IT Guy's July Murder Is Now Roiling Kenya

Losing candidate won't accept results, says killing led to a massive election hack
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2017 12:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – Last month, the IT manager of Kenya's election commission was brutally murdered. Now his death is playing a role in unrest in the wake of Tuesday's presidential vote, chaos that threatens to plunge Kenya into violence with reverberations around the African continent. Here's what's happening:

  • Disputed results: The first results in the closely watched election suggest a clear-cut finish: President Uhuru Kenyatta got more than 50% of the vote over opposition leader Raila Odinga and thus can avoid a runoff. The problem: Odinga is refusing to accept the results, alleging that hackers helping Kenyatta's party rigged the outcome, reports the BBC. Election officials inside and outside the country are scrambling to assess the claims.
  • The murder: Odinga cites the July killing of Chris Msando, whose tortured body was found on the outskirts of Nairobi. He had been in charge of IT for Kenya's election body, and Odinga alleges that Msando's killers stole his credentials, accessed the nation's election servers on Tuesday, and manipulated them to ensure a big Kenyatta win, reports the New York Times. The election "was a fraud," he charged.

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  • Violence begins: Odinga called for calm, but his supporters already have begun staging sometimes violent protests, reports the AP. At least two people were fatally shot in unrest in Nairobi. A decade ago, another disputed election—Odinga lost that one, too—led to what was essentially a civil war that left more than 1,200 dead and 600,000 displaced.
  • 2 troubling quotes: "I don't control the people," said Odinga after his call for calm. And his supporters chanted "No Raila, no peace" in the western city of Kisumu, reports Reuters.
  • Bellwether: This has repercussions beyond Kenya's borders, writes Joshua Keating at Slate. Kenya is "something of a bellwether" in Africa, where electoral democracy already seems to be faltering in nations such as Zambia, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he writes. The piece also lays out the ethnic rivalries at play in Kenya.
(Read more Kenya stories.)

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