KYSY Report: Why are the Kenyan Elections in dispute

The dispute is over presidential results that were verbally announced as final on August 11th, and the numbers and documentation released on the website of the electoral board.

 

Ten days after the announcement, documentation on the website portal of the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) remains incomplete and numbers are wildly contradictory.

 

The public expectation, created by the IEBC itself, was that presidential results would not and could not be announced without supporting documentation displayed on the website.

 

Ezra Chiloba, the electoral board CEO, said during a simulation exercise of the electronic results transmission on August 2nd, that Kenyans would have real time access and be able to develop real time tallies of the polls. He reassured media and the public in general they would have “unfettered access to all the results from all the polling stations” as the results came in1. Despite these assurances, parallel tallying efforts experienced severer pressure from the state throughout the election cycle.

 

According to the IEBC, the electronic transmission system was configured so that the ‘submit’ button could only show after a full entry of data had been made, which included the scanned copy of the declaration form from the polling station. The numbers and the scanned images would be digitally transmitted simultaneously by the electronic system known as the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System, or KIEMS. IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati explicitly stated that “the primary document and what [IEBC] will use as the final result- is the scanned document”

1 Patrick Lang’at. August 2, 2017. “IEBC tests electronic results transmission from counties.” Daily Nation. Available at <http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/IEBC-tests-results- transmission/1064-4042450-lpl4hmz/index.html>.

 

The IEBC had continually emphasized the accountability aspect of this transmission system both publicly and privately. With Kenya’s history of disputed elections, it was key to confidence. Chris Msando, the murdered former IEBC Technology Manager, headed up the results transmission system. He told KYSY on May 16th, in a public forum, that the electronic system had been set up for simultaneous transmission in a manner that allowed for public tallying – numbers could be checked against the scanned images of the forms as the results came in.

 

Chris Msando’s body was found two days before the scheduled dry-run of the results transmission exercise. That the ICT Manager of the Electoral Commision was found dead, tortured and missing an arm is alarming, particularly if IEBC’s systems’ security requires finger or thumb prints. It seems reasonable to be suspicious that the integrity of the IEBC’s systems were compromised.

 

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Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) is an independent non-profit organization whose governance and anti-corruption reform initiatives are aimed at addressing the structural causes of Kenya’s governance crisis while facilitating permanent civic vigilance..read more

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