As the vote counting in Kenya’s general elections, a returning officer has gone missing while on duty, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC.
This has evoked memories of the last elections when an official of the commission was kidnapped an murdered.
Daniel Musyoka, the Returning Officer for Embakasi East Constituency was last seen at his work station at the East African School of Aviation tallying centre on Thursday morning.
According to the report by the IEBC, at around 9.00am, his bodyguard escorted him from his house to the tallying centre at the School of Aviation.
“At 9.45am, Mr Musyoka excused himself from his desk to go and receive a call, and he did not return, neither has he been seen by his family,” says a statement from the IEBC.
This prompted the commission to report the matter to the police.
“Mr Musyoka’s family and the commission have been trying to reach him without success
His duties are now being handled by the returning officer,” said the commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.
He urged the relevant security authorities to speedily investigate the unfortunate incident. It is not the first time that an election official in Kenya goes missing at a critical time.
In 2017, Chris Msando, who was in charge of the computerized information system of the IEBC went missing and was found dead just over a week before the polls that current contestant Raila Odinga lost to outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta. His body lay near another one of “an unidentified woman.”
Investigations showed that Msando was tortured before being strangled.
“There’s no doubt that he was tortured and murdered,” Wafula Chebukati, the chair of the IEBC, told reporters outside the city mortuary in Nairobi.
The 8 August poll, which pits the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, against veteran challenger Raila Odinga, 72, has turned out to be unexpectedly close.
Kenyatta, who leads the Jubilee Alliance, is seeking a second and final five-year term.
Before the August 8th poll both sides were accusing each other of underhanded tactics in the run-up to the polls, with the incumbent saying that Odinga was trying to divide the nation and provoke violence, while the opposition leader claimed Kenyatta had already manipulated the system to rig the election.
The contest ended up in court which ordered a repeat election, but Odinga withdrew.
The elections have gone on relatively calmly despite a few incidents like the arrest of Starehe Constituency deputy returning officer over three missing ballot boxes.
On polling day eve, two police officers were arrested for allegedly ferrying marked elections materials in Kilgoris, Narok County.
The officers who were with another occupant in the car were saved by police from angry residents.
In Bungoma in the west of the country, an IEBC official was arrested by the police after he was found in possession of ballot papers at his home.
Webuye East sub-county returning officer, Emmanuel Onyango said the official was arrested after they received a tip-off from the residents of Maraka in Webuye, Bungoma county.
On Wednesday, a Presiding Officer and his deputy were on Wednesday arrested in Kisauni constituency for refusing to count votes at their Utange Polling Station. They were arrested at 3 am and taken to Bamburi Police Station.
Meanwhile, by 11.00 am Saturday morning, the IEBC official results showed Odinga leading with 1,244,859 votes or 61.09 against William Ruto’s 808,374 votes or 38.67 percent 756,785 votes or 37.82 percent.
These were from 2,090,508 votes cast in 40 constituencies out of a total 293 constituencies.
George Wajakoya had 8,148 Votes (0.39 percent), while David Waihiga had so far polled 4,352 votes equivalent to 0.20 percent.
These are the official results being released by the commission, while until Thursday evening, different tallying centres by media houses and private organisations were using form 34A (the polling station declaration forms) received at the IBC, to make their tallies.