Kenya's electoral body's ICT manager goes missing
NAIROBI, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's electoral body said Sunday its manager in charge of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has gone missing ahead of the Aug. 8 general elections.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said the last communication the commission received from Chris Msando is an SMS text sent to his colleagues at around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning.
"The content of the text suggests that he was conscious and fully aware of its itinerary for that day," IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Msando was one of the few staff at the commission with knowledge of where the ICT servers are kept. The family reported the matter to the police saying they could not trace him since Saturday dawn.
The incident is a big blow to IEBC as Msando was to lead a dry run program on Monday to demonstrate how transmission of results would be done. It also comes a week to the elections.
"The matter has been reported to the police and the commission together with family members is working with the police to establish his whereabouts," Chebukati said.
Msando had been on a local television station for a show where he highlighted their plans to deliver credible polls.
The family said his mobile phones were not reachable since Saturday when he curiously sent a message to his wife saying he was well in the city center.
His brother Peter Msando said Chris could not fail to talk to the family and rarely spent his nights out without communication.
"The last time he communicated with his wife was Saturday at 3 a.m. and he just said he was okay. We don't know where he is," said Peter.
The family visited IEBC chairman and held a meeting for long before the information was made public.
One family member said Msando had received a number of death threats through his mobile phones in the past months. The threats were linked to his work. He reported the threats to the police.
No arrest has been made since. Msando had three different mobile lines because of the persistent threats. Police said they are also puzzled with the incident and an investigation had been launched.
The latest incident comes after the electoral body sent home its ICT director in May over claims of sabotage.
Director for ICT James Muhati was sent on a compulsory leave by the commission following accusations that he had refused to cooperate in an ongoing audit of ICT systems. Muhati was later reinstated.