Fake Elections

Kenya had its presidential elections on 8 August 2017 and not everyone is happy with the outcome. The unhappiest of all is the main candidate to challenge to be Kenya's president, Raila Odinga. He went as far as calling them "computer generated fraud" fake elections. Before we get to what he means by that, let's roll back a few months.

The use of technology in Kenya's recent elections started, in some way, with the removal of an estimated 2,9 million ghost fake voters in Kenya's election register by the country's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The process started in May 2017 with the deployment of thousands of Kenya Integrated Elections Management Systems (KIEMS) kits that were used to identify voters.

Sadly, a week before elections, one of the senior IT managers, Chris Musando, at the IEBC was reported missing. It was later revealed he was murdered. More importantly, it is said Musando was key in sealing some loopholes in the elections ICT system.



As has become the norm across the world, there was a barrage of fake news leading up to the elections. This time around, it wasn't only written content but there were also two fake videos that looked like BBC and CNN reports if you didn't look closely. Even Facebook got in on the action and released a tool to try and combat the problem of fake news.

On election day, the same KIEMS kits were used to supposedly transmit results as they happened during the elections throughout Kenya's 1,450 wards. This is where things get interesting, for results to be confirmed as per each voting station, it is required that they are submitted along with two forms: 34a and 34b, which have signatures of party representatives and election officials. It turns out that some dodgy fake forms were submitted.

Not to mention the curious fake press release, two days before election day, that over 11,000 polling stations in Kenya have no 2G or 3G network coverage. This meant that the KIEMS kits at those polling stations wouldn't be able to immediately submit results as they were confirmed on the day.

Now, voting was done, votes apparently all counted and forms submitted and it was time for the announcement of who will be Kenya's ruling party and president. The chairperson of the IEBC, during his speech before making the announcement, revealed that commissioners hadn't signed-off the results and a break was necessary before the announcement could be made. Minutes later, the old new fake president of Kenya was announced - Uhuru Kenyatta.

Now back to, what some might say is the rightful fake president, Raila Odinga.

Odinga made the statement about the elections being a 'computer generated fraud; because allegedly he, and the NASA coalition, are in possession of database logs that apparently reveal that Musando's credentials were used to alter the results and submit them using an 'algorithm'. IEBC later disputed this and presented their own version of the logs which seemed to disprove Odinga's version mainly because Odinga's logs seemed to be from a different database system than those the IEBC presented. That's not the end of the issue as Odinga has since approached the Supreme Court in Kenya and has since been granted (along with Uhuru Kenyatta) limited access to the IEBC servers.

When all is said and done, the problem is never the technology used, but the fake people.

GIGO.

This article first appeared on 28 August 2017 in the iAfrikan Weekly Digest Newsletter, a Pan Afrikan weekly digest of the most important stories of the week which includes insights and analysis on the most topical story of the week. Subscribe here to the weekly digest and receive it every Monday morning at 06h00 Central African Time.

Comments