KENYA– The top leadership of the electoral commission, waiters at a city bar and relatives of the murdered elections technology manager are among those questioned by police as the hunt for his killers got under way on Tuesday.
Mr Christopher Msando’s widow and a waiter are among those questioned by detectives, seeking to piece together his last moments and find his killers.
Until his death in the early hours of Saturday, Mr Msando was systems development manager at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and played a key role in the installation and management of digital technology to be used in voting and tallying.
His naked body, with injuries, was discovered in a thicket in Kikuyu on Saturday morning, taken to City Mortuary and was not identified until Monday.
On Tuesday, the government said it will accept an offer of help, once it is formally made, from the governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom for investigators to join its team.
Also, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and his top commanders met IEBC leadership to assess their security needs and threats they faced in conducting the General Election on Tuesday next week.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had called on the government to step up the security of election officials following the murder of the ICT manager.
“In our mind as a commission, the only issue is who killed him and why and that is the question that must be answered.
We are a few days to the elections and we all know it’s the duty of the government to provide security for all Kenyans and at this point in time, I demand from the government that they provide security for all employees of IEBC for us to give Kenyans free and fair elections,” said Mr Chebukati.
Earlier in the day, the chairman tried to allay fears that the killers of Mr Msando may have obtained, through torture, critical passwords to the electoral system and could use them to manipulate results.
At a campaign rally in Eldoret, President Uhuru Kenyatta condemned the murder and called for speedy investigations to find the killers.
Sources among the investigators said they had questioned Mr Chebukati, commission chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba and other top officials at Anniversary Towers over the killing.
Mr Boinnet, in a statement, revealed that police had questioned waiters at Number 7 Club on the city’s Koinange Street where Mr Msando had drinks after leaving the office at about 10.30pm on Friday night.
Our investigations had established that Mr Msando left Anniversary Towers at 9.30 pm for Number 7 Club, while police put the time at 10.50 pm.
BODY IN THE BUSH
At the club, Mr Msando met a woman, identified as 21-year-old Carol Ngumbu, whose body was also found in the bush, metres away from where Msando’s lay in Muguga, Kiambu County.
At 2.30am, investigators established, he was in the company of a woman, who is not Ms Ngumbu. It was said that the woman, who was wearing a red top, was one of the suppliers to IEBC.
Minutes before 3am, the woman was photographed in Mr Msando’s car on Bunyala Road.
The police also questioned Mr Msando’s widow. She reported on Sunday that her husband had gone missing.
Investigators wanted to know why she had taken long to report, and she answered that it was common for him not to return home on weekends.
In his statement, Mr Boinnet said Msando left his Anniversary Towers office at 10.50pm on Friday and was spotted in the company of two other persons (a male and a female) at Number 7 Club on Koinange street.
His car was captured by integrated communication command and control centre (IC3) cameras at Uhuru highway-Haile Selassie Avenue round-about at 2.24am.
The statement said the vehicle was again captured a minute later at Bunyala road-Uhuru Highway round-about, heading towards Mombasa Road.
In both instances, according to the IG, it had two occupants (a male and female) in the front seats.
At 2.34am, the same car was captured on Mombasa road towards Nyayo stadium but this time there was only one male occupant in the driver’s seat heading towards the city centre.
At 2.47am, the car was captured on Ring Road Ngara/ Juja Road intersection moving towards Thika road.
The police investigations also established that on Sunday, at 12.30am, the car was found abandoned behind Thika Road Mall (TRM).
A day later, the investigators got information that two unknown bodies (male and female) were lying at City Mortuary. On inquiry, it was established that on Saturday at about 8.30am, the bodies were found by residents of Kerwa location, Kikuyu sub county.
The area chief was informed and he informed the Kikuyu Police Station.
Police took the bodies to the City Mortuary at 11.50am the same day. Relatives of the deceased identified the bodies on Monday.
A waiter at Number 7 Club confirmed that Mr Msando met Ms Ngumbu and another man there The waiter said the man left, leaving behind the two, who left the club at about 1am.
A water vendor in Roysambu, near where the car was found, said the vehicle had been parked near the same building about two weeks ago. He remembered this incident because the car blocked the loading point for his water tanker.
The statement also notes that Mr Msando had on December 22, last year, report at Central Police Station that some unknown persons using three cellphone numbers sent him abusive and threatening messages two months previously.
He was referred to the DCIO, Central, but declined to record a statement, saying he would do so later. He never followed up the matter with the DCIO.
In Roysambu, a woman living in one of the houses near TRM was questioned by police.
LIFE IN DANGER
A neighbour told the Nation that the woman, on more than one occasion, attracted the attention of other residents after she returned home late and threw out the house help.
Police sources claimed that when Mr Msando complained to police that his life was in danger, he allegedly told them that those who threatened him were uncomfortable with his relationships.
The same sources claimed that those interviewed by the police said the “noisy woman” was either a second wife or girlfriend. She was, however, not identified.
Mr Msando’s disappearance was made public by Mr Chebukati in a press statement on Sunday morning, moments after his wife, Elsa Auma, reported to the Embakasi Police Station.
Mr Msando had acted as the ICT director after Mr James Muhati was sent on a 30-day compulsory leave on May 27 after failing to co-operate with the audit department.
At the IEBC on Tuesday, staff in a sombre mood were in last minute preparations for the simulation of the results transmission system set for Wednesday.