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Election official ‘tortured and murdered’ before vote

Chris Msando’s body was found in a forest outside Nairobi just over a week before election he was supposed to oversee.

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Kenya

An official charged with overseeing Kenya’s electronic voting system has been found dead just days before the August 8 presidential election, according to the commission’s chairman.

The body of Chris Msando, a top information technology manager at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), has been identified at the city morgue, Wafula Chebukati, IEBC chairperson, said on Monday.

“There was no doubt he was tortured and murdered. The only question in our mind is who [killed him] and why he was killed a few days to elections,” Chebukati told reporters.

Msando was declared missing over the weekend.

In an earlier statement, Chebukati said Msando was last seen on Friday night and sent a text message to a colleague early on Saturday morning suggesting “that he was conscious and fully aware of his itinerary for that day”.

A mortuary employee said Msando’s body was brought in by police on Saturday alongside that of a woman.

Both were naked and appeared to have been tortured before their bodies were dumped in a forest in Kiambu outside Nairobi.

It was unclear why it took 48 hours for the body to be identified.

Msando was in charge of a system of electronic voter identification and vote counting seen as crucial to avoid rigging, and was the second in command in the commission’s IT department.

A source close to the IEBC told AFP news agency that Msando had helped seal loopholes that could be used to manipulate vote tallies.

Msando’s death should be “urgently” investigated, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“Msando’s killing comes as the electoral management body was due to audit its systems, a week away from the election day,” said the group’s Africa researcher Otsieno Namwaya.

Chebukati announced the cancellation of that audit after Msando’s killing.

“This is just adding more doubt and more tension to the situation in the country ahead of the election. People want to know why he was killed, who would benefit most from his death and they want a very speedy investigation,” she said.

“And whatever happens, they want a credible and fair election.”

Mysterious attack

Msando’s death follows a mysterious attack at the home of deputy president William Ruto on Saturday in Eldoret northwest of Nairobi.

Police say a lone assailant killed one police officer, wounded another, then held off security forces for nearly 24 hours before being killed.

The race for the presidential polls between President Uhuru Kenyatta and longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga has been bad-tempered and tight.

Both sides have accused the other of underhanded tactics in the run-up to the polls, with the president saying Odinga is trying to divide the nation and provoke violence, and the opposition leader claiming Kenyatta plans to rig the poll.

Odinga’s opposition alliance NASA condemned the “heinous murder” of Msando, saying in a statement they were “gravely concerned” about its implications.

“That no effort was made to camouflage this killing as an accident shows the determination of the killers to send a chilling message that they will stop at nothing to ensure the outcome they desire,” read the statement.

 

Africa

Kenyan Supreme Court Cancels Presidential Election Due To Irregularities

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Supreme court of Kenya

Kenyan Supreme Court on Friday, September 1, nullified the result of the August 8 presidential election which was won by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Presiding Judge, Justice David Maraga said the electoral board committed “irregularities and illegalities” during last month’s vote, harming the integrity of the election.

The East Africa’s apex court also ordered another presidential election to be held within 60 days, with the nullification becoming the first in the history of Kenya.

“The declaration [of Kenyatta’s win] is invalid, null and void,” said Judge David Maraga, announcing the verdict of four out of the six judges.

The Judge added that the election commission “failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution”.

Reacting to the judgment, Kenyatta’s attorneys said the court’s nullification was a “very political decision” but assured that they will live with the decision.

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Africa

Nigerian protesters demand sick President Buhari return or quit

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Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian protesters demanded Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari, receiving treatment in London for an undisclosed ailment for more than three months, either return or resign.

Buhari left for the British capital on May 7 on what is his latest medical trip, appointing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to act on his behalf.

Dozens of protesters marched in heavy rain to the presidential villa in Abuja with banners urging that the 74-year-old retired general, who headed a military regime in the 1980s, return.

“Resume or resign, Nigerians say enough is enough,” one said, with others stating: “If president Buhari cannot return to Nigeria after 90 days, then he should resign and go home”, and “Buhari, where are you? Nigerians want full disclosure. What is wrong with our president?”

The peaceful march was organised by a coalition of civil society groups under the supervision of security agents.

“We are here today because the president of Nigeria has absconded from duty,” said Deji Adeyanju, one of the organisers.

“He has not only absconded, he has continued to lie to us. This year alone the president has been away for 144 days.

“He was away for 52 days in January and he has been away again today for 92 consecutive days. This cannot continue.”

Buhari has been dogged by speculation about his health since June last year when he first went to London for treatment of what the presidency said was a persistent ear infection.

He then spent nearly two months in London in January and February and said on his return in early March that he had “never been so ill”.

Last month, members of the ruling party and the opposition went to see him in London and even took pictures in an attempt to douse public anxiety.

The health of Nigeria’s leaders has been a sensitive issue since the death in office of president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010 after months of treatment abroad.

Buhari’s main opponents in the 2015 election that brought him to power claimed he had prostate cancer. He denied the claim.

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Africa

Twelve killed in Nigeria church shooting: hospital sources

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nigeria attack

Warri (Nigeria), Aug 6 : Gunmen stormed a Catholic church in a town in southeast Nigeria early today, killing 12 worshippers, hospital sources and witnesses said.

The attack took place at around 6am at St. Philip’s church in Ozubulu, near the city of Onitsha, witnesses said.

“So far, 12 persons have been confirmed dead and deposited in the mortuary here while several persons are receiving medical attention,” a staff worker at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, where the victims were admitted, told AFP.

Several worshippers with gunshot wounds were receiving treatment at the hospital, the source said.

Witnesses said five gunmen in masks stormed the church and opened fire on worshippers. They feared that up to 20 people may have died.

In contrast, Anambra State Police Commissioner Garba Umar said the attacker was a lone gunman, who “went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding” worshippers.

Witness Chukwuma Emeka said he had just stepped out of the church to stretch his legs “when I heard gunshots and screaming and people running inside.”

“When the chaos subsided I went inside, I saw my fellow church members dead in a pool of their own blood and many others were screaming in pain.”

Security agents were said to have cordoned off the church.

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