were not immediately available for comment.
Kenya is no stranger to political violence, particularly when elections are held. In 2007 more than 1,200 people died after veteran opposition leader Rail Odinga called for street protests after losing the election to former president Mwai Kibaki.
Then in 2013, electronic voting machines suffered widespread malfunctions, and Odinga took his complaints to court, which dismissed them.
Odinga has alleged that fraud robbed him of victory in the last two elections.
This time around President Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of independence leader Jomo Kenyatta, is seeking a second and final five-year term.
We enjoy more support than we did in 2013 when we defeated our rivals with more than 800,000 votes. pic.twitter.com/2nFJJYsZJX
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) July 31, 2017
In 20011 he was indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity including murder, rape, persecution and deportation relating to the post-election violence in 2007.
Then in 2014 Kenyatta appeared before the court in The Hague but the case was dropped after a key witness for the prosecution refused to testify.
Msando was due on Monday to organise the public testing of the electronic voting system to reassure voters that there could be no vote rigging.
Testing of election results transmission takes place today Mon 31st July at 3pm at Bomas, also 47 county centres https://t.co/uIWen5qWMM
— IEBC (@IEBCKenya) July 31, 2017
A similar system failed in 2013 and meant that ballots were counted by hand – a far less secure method of ensuring an election is credible – which led many to accuse the government of vote-rigging.