Fears of electoral violence in Kenya rose on Monday after colleagues of a senior Kenyan election official found dead said he had been tortured and murdered.

The body of Chris Msando, the head of information, communication and technology at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the main body overseeing the polls, was found on the outskirts of Nairobi on Saturday but news of his death was released 48 hours later.

The corpse of an unidentified woman was also found.

The apparent murders come nine days before voters in the east African state will choose a new president, as well as lawmakers and local representatives.

Msando, who had a key role developing a new electronic ballot and voter registration systems at the IEBC, had been tortured before he died, election officials said.

Local media reported Msando told police he had received death threats, before going missing last week.

“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.

Both sides have accused the other of underhanded tactics in the run-up to the polls, with the president saying Odinga is trying to divide the nation and provoke violence, and the opposition leader claiming Kenyatta plans to rig the poll.

Odinga says that fraud robbed him of victory in the last two elections. In 2013, electronic voting machines suffered widespread malfunctions, but a court dismissed Odinga’s complaints.

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