Raila digs in on electoral fraud claims as Uhuru widens gap

Thursday August 10 2017

 Voting officals count ballots on August 8, 2017 at the Victoria primary school polling station in Kisumu. Victoria primary school is one of the biggest polling stations in Kisumu. Kenyans today went to the polls in a general election in which a tight race is predicted between the incumbant President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga. / AFP PHOTO / FREDRIK LERNERYD

IEBC officals count ballots on August 8, 2017 at the Victoria Primary School polling station in Kisumu. PHOTO | FREDRIK LERNERYD | AFP 

By NATION TEAM
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The IEBC on Wednesday dismissed allegations that’s its election results database had been hacked and the numbers altered.

Addressing the press from Bomas of Kenya last night, electoral commission secretary Ezra Chiloba said IT experts had checked the computer system and established that it had not been infiltrated at any time before, during or after the elections.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga had earlier in the day claimed that the IEBC database had been hacked and vote tallies changed in favour of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The Results Transmission System remains a secure asset for the people of Kenya and we have maintained the integrity of the system. We confirm that there has not been any interference before, during and after the elections,” said Mr Chiloba.

Mr Chiloba said the team had also looked at the computer logs that Mr Odinga had provided to the media to back his allegations that the site had been hacked, and proved that they were not authentic.

DATA INTACT

He confirmed that checks had established that the data was intact and had not been interfered with.

Experts had also gone through the 52-page document distributed by Mr Odinga of alleged computer activity logs to prove the hacking claims, he said, and established that the logs document was not genuine as the data did not originate from the IEBC system.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is leading a team of election observers, also commented on the integrity of the IEBC computer system, which he said was secure and had not been interfered with.

Mr Kerry is leading observers from the Carter Center, and should be issuing a more comprehensive view today, but told journalists at the Bomas of Kenya that he was impressed with the process put in place by IEBC.

“The one thing that we would like emphasised, all of us who have been observers so far, and I say so far, is that the IEBC has put in place a system that provides redundancy, that the ability of the ballots to be secured and to be able to be counted appears to be very very strong,” said Mr Kerry.

PRESIDING OFFICERS

He spoke after spending about an hour being shown how the process of validating the forms filled by the presiding officers at the polling stations and signed off by the agents are being scrutinised against the images sent using the Kiems gadgets.

He suggested that the presidential candidates speak out on the process being witnessed by their agents at the National Tallying Centre, where the country has been split into six regions, with a commissioner overseeing the validation of Form 34A from each.

 “It is also going to be critical that the leaders step up and lead in the next days to give people confidence that this process is being worked through carefully, thoughtfully and respectfully,” he said.

The latest developments came as Kenya was plunged into uncertainty after Mr Odinga made startling new claims to reinforce his earlier rejection of provisional election results that gave President Uhuru Kenyatta a clear overnight lead.

Mr Odinga claimed the election results database of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was hacked into and results manipulated to President Kenyatta’s advantage.

Rejection of the results raised fears of a repeat of the 2007-2008 post-election violence when Mr Odinga disputed the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki.

A high-powered team of election observers — including former South African President Thabo Mbeki, former Ghanaian President John Mahama and Mr Kerry — is in the country to not only observe the polls but intervene swiftly in case any dispute leads to violence.

ROBERTGODEC

A top source in Nasa said they had held meetings with US ambassador Robert Godec and British High Commissioner Nic Hailey.

“We have had meetings with American and British diplomats on the need to keep peace. We have also met all election observers,” he said, seeking anonymity. “We are still consulting over the matter of going to court,” he said.

Contacted, Jubilee spokesman Raphael Tuju said: “We did not meet them. We think that is the business of IEBC. We met various observer delegations before election day. If there is engagement that we should have with them we will meet them, but at this moment in time, let them make their statements without referring to us. As of now they have not reached out to me,” he said.

The opposition leader on Wednesday claimed that alleged hackers had used the password of slain IEBC deputy ICT director Chris Msando, who was killed just a week before the elections, to access the database and manipulate it.

PASSWORDS

Top security passwords are changed often and IEBC earlier confirmed that Mr Msando’s passwords were no longer active.

The IEBC immediately denied that its database had been hacked, explaining that the results being displayed on its online portal were just provisional and would have to be confirmed against the raw data once the official forms 34A from counting stations and 34B from the constituency tallying centres were received.

Later in the afternoon, IEBC started validating the presidential election results at the National Tallying Centre as it moved to restore confidence in the vote counting, tallying and announcement of results.

Mr Odinga and his campaign managers Musalia Mudavadi and James Orengo had on Tuesday night demanded that the IEBC halt the online display of results until the actual forms were available.

Mr Odinga’s fresh allegations yesterday centred on the hacking claim, giving dates and times that he claimed the IEBC database was accessed by unauthorised persons and election results altered.

He spoke in the presence of his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, Nasa campaign secretariat chairman Mudavadi, Mr Orengo and Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama.

“While Kenyans were bearing the long queues to determine their destiny, the conspirators began the execution of their plan. Some persons conspired and executed a scheme to deny Kenyans their democratic right to elect their leaders,” said Mr Odinga.

WILL OF THE PEOPLE

“We have uncovered the fraud. Uhuru must go home. The will of the people is unstoppable. We had a superior one in the clouds. The IEBC must be fully accountable,” he said.

He claimed he was leading in the tally of results.

The IEBC figures in the morning had President Kenyatta at 6.3 million votes against Mr Odinga’s five million.

By Wednesday evening the president had 7,984,904 votes (54.32%) against his main challenger’s 6,589,395 (44,80%).

Mr Musyoka joined Mr Odinga in asking Nasa supporters to  maintain peace, but warned that “There will come a time when we may want to call you to action.”

The Nation established on Wednesday that Mr Orengo was preparing to file a case in court to block IEBC from declaring the presidential election results and the swearing-in of President Kenyatta.

The electoral commission in the meantime rejected demands to halt the results display, insisting that the results being made public were based on the actual numbers confirmed by presiding officers and agents of the candidates.

BOMAS

Yesterday IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati gave an assurance that the results available on its portal, which are also on display on big screens at Bomas, were not final. 

“Aspersions have been cast on the result transmission by some of our stakeholders. We would want to state that the results on the screen are not the official results,” he told press conference, adding that the official results are those contained in the result forms.

“The commission has called for the original Forms 34A and Forms 34B from all the polling stations and the constituency tallying centres,” he added.

A desk was also set up at the Bomas of Kenya for the presidential candidates’ agents to access the original forms “and compare with what they have”.

In addition, the commission started uploading the results declaration forms on its public portal for any interested party to access and verify.

On the claims by Nasa that the IEBC system had been hacked and the results changed, the commission said it was investigating.

“If there are such claims we are looking into them. We had a system that has carried us all through and it has worked but there have been concerns raised and these cannot be ignored,” said Mr Chebukati.

CHILOBA

However, IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba appeared to contradict the chairman when he said that the figures broadcast were official as they were based on the statutory results declaration forms, which have been condensed into text format since uploading the forms was tedious.

Regarding Nasa’s claims that someone had used Msando’s password to gain entry into the IEBC servers, Mr Chebukati said they were looking into the concerns.

Mr Chiloba, however, dismissed Nasa claims that Mr Msando’s password could have been attained and used by hackers.

 “The manner in which the system was set up was such that it meets the highest level of integrity,” he said, adding that in any case the said passwords were in sole possession of the supplier of KIEMS, Morpho of France until just a few days to the elections.

In the validation exercise, “each commissioner has been given seven to eight constituencies to oversee,” IEBC vice chairperson Consolata Maina explained.

From the Forms 34A, which come from the polling stations and 34B from the constituency tallying centres, the commission said it will generate Form 34C, which collates results for each candidate from all the 290 constituencies.

Form 34C is also the one that IEBC will use to declare the results, which by law should be done by August 15, or seven days from the date of the elections. The commission has invited all the agents of the eight presidential candidates to observe the validation.

Reported by Walter Menya, David Mwere, Wanjohi Githae, John Ngirachu and Patrick Langat