As countries embrace technology in conducting their general elections, it is no doubt that a section of key players might employ dubious means to emerge the victor.
Right now, that scenario is taking shape in Kenya, as the leader of the opposition Raila Odinga claims that his opponent and the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta deployed hacking strategies to beat the race.
The Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC), whose constitutional mandate is to conduct the country’s elections, is accused by Odinga of not having transparency in the vote-tallying process that saw Kenyatta take an early lead.
In the accusations, Odinga claims that the tallying process was not credible because the results streamed in were not a replica of forms that were to be returned to the commission by the presiding and returning officers.
According to the Kenyan Constitution, there is a provision that states tallying the results should be electronic. However, in areas that lack electronic means, then the law gives room for manual counting.
The same Constitution states that elections results streamed in should have accompanying forms 34A, 34B and 34C, signed with respective party agents.
The forms 34A, 34B and 34C are meant to give a tally of the votes cast for each candidate eyeing various positions from each constituency. Also, they are supposed to state the number and status of the votes.
When the vote-tallying process began, incumbent Kenyatta took an early lead. However, the opposition notes that the results did not reflect the choice of the people.
He claims the systems had been tampered due to the death of Chris Msando, who’s in charge of the electoral commission’s technology infrastructure.
Msando, who assured Kenyans that the process would be free and fair, disappeared only for his body to be found a few days later.
What’s more saddening is the fact that the body of the deceased was found alongside that of another woman who people claim was his clandestine.
The opposition argues that the killing of the chief IT figure was extrajudicial, as he was not willing to collaborate with those intending to rig the elections.
Odinga categorically states that those who killed him were only in need of passwords that he had used at the commission database.
Hours after the tallying process began, the margin difference between the incumbent Kenyatta and opposition Odinga was approximately 10 percent, with a margin alternation of no more than +1 or – 1 percent.
The interesting part is that the figures remained within that range until the point that the final results were announced, with Kenyatta garnering 54.27 and his challenger 44.74.
However, the same difference throughout the tallying process has made a sect of people aligned to the opposition conclude that the whole process was a sham.
In their view, the prospects and dynamics of voters across the country are not the same.
But in the tallying, a particular pattern was noted by keen persons allied to the Odinga camp who concluded that a code had been applied to keep the trend similar.
With regard to this, the opposition leader spearheaded a press conference with journalists from media houses across the globe.
In the much-anticipated press briefing, he referred to the declared president as a computer-generated leader whose presence does not reflect the will of the Kenyan people.
Musalia Mudavadi, a colleague to Odinga and a coalition principle, came forward and also expressed concern as to why the pattern of results streamed in constant.
Technically speaking, Kenya is a country of diverse cultures with more than 42 tribes, therefore indicating that there should be an element of randomness in the voting patterns.
But in the case of the general elections that were conducted on August 8, 2017, the IEBC databases portrayed some sort of uniformity.
But in the actual sense out of the whole of the voting bloc, the number of voters was different. Therefore, the opposition expects that the number of valid votes and rejected votes did not match the sequence of votes that was finally broadcasted.
After Odinga and his coalition made the allegations, the head of the body conducting the elections, Ezra Chiloba, said that no hacking took place but there were attempts to infiltrate the database.
Chiloba pointed out that evidence submitted by the opposition camp showed that the IEBC server ran on a SQL database, which was not the case. However, people with insider information were quick to point out that the server was run on Oracle.
The call by the opposition to have the results streamed in halted until the required forms are available bore no fruits.
Kenyatta’s camp, led by the Jubilee party secretary Raphael Tuju, said that Odinga should steer clear of blame games and accept the verdict because it was him who suggested the votes be counted and tallied electronically.
After the announcement of the results, there were massive celebrations across the country in regions that were aligned to the incumbent.
Other areas that supported the opposition held massive protests, some resulting in deaths.
In Nairobi, protests were carried out in two major towns aligned to Raila. As a result, a young girl of 10 years lost her life, and local media reports state that it was caused by a stray bullet from a policeman. In response, the police said they are investigating the matter.
Now that the whole electioneering period is over, Odinga has filed a petition at Kenya’s Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of the results.
By doing so, sanity and peace will prevail in the country. With mass action and protests, the situation will most likely get out of hand, and the result is that the country will be plunged into chaos and more deaths will arise.