How to hack an election in four days: A NASA election agent’s story…
Shared by Fredrick Otieno
Koitamet Ole Kina was one of the agents appointed by the National Super Alliance to watch over the presidential election results at the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya. His statement, sworn in support of the election petition filed at the Supreme Court by Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, reveals that the elections results portal started transmitting results a mere 15 minutes after voting closed countrywide –a seeming impossibility even for polling stations with very small numbers. He also lists a series of false unfulfilled promises by the IEBC to supply formal documents to support the results being announced and recounts how agents were given the runaround by IEBC. It is a catalogue of the deception and brazen duplicity that characterised how the announcement of the presidential election results was delivered. Mr Ole Kina’s affidavit, below, has been edited for brevity and clarity.
“I arrived at Bomas of Kenya on August 8, 2017 at 1630 HRS to activate my access card. The process took about an hour. During this time, I was seated at the Auditorium chatting with Ms Hamida Kibwana, Mr Oduor Ong’wen and other agents who were also waiting for their cards to be activated. At about 1715 HRS, results started streaming into the IEBC portal.
As soon as the results started streaming, I settled down to follow the process. I soon realized, and my team members agreed, that there was no way we could verify the results on the IEBC portal without either the hard copies of Form 34A or the soft copies that IEBC was receiving in their server. We therefore approached Commissioners Prof Guliye and Roselyn Akombe as well as CEO Ezra Chiloba and requested them to [supply] the Form 34B for purposes of verification of the streaming results.
We waited for their response for about one hour to no avail, hence prompting us to seek an urgent meeting with the commission. The chair, some commissioners and members of the secretariat led by the CEO attended the meeting.
Since the questions being raised related to transmission of results, the Chairman invited the commission’s ICT officers and Saffron consultants to the meeting.
I complained that my team was not able to access Forms 34A or B on the IEBC portal. Prof Guliye asked the consultant to facilitate access to the documents but the Saffron consultant said he couldn’t as there was a problem with the system. According to him a lot of data that was unaccompanied by the image as required had arrived and that we had to wait for the image to upload as soon as the KIEMS [Kenya Integrated Elections Management System] reached a physical location with either 3G or 4G. He further stated that there was also a possibility that this data would not come at all.
A question on whether they could configure the system to pause the data without an image and allow only data with an image that could be verified to come through was raised. The consultant answered that he would require eight (8) days to do so. When further pushed to then allow our IT [information technology] team to access the system, he asked for six hours to create email addresses. We couldn’t understand why he required six (6) hours for an action that would take 10 minutes. He pleaded for two hours. At the end of the two hours, he [provided] an email address for our team and [authorized] a workstation already created in the main auditorium be used to access the Form 34Bs.
When the IT team (a Mr Walubengo and Joseph Akhenda) embarked on the process, the link provided was not working. In short, my IT team was taken round the whole night and was only able to access one Form 34A on August 9, in the morning. Even then, our credentials were revoked within one hour of granting access when we requested to download the forms.
On August 9, 2017, I again engaged the Commission CEO and Commissioner Guliye who had come to the auditorium to monitor the verification process and the challenges of accessing the forms. We yet again requested the commission to [supply] the data in soft copy to enable the verification process to begin. Mr Muhati, the commission’s Director of ICT [suspended from duty and somehow reinstated after the death of the man appointed to act in his place, Mr Chris Musando, days to the election] then promised to [supply] 11,000 Form 34Bs if we could bring a two terabyte external hard disk to the commission to [download] the soft copies for us. We obliged and bought the disk. However, […] it took us another six (6) hours from 0900 HRS to 1500 HRS to receive the first batch of 6,000 Forms 34A. Needless to state, the commission wasn’t able to provide the 11,000 copies as promised. I cannot confirm that they even had them as only 6,000 forms were provided on that day.
On August 10, 2017, the results continued to be displayed and at one point the Commission claimed that all the results being transmitted were okay, and there were no inconsistencies so far noticed. This implied that the same had been verified, which was not the case. My team and I put the commission to task to explain the basis of its claims as there had been very little or no verification taking place.
I therefore requested a meeting with the commission, which the CEO agreed to convene at 0800 HRS the following day. By the end of the day, the commission had only supplied 23,000 Forms 34As and about 50 Forms 34Bs.
After consultations with the Nasa’s deputy chief agent, Ms Ogla Karani, we agreed to write to the commission in order to have a record of our engagements given that at times promises were given that were not fulfilled.
Our attempts to serve the letter on the 1st Respondent were however resisted at first and when the same was eventually received, there was no official response. The commission however agreed to meet us informally. In the meeting, Ms Ogla Karani, the deputy chief agent outlined the various discrepancies and inconsistencies in the results that were streaming on live television and the forms received and which the commission promised to review and respond to appropriately. In the event, the Chairman promised that the commission would only declare results once verification of all Forms34As and Forms 34Bs had arrived and been verified.
On August 11, 2017, security at Bomas was been beefed up and rumuors filled the air that the Commission would declare the results of the presidential election on that day. I thereupon approached the commission to request the remaining Form 34As and was told that there were only 6,000 more Forms 34As, making a sum total of 29,000. Mr Chiloba informed us that the commission was having challenges receiving more forms, with about 11,000-plus forms remaining. By the end of the day, we had received close to 80 Form 34Bs. The chairman once again assured us that he could not make a declaration without all the requisite prescribed documents.
On the same day, [Mr Odinga] and his chief agent went to the national tallying centre at 1500 HRS and met with the commission. He sought the commission’s assurance that all the issues raised by the agents would be addressed and was assured that the commission would follow the law in the transmission, tallying and declaration of the results.
However, so soon after the meeting with the Commission, Ms Lucy Ndungu, the Registrar of Political Parties approached our tallying desk to find out whether those of us present would sign Form 34C [the document containing the national results of the presidential election]. This implied that despite assertions by the Chairman that he was not going to declare unverified results, there was actually a conspiracy to do so. The Registrar of Political Parties could not confirm or deny any of my enquiries in that regard. In the meantime the Commission’s CEO, Mr Chiloba, made it clear that the commission was not able to supply the remaining Forms 34A and that although the chairman had claimed that 288 Form 34Bs had arrived, there were only 108 available at the tallying centre.
At around 2000 HRS, the commission summoned all the agents to a meeting in which the chairman informed us that the commission had received all the Form 34Bs and verified them, and because he had an obligation to inform the agents that he was going to make a declaration, he wanted to know whether ODM/NASA was ready to sign the results. He was however unable to provide the said forms when requested to supply them and insisted that he was going to make the declaration nonetheless.
We thereupon declined to be part of the signing without the verified results. The Nasa chief agent and the other members of our group issued a press statement and left the national tallying centre. I nonetheless continued making informal requests for the remaining forms, to no avail.
On August 14, Ms Ogla Karani formally wrote to the commission requesting for the remaining forms. I personally went to Bomas and met Mr Chiloba, who assured me that the commission could now supply all the Form 34Bs but could still not supply the Form 34As. I witnessed the forms were still being scanned into the system both at Bomas of Kenya and at the IEBC offices at Anniversary Towers.
On 15th August at around 16:30 Pm I received a phone call from a Mr. Abednego Ominde. Ezra chiloba’s personal assistant requesting me to go and collect 5,015 scanned copies of form 34A that were now available. During the same hour Ezra Chiloba responding to public pressure and a press conference by the Petitioners on the non-availability of forms 34A and questioning the authenticity of results announced without 10,000 forms 34A and 187 forms 34B, called to ask me to go and collect the 5015 forms 34A. There is still a balance of more than 5,000 forms to be supplied by the commission.
As at August 16, 2017, the Commission is on record confirming unavailability of a substantial number of the said Form 34As and 34Bs, hence calling to question the accuracy and credibility of the results that were declared on the August 11, 2017.
It is accordingly not possible to independently and accurately confirm that the prescribed forms that were manually transmitted to the national tallying centre were, in fact, the forms that were filled in by presiding officers and returning officers in the presence of agents as by law required. Once the integrated electronic electoral system was discarded and/or ignored in favour of the manual system, the results being transmitted lost credibility in law.”