Kenyan election official found dead ahead of elections

Body of Kenyan electoral official showed "evidence of torture".

The person in charge of Kenya's electronic voting system was found dead in Nairobi on 31 July, with reported signs of torture, a week ahead of the country's elections on 8 August.

As the IT manager of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC), Christopher Msando would have played a crucial role in Kenya's upcoming polls. He had been scheduled to oversee an important test run of Kenya's biometric voting technology on the day he was found dead.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said that Msando's body contained "evidence of torture" and demanded that the government provide security for all electoral staff in the run-up to 8 August when Kenyans will elect a president, parliament and county governors.

Msando reportedly held the encryption codes to ensure the authenticity of electoral results transmitted from regional polling stations, leading to concerns that votes could now be manipulated before they reach IBEC headquarters.

Msando's death has been condemned by presidential candidate Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA), a coalition of opposition parties, who said it sent a "chilling message". 

The killing was also condemned in more guarded tones by incumbent Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his multi-party Jubilee Alliance, who cautioned against speculation in order not to compromise the ongoing investigation.

Kenyatta faces Odinga in a close two-horse presidential race amid a charged political climate which has led to international fears of electoral violence.

The 8 August elections come a decade after 1,100 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the aftermath of the 2007 polls. 

Kenyatta and Odinga have both appealed to Kenya's 19.6 million registered voters to show up in large numbers on voting day.