Tension ahead of Kenya’s elections has gone two notches higher following the disappearance and subsequent death of Christopher Musando, IT Manager of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the country’s Elections Management Body.
Many Kenyans believe his death was orchestrated by individuals threatened by his resolve to prevent any form of rigging using the Kenyan Integrated Electoral Management Systems (KIEMS).
Others are convinced that the ruling government is targeting Luos in strategic positions who can prevent possible manipulation of polls results with or without the KIEMS.
The Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System will be used to identify voters and transmit results on Election Day. It is feared that elements outside the IEBC could tamper with the outcome of next week’s elections, should they gain access in any shape or form.
But the IEBC’s Coordinator for Ruiru Constituency in Kiambo County, Kwanusu Dixon told Starr News the system deployed at the constituency level is secured and can prevent any form of manipulation.
“We have trained our people to handle the equipment. At least four people at every Polling Station in this constituency can operate the machines,” he said.
“This year’s arrangement is miles ahead of what existed in 2013. This time the equipment were released in good time and we have tried it a number of times in the ‘Training Mode’. The same data on the machines will be used when we go ‘Live’ on Election Day, therefore we are more than ready for August 8,” he added.
Musando took over the EMB’s IT department following the removal of Jame Muhati. Muhati was dismissed for failing to cooperate with auditing of the country’s voters registers about three months to the elections. However, following reports of Musando’s death, many are worried some groups, particularly the ruling party could use the opportunity to rig the elections.
A lecturer at the Nairobi University who spoke to me on anonymity said even though in the past prominent citizens disappeared around elections, it was unexpected that the person who had promised the country a watertight elections where no one can interfere with the electronic aspects of the process is the one murdered in cold blood.
“Musando had developed a system that was going to prevent both the 2007 and 2013 experiences, where the will of the people was subverted. He shared the progress that had been made with the country to the admiration of all Kenyans who wanted the IEBC to use technology to prevent any form of rigging,” he said.
He said Musando’s death further casts doubt on the credibility of the impending elections even before they take place next week.
Another voter told me Musando’s death cannot be delinked from his role in the upcoming elections. He said the use of technology was going to prevent any form of rigging in the upcoming polls.
“If I was a member of the ICT team, I would say we dismantle the setup because we cannot know who the next person to disappear will be,” he said.
He said whoever killed Musando will eliminate anyone who took over his job to further his agenda.
More Kenyans are demanding investigations into Musando’s murder before next week’s elections. They believe that is the only way trust in the electoral process can be regained.