Kenyan election official was tortured and murdered in week before general election, say officials
(independent) –A senior Kenyan election official was found murdered on Monday, three days after he went missing, poll officials said, as opposition leaders warned the killing could plunge next week’s national vote into turmoil.
Chris Msando, the election board’s head of information, communication and technology, was tortured before he died, the board told journalists, without giving further details.
Kenyans – who saw their 2007 election descend into ethnic violence – will chose their next president, lawmakers and local representatives on Tuesday next week.
“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.”
Kenya’s main opposition group, the National Super Alliance (NASA), which has repeatedly accused the government of trying to rig elections, immediately called a news conference.
“It is telling that the key person who was perhaps holding very vital passwords has been eliminated at this delicate time,” NASA’s Musalia Mudavadi said.
“Chris Msando’s brutal killing was an attempt to drive a dagger into the heart of the forthcoming election.”
Police said Msando’s body was found on Saturday and brought to a mortuary.
“We view this incident as a crime of grave proportions and a … special homicide team has been set up to investigate the murder,” Kenya’s National Police Service said in a statement.
Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, called for an urgent investigation, saying: “Msando’s killing comes as the electoral management body was due to audit its systems, a week away from the election day.”
The audit, scheduled for Monday, was cancelled, Chebukati said. Msando’s predecessor was suspended after he refused to cooperate in an audit of the electronic systems, local media reported in May.