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Kenya: technology failed during general election

Kenya , 08 Sep 2017

Kenya: technology failed during general election

A leaked memo from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) revealed that technology was subverted during the 8 August general election. This led to official results of the presidential election being nullified by the Supreme Court.

The document, written by the chairman Wafula Chebukati and sent to IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba, showed that technology failed in the elections and that some polling stations did not send presidential results.

An excerpt from the memo states: "Respond and avail an explanation as to why 595 polling stations failed and/or otherwise refused to send any results for the presidential election. Respond and explain what went wrong with the KIEMS results transmission where over 10,366 out of 40,833 polling station sent text results without the accompanying Forms 34."

Chebukati said that these polling stations had over 4,636,556 voters.

The memo also puts into question the security of IEBC systems, raised in the Supreme Court report.

"Explain why the Commission adopted and used a porous file server system to transmit Forms 34B; In the stead of creating and using a secure IP address; which made it easy for individuals to manage account on each other's behalf a clear security risk," Chebukati asked.

He also requested an explanation of why members of the Commission's IT department created an account in his name and transacted nearly 10,000 records on the server.

The KIEMS kit devices reportedly had their GPRS location switched off on 5 Augusth, three days before the elections.

Chebukati also questions why the satellite phones purchased at Kshs 848 million did not transmit results from anywhere in the country.

After the Supreme Court ruling that nullified the presidential results, Chebukati announced that he would initiate changes before the next round of elections.

Days later he presented a new team to conduct the 17 October rerun and replaced the ICT director James Muhati with Alfred Gogo.

The IEBC's ICT department has been clouded in controversy after James Muhati was sent on compulsory leave to be replaced by Chris Musando.

Musando's death made headlines in the run up to the election, and James Muhati reassumed the position.

Some Commissioners in IEBC have distanced themselves from the leaked memo.

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