NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – Two days after the mysterious death of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ICT Manager Christopher Msando, Kenyans are still trying to come to terms with the death of a man charged with delivering credible transmission of results in next week’s polls.
Secretary to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), Patricia Nyaundi, has termed the death of Msando as unfortunate and hopes that his death was not work related.
“I just hope that the death of Msando was not linked to what he was doing at the electoral body in his capacity as the ICT Manager, I also hope that may the people behind his killing not succeed in further making this election to be difficult,” said Nyaundi who spoke to Capital FM News during an interview at the KNCHR offices.
Msando’s death which was confirmed by the IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on Monday was received with shock in the country with his death coming just days to the General Election.
Nyaundi is convinced that the murder of the man who was at the centre of election preparedness was ill motivated but said that the police should be given time to do their investigations.
“Every murder by definition is ill motivated, we can only be certain by allowing the police to do a thorough investigation that will ascertain the real cause of death of Msando,” said Nyaundi.
On Monday during an interview at a local television station, Police Spokesperson Charles Owino appealed to the public to not speculate on the death of Msando.
“We have institutions that are mandated to investigate and if you have any information that can be of help to us, please come forward still, avoid using the social media badly,” Owino appealed.
Nyaundi also insisted that the Chebukati-led team should come out strongly and assure that the credibility of the elections will still be intact even after the death of Msando.
“It would be extremely unfortunate if we were led to believe by the institution itself that it is now unable to deliver credible elections on account of the unfortunate death of Msando. IEBC should constantly assure the public that the elections will be transparent,” said Nyaundi.
She raised concerns over why the police did not act swiftly to provide Msando with necessary security following his constant complains to the police that his life was in danger.
“It is unfortunate that if at all he had raised concerns about his security and no measures were taken to enhance his physical security, it speaks very badly about our level of risk awareness, our level of risk mitigation and our level of response to these risks, something should have been done,” said Nyaundi.
The unexplained series of deaths in the country and yet the people responsible are yet to be revealed is another issue that Nyaundi said should be addressed.
“We cannot as a country enter into a comfort zone of unexplained deaths; it is completely unacceptable in a democratic society. We must begin as a country to value human life especially the lives of Kenyans who are rendering critical services in this country,” said Nyaundi.
Kenya Human Rights Commission Executive Director George Kegoro who also added his voice to the death of Msando, appealed to the government to ensure that the safety of the IEBC staff is prioritised during the election period.
“Even as the investigations continue, I appeal to the State to take the necessary actions to secure the safety of the IEBC Commissioners and all its employees,” said Kegoro.
Kegoro further said the employees of the polls body should be given assurances that they will be fully protected by the government when discharging their duties.
“An intimidated and fearful staff will not fully deliver on its mandate or respect its oath to act without fear or favour in carrying out the important responsibilities it has been entrusted by the citizens of Kenya,” said Kegoro.
On the other hand, Kenyans on the streets of Nairobi elicited mixed views on the death of Msando and whether the polls body will be able to still deliver credible elections as expected.
Andrew, was very pessimistic on the manner the poll agency will handle the elections. “I do not think that they can be able to handle the elections well as expected, it will have hitches because the commissioners are shaken following the death of their colleague,” he said.
Others like Samuel believe that the electoral agency will be able to deliver transparent elections, “Msando will be replaced and yes, there are other competent staff of IEBC who can deliver credible elections,” said Samuel.
Msando’s body and that of a woman identified as Caro Ngumbu, 21, were found stripped of clothing in a thicket in Kiambu county and were transported to the City Mortuary on Saturday at 11am by Kikuyu Police Station officers.
He was recorded as an unknown person according to the mortuary records.