Credit…Luis Tato/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A homicide set the stage for Kenya’s final election.
Eight days earlier than the vote in 2017, Chris Msando, a senior electoral official, was discovered lifeless, bearing torture marks, in a forest exterior Nairobi. His girlfriend, Carol Ngumbu, lay beside him. Both had been strangled, a autopsy examination discovered.
The demise of Mr. Msando, the official in cost of the election outcomes transmission system, instantly aroused suspicions of a hyperlink to vote rigging. Weeks later, the opposition challenger, Raila Odinga — one of the candidates within the present race — contested the leads to court docket. He claimed that the electoral fee’s server had been hacked by individuals utilizing Mr. Msando’s credentials to provide his opponent, Uhuru Kenyatta, an unfair lead.
The election was finally rerun, with Mr. Kenyatta profitable once more. But the killings of Mr. Msando and his associate had been by no means solved.
It was a grisly reminder that Kenya’s elections, though among the many costliest and elaborate in Africa, are additionally bitterly contested affairs which have regularly been marred by road violence, prolonged courtroom dramas and loud accusations of foul play.
A dispute over leads to the 2007 election plunged the nation right into a maelstrom of ethnic violence that went on for months, leaving at the least 1,200 individuals lifeless and compelling 600,000 extra to flee their properties. In one episode, a mob set hearth to a church exterior the city of Eldoret, burning to demise the ladies, kids and older individuals hiding inside.
The scale of the turmoil shocked Kenyans, many fearing that the nation was tipping right into a civil battle, and later attracted investigators from the International Criminal Court.
In 2011, the court docket charged a number of leaders with crimes towards humanity, together with Uhuru Kenyatta, who later turned president, and William Ruto, who received the presidency within the present race, in accordance with the top of the nation’s election fee. But the prosecution collapsed in 2016 after the federal government stopped cooperating with the court docket.
In January 2018, Mr. Odinga, the opposition chief who had boycotted the presidential rerun three months earlier, swore himself in as Kenya’s “People’s President” in a park stuffed with supporters — a gesture that in the end led to nothing.