We continue to hold out hope that Kenya’s elections that are just a few days away will have a peaceful aftermath but as Chris Msando the man that was in charge of Kenya’s computerized voting system has been found dead, that is looking less and less likely.
Tensions have been exceedingly high in recent weeks as the race between incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga continues to seem too close to call.
Chris Msando was the electoral commission IT manager, he had gone missing on Friday and then found dead on Monday. IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati said that “There was no doubt he was tortured and murdered,” continuing “The only question in our mind is who [killed him] and why he was killed a few days to elections,”
According to police, his body had been discovered with that of an unidentified woman. They had both been found in the Kikuyu area on the outskirts of Nairobi and taken to the city mortuary.
Increasing the perception that the killing had indeed been a gruesome murder, the Kenyan newspaper The Star reported that Mr Msando’s body was found with one arm missing.
The discovery of his body came on a day that was meant to be a proud and happy one for Chris Msando. The IT manager was set to oversee the public testing of the voting system which has been vaunted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as key to eliminate vote rigging and to deliver a credible election.
Prior to his death, he had described the voting system as being impossible to hack into; the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (or the KIEMS) will be used to identify voters and transmit results.
Chris Msando had taken over the job two months ago when his predecessor had been suspended for refusing cooperation to an audit firm that was hired to clean the voters’ register.
A very similar electronic system to the KIEMS had been used in the 2013 election but it failed and a manual counting of the votes had to be conducted which, it has been argued, allowed room for voter manipulation.
The fear of post-election violence has now been heightened even more as Chris Msando’s death has made the people even more skeptical of the IEBC’s election preparedness and credibility.
#RIPMsando and #ChrisMsando are trending on Twitter with people using the hashtags to express their shock and anger at his death which most consider a targeted elimination.
Meanwhile, August 8 draws closer and it seems that one of the only ways the government can ensure smooth elections is to arrest and prosecute Chris Msando’s killers speedily.