The man in charge of Kenya’s computerised voting system has been murdered, just days before the country goes for a general election on August 8.
Chris Msando, the electoral commission’s IT manager, had been reported missing on Friday, according to a report by the BBC.
“There was no doubt he was tortured and murdered,” said the chairperson of the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, Wafula Chebukati.
Tension is high in the East African country as the presidential election is expected to be a close race between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his long-time opponent, Raila Odinga.
Police said on Monday that the bodies of Mr Msando and an unidentified woman were found on the outskirts of Nairobi, the country’s capital, and had been taken to a mortuary in the city.
Kenyan newspaper The Star reports that Mr. Msando’s body was found with one arm missing.
Mr. Msando was scheduled to oversee the public testing of the voting system on Monday.
The electoral commission had assured that the system would effectively eliminate vote rigging and ensure a credible election.
As with the card reader device used in Nigeria’s elections of 2015, the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System, KIEMS, is to be used to identify voters and transmit results.
Kenya had used a similar electronic system in the 2013 but it failed spectacularly, leading to manual counting of votes which some argued allowed for voter manipulation.
Mr. Msando was given the job only two months ago after his predecessor was suspended for refusing to cooperate with an audit firm which was cleaning the voters’ register.
His death will exacerbate growing concerns about the IEBC’s election preparedness and questions about its credibility.
There have been allegations by opposition parties that the government was planning to use the military to rig the election.
There are fears that there could be violent clashes between rival supporters after the result is announced, with the losers refusing to accept defeat.
More than 1,200 people were killed in ethnic, post-election violence in Kenya after a general election about 10 years ago.
Following the clashes, the International Criminal Court charged President Kenyatta and his deputy with instigating violence, but the charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
The government denied ICC accusations that its witnesses had been intimidated to prevent them from testifying.