Fears of violence increases in Kenya after torture and murder of election official

Chris Msando
Chris Msando, the election board's head of information, communication and technology was tortured and killed by unknown persons

A senior Kenyan election official was found murdered on Monday three days after going missing, poll officials said, stirring fears of turmoil before next week’s national vote.

Chris Msando, the election board’s head of information, communication and technology, was tortured before he died, the vote body told journalists, without giving further details.

Kenyans – who saw their 2007 vote descend into ethnic violence – will chose their next president, lawmakers and local representatives on Tuesday next week.

“There’s no doubt that he was tortured and murdered,” Wafula Chebukati, the chair of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, told journalists outside the City Mortuary.

“The only issue is who killed him and why … I demand from the government that they provide security for all members of the IEBC for them to give Kenya free and fair elections.”

Police were not immediately available for comment.

“This is someone who was involved in a critical component of the elections – the electronic infrastructure. This will definitely raise suspicious and undermine public confidence in the outcome,” said Rashid Abdi, regional analyst at International Crisis Group.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, seeking a second and final five-year term, is running against veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Odinga says that fraud robbed him of victory in the last two elections. In 2013, electronic voting machines suffered widespread malfunctions, but Odinga took his complaints to court, which dismissed them.

In 2007, he called for street protests after tallying was abruptly stopped and a winner announced. Political protests and ethnic violence killed more than 1,200 people.

The announcement of Msando’s death came days after an attacker killed a policeman outside the vice president’s country home.

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