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Raila’s Nasa lied about access to server, IEBC says

Economist David Ndii addresses Nasa supporters at Uhuru Gardens in Mombasa. /JOHN CHESOLI

The IEBC has reignited the election servers controversy, saying the National Super Alliance lied to Kenyans that its experts were denied access.

In its internal post-evaluation report, IEBC claims Nasa accessed the servers 34 times through one John Walubengo before the August 8, 2017 poll results were released.

This was after making 54 attempts, 20 of them unsuccessful.

The commission says, on the other hand, Jubilee had 10 successful logins after 24 attempts.

This was through ex-Energy CS Davis Chirchir.

Nasa had claimed that Chirchir, a former IEBC official and a tech expert, hacked the IEBC servers and helped Jubilee to rig the polls.

The claims featured prominently in the presidential petition at the Supreme Court especially after the IEBC failed to open its servers as ordered by the judges.

In the new report, the IEBC says Collins Ndindi, an independent candidate, made 46 attempts to log into the servers but only six succeeded.

Japheth Kaluyu’s agent had three successful logins while UDP’s Ben Wafuko opened the database six times.

Thirdway Alliance’s Bildad Kagai got five successful logins, the report states.

The IEBC has also dismissed claims that it defied the apex court. The commission says it granted parties access to the information system as ordered.

But Nasa had argued that they were denied access within the 48 hours provided for by the court to verify claims of data manipulation. This was the bone of contention during the Supreme Court proceedings.

The IEBC, at the time, raised objections citing confidentiality in regard to the application for unrestricted access to the servers.

Nasa had sought to be provided with details of usernames, passwords, the location of servers, identity of password holders, IP addresses and the software.

The Supreme Court made fresh orders for read-only access to the information related to the servers, cognizant of the security concerns raised by IEBC.

“Upon receipt of the orders, the commission made efforts to expedite the orders as soon as it was practically possible,” the 265-page report reads in part.

The IEBC says it provided information to the number of servers in its possession, firewalls, operating system, password policy, password matrix, system user types and disaster recovery plan.

Other details provided to the petition parties were certified copies of penetration tests, polling station GPS locations, a certified list of all KIEMS kits, polling station allocation for each KIEMS kit, partnership agreements for the election technology and pre-downloaded login trails.

The commission further reports that all the parties accepted all the information as provided.

The IEBC says Nasa’s argument stemmed from their insistence that they couldn’t trust whether the information was from the commission’s servers or from an unverified source, hence their request for login access.

The report says the commission was pressed for time and therefore could not provide the required access within the 48 hours allocated by the court.

The IEBC says the process of granting secured access was lengthier than anticipated since it involved collaboration with ICT experts in Europe, hence it provided read-only access for a shorter period.

“The process took more time than the allocated 48 hours. By the time this was granted, the petitioners and parties had no time to interrogate the system logs and report back to the Supreme Court.”

The commission says lack of regulations to govern the scrutiny of election technology led parties to rely on individual expert opinion on the interpretation of the process thus causing misunderstanding among the different teams.

The IEBC has flagged inadequate time to procure, install, test and commission technology due to late enactment of laws by Parliament as some of the reasons it had difficulties managing the poll results system.

As a solution, the IEBC says acquisition of election technology should be done at least a year before polls to allow comprehensive testing and training.

Apart from the training of the commission’s ICT staff, the polls agency wants a framework developed to govern the scrutiny of election technology during petition proceedings.

During the petition hearing, Nasa lawyers led by Siaya Senator James Orengo and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo claimed IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati’s account was used to access the servers several times to manipulate the content.

The coalition argued that Chebukati’s account had 9,934 transaction logs, some from an unauthorised IP address used multiple times to transfer, delete and modify files.

The lawyers cited the deletion of Form 34Bs for Jomvu and Bureti constituencies and the transfer of the folder for Kisumu Central constituency.

Ahead of the Raila’s parallel swearing-in on January 30, Nasa released what it termed the actual results of the 2017 vote, suggesting that Raila got 8.1 million votes against Uhuru’s 7.9 million.

But the IEBC, in results which were nullified, declared Uhuru the winner with 8,203,290 votes (54 per cent) against Raila’s 6,762,224, translating to 44 per cent.


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