FBI offers to help probe murder of Kenya's electoral boss Chris Msando

Tuesday August 01 2017
By Stella Cherono

America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation and Britain’s Scotland Yard may be drafted into the investigation to unmask the killers of Kenya's electoral agency technology manager Christopher Chege Msando.

That is if the Kenyan government accepts the offer of help given on Monday evening by the US and Britain.

US ambassador Robert F. Godec and British High Commissioner Nic Hailey condemned the killing and said they welcomed the government’s commitment to investigate the crime, adding: “We have offered our assistance in the investigation.”

The body of Mr Msando, stripped to his underwear, was identified on Monday at a public morgue in Nairobi, three days after he was reported missing.

His left arm appeared broken and he had wounds.

Key role


Mr Msando, a systems development manager, is reported to have played a key role in the management of computer systems for voter identification, transmission and tallying of results. Kenyans will vote in the General Election on August 8.

He had made a report to the police that his life was in danger.

The naked body of a woman found near his is yet to be identified. No one has come forward to claim it, possibly because her family is unaware that she has been killed.

Staff at the morgue said Mr Msando’s body was taken to the City Mortuary at 11.20am on Saturday and booked as an unidentified African male.

Police said on Monday that the bodies were discovered in a thicket in Nguriunditu area in Kikuyu, 17 kilometres west of Nairobi.


Mr Msando’s disappearance was made public by his boss, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati in a press statement on Sunday morning, moments after his wife, Elsa Auma, reported the same at the Embakasi Police Station.

In his statement, Mr Chebukati said the last communication from Mr Msando was in a mobile phone text to one of his colleagues at around 3am on Saturday.


The body of the IEBC Information Technology Manager Christopher Msando being transferred from City Mortuary to Lee Funeral Home, Nairobi, on July 31, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He was supposed to attend a meeting that morning at the Anniversary Towers, the IEBC's headquarters.

“The SMS suggests that he was conscious and fully aware of his itinerary for that day,” Mr Chebukati said of the man who was recently appointed to act as IEBC’s Data Centre and Infrastructure manager.

He had acted as the ICT director after Mr James Muhati was sent on a 30-day compulsory leave on May 27 after failing to cooperate with the audit department.

Mr Msando’s vehicle, a Land Rover Discovery 3, registration number KCB 262Q was found at the TRM Drive behind the Thika Road Mall, 12 kilometres north of Nairobi. It was towed to a police station at 1am on Monday.

Nairobi County Police Commander Japhet Koome said the vehicle had been dusted for fingerprints and that there was nothing out of the ordinary with the vehicle, which had been well parked by the road.

At 8am, police officers from the Special Crime Prevention Unit, Scene of Crime and the Flying Squad, led by its head, Mr Said Kiprotich, visited one of the block of flats nearby, where they spent the better part of the morning.

The Nation could not establish whether the officers entered any of the houses in the block.


The officers also interrogated a number of people, including the guards and caretakers of the block and neighbouring houses.

After the body was identified by the family on Monday morning, other family members, his colleagues, friends and bosses at IEBC arrived to view it.

Some relatives, overwhelmed by emotion, chased away some staff from IEBC, claiming that they were responsible for the murder of their relative.

The body had injuries to the hands, stomach, back of the head, wrist and neck.

An emotional Mr Chebukati, flanked by CEO Ezra Chiloba and commissioners, among them Dr Roselyn Akombe, said the commission was saddened by the murder of Mr Msando.

READ: IEBC's ICT manager goes missing


He termed the death as “murder” even as he agreed that a post-mortem had to be carried out to determine the cause of his death. “He had been tortured and we demand to know who killed him and why,” he said.

He demanded thorough investigations to find the killers and asked the government to provide security to IEBC employees, with only a week to the election.

He, however, appealed for calm, as “this is the only way we can deliver free and fair election”.

He postponed a simulation that Mr Msando was supposed to conduct to demonstrate how results would be transmitted on August 8.

On Friday, Mr Msando had appeared for a panel interview on NTV’sAM Live morning show, where he discussed exhaustively the transmission of election results on Tuesday next week.

The discussion lasted one and a half hours from 6am to 7.30am.

Later, he was a guest on KTNfor some minutes between 6pm and 7pm where he held a brief demonstration of the system.


Detectives examine Mr Chris Msando’s car at Kasarani police Station on July 31, 2017. His body was found at City Mortuary. PHOTO | STELLA CHERONO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

He also highlighted the commission’s election preparedness and the plans it had put in place to ensure the election is credible.

A close friend of Mr Msando said information from a company that provided a tracking device for Mr Msando’s vehicle said it had been on Thika Road and later Mombasa Road on Saturday.

The friend said Mr Msando had, two days before he disappeared, expressed fears for his life.

The friend, who requested anonymity to speak about the matter, said the deceased had also, in May, reported to the Central Police Station that he had been threatened.

City Mortuary

Mr Msando’s brother, Peter Msando said at the City Mortuary that the family was still in shock and requested that investigations into his death be speeded up.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet had not returned The Nation’s calls by the time of going to press.

Kenyans took to social media to question his killing, with most of them directing their anger to people who had earlier speculated that the ICT boss was enjoying his weekend in Roysambu, a Nairobi suburb.

Gatundu South MP, Moses Kuria, who had on Sunday posted a picture of himself next to Mr Msando’s vehicle, with allegations that he was having fun with a woman, came under fire on Twitter and Facebook.

“So, this is Chris Msando’s vehicle right now here in Roysambu. The idiot is enjoying sweet time with a woman. And the story was that he is privy to “rigging” and he can’t be found. Verily verily I say unto you Raila. You will not burn this country. Not when I am alive,”  [sic] Mr Kuria had said in the post that has since been deleted.