…Into Kenyan Election Official’s Murder
…As he leads Commonwealth election observer team
Former President John Dramani Mahama has demanded a full investigation into the murder of an official of Kenya’s Electoral Commission, Chris Msando.
At a press conference in Nairobi yesterday, the former Ghanaian President led an address in his capacity as Chairperson of a 15- member Commonwealth Election Observer team for Kenya’s general elections with the demand.
“We would join with all those calling for a full, rigorous and thorough investigation to find out who is responsible and why this murder took place,” President Mahama said.
The Kenyan election official whose body was found earlier this week had been severely tortured and strangled to death, according to an autopsy.
The BBC reports that Chris Msando’s mortal remains had deep scratches and cuts on his back and hands.
Mr. Msando was in charge of Kenya’s computerized voting system for Kenya’s Presidential election which comes off on Tuesday.
“There was no doubt that he was tortured and murdered,” Wafula Chebukati, chair of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), said on Wednesday.
An autopsy on the body of the woman found alongside Mr. Msando, thought to be that of his companion Carol Ngumbu, will take place on Thursday.h
lling of Mr Msando
In a joint statement, the United States and the United Kingdom said they were “gravely concerned” by the murder, calling for “free, fair, credible and peaceful elections” in Kenya.
The two countries also offered assistance in the investigation.
Mr. Msando’s family urged the Kenyan government to accept the offer in order to “conclude the matter with urgency”.
“We are deeply devastated at the tragic loss,” the family said in a statement.
“Chris Msando was a loving family man, who cherished and adored his wife and children.”
President John Mahama yesterday offered condolences to the family on behalf of the whole of the Commonwealth Observer Group.
He said on Thursday that the group was looking forward to all the Presidential candidates affirming their commitments to peaceful election saying the Observer Group was in Kenya to monitor the whole of the electoral peak season.
“We are here to observe the electoral process and will act impartially and independently as we assess its organisation and conduct.
“We will seek to assess the pre-election environment, polling day activities and the post-election period against the backdrop of Kenya’s national legislation and regulations as well as regional and international commitments.
“We will then take a view whether it has been conducted to the international and regional standards to which Kenya has committed itself, including its own laws.
“In this context, we look forward to the Presidential candidates reaffirming their commitment to peaceful elections.”
He added that the Observer Group’s planned briefings are wide ranging, encompassing election officials, political parties and local stakeholders; including citizen observers, women’s groups and youth.
Upon arrival in Kenya, he said, the group had met some parties and stakeholders and that the group had also been briefed by an advance team of observers which had been on the ground since 19 July.
“From Saturday 5 August our observers will be deployed to locations across the country. They will be in small teams and will arrive to observe preparations ahead of polling day and meet with political parties, the police, election officials and other stakeholders in their respective locations.
“On Election Day, they will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and the results management processes.
“We will issue an interim statement on our preliminary findings on 10 August 2017. A final report will then be prepared and submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and subsequently shared with relevant stakeholders and the public. The Group will depart Kenya on 14 August 2017.
“We are aware of the significance of these elections to the people of Kenya, the region and the global community. Our presence here affirms the support of the Commonwealth to Kenya and its democratic processes. We make a commitment that our observation role will be undertaken with impartiality, independence and transparency,” President John Mahama said.
Other members of the group are, Ms Natasha Stott Despoja,Former Ambassador, Senator and Party Leader, Australia, Professor Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo Former Minister of External Relations, Cameroon and Mr Christopher Cobb Journalist/Electoral Communication Specialist, Canada.
Others are Ms Pauline Welsh, Director of Legal Affairs, Electoral Commission of Jamaica, Mrs Nana Asantewa Afadzinu Executive Director, West Africa Civil Society Institute Ghana, Professor Aishah Bidin, Law Professor and Human Rights Commissioner, Malaysia and Mr Solomon Akintola Oyateru Ambassador (Retired) Nigeria.
It also includes Hon Gideon Kayinamura Ambassador (Retired), Rwanda, Ms Angelique Pouponneau, Vice-Chairperson for Inclusion and Engagement Commonwealth Youth Council, Seychelles, Mr Glen Mashinini Chairperson/Commissioner, Electoral Commission of South Africa and Ms Elizabeth Lwanga King Development Advisor Uganda.
The rest are Hon Canon Justice James Ogoola Chairman The Elders Forum of Uganda, Baroness Sandip Verma Parliamentarian, United Kingdom and Hon Justice Damian Zefren Lubuva, Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Justice at the Court of Appeal, and Chairman of the National Electoral Commission United Republic of Tanzania.