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Murdered official's identity used to 'hack Kenyan election results'

The leader of the country’s opposition coalition has made serious allegations about the vote.

kenya Kenya's incumbent President and presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta Source: Lv Shuai/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Updated 11.45am

HACKERS BROKE INTO the database of Kenya’s electoral commission and manipulated the results of the election, the leader of the country’s opposition coalition has alleged.

Vote counting is ongoing in east Africa’s strongest democracy after yesterday’s election where voters were asked to either re-elect President Uhuru Kenyatta or replace him with longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Odinga claims hackers used the credential of a murdered employee of the electoral commission (IEBC) to hack into an electronic voting system and activate an algorithm that inflated Kenyatta’s votes.

“These results are fake, it is a sham. They cannot be credible,” Odinga told reporters at a morning press conference.

This is an attack on our democracy. The 2017 general election was a fraud.

He later released what he claimed was a log from an IEBC server to support his allegations that the server was configured to increase Kenyatta’s totals by 11% and cover up the modifications.

The log, and Odinga’s allegations, have not been independently verified.

With ballots from 92% of polling stations counted, IEBC results showed Kenyatta leading – with 54.4% of the nearly 13 million ballots tallied, against Odinga’s 44.7%, a difference of 1.3 million votes.

However, Odinga believes the vote is actually in his favour and tweeted that a count of ballots by his National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition showed him in the lead.

He said the hacking affected all the results, both the presidential and the general election.

The hackers were able to access the system using the credentials of Chris Msando, a top IT official at the IEBC found tortured and murdered in late July, Odinga said.

He would not say how he got the information, saying he wanted to protect his source.

The 72-year-old is making his fourth bid for the presidency, and has previously accused his rivals of stealing victory from him through rigging in 2007 and in 2013.

In 2007, the disputed vote resulted in two months of ethnically driven political violence that killed 1,100 people and displaced 600,000, a major blow to a nation seen as a regional bastion of stability.

The contested election in 2013 was taken to the courts and ended largely peacefully, though Odinga lost. He urged his supporters to “remain calm as we look deep into this matter”, but added: “I don’t control the people.”

Too close to call

The contest between Odinga and Kenyatta was seen by pollsters as too close to call ahead of the vote.

It is the second time the two men have faced off in a presidential election in dynastic rivalry that has lasted more than half a century since their fathers Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga went from allies in the struggle for independence to bitter rivals.

The men belong to two of Kenya’s main ethnic groups – Kenyatta from the Kikuyu, the largest and Odinga from the Luo. Both had secured formidable alliances with other influential communities in Kenya, where voting takes place largely along tribal lines.

Raphael Tunju, secretary-general of Kenyatta’s Jubilee party, shrugged off Odinga’s allegations. ”I don’t expect anything else from Nasa,” he said, referring to Odinga’s National Super Alliance party.

Yesterday, Kenyatta urged Odinga to accept the result should he lose. ”I also want to say that if I lose, I will accept the will of the people,” Kenyatta said after voting.

A quiet vote 

Despite reports of some technical glitches and delays, yesterday’s vote went off peacefully, and the IEBC moved quickly to deal with any complaints.

A clerk in a polling station where ballot papers were pre-marked as “rejected” was fired and police arrested another clerk in the port city Mombasa who was caught issuing double ballot papers to certain voters.

Shortly before polls closed, Nasa put out a statement praising poll officials and security forces, but complained that some of its voters had been turned away.

Nasa also said it had reports of “pre-marked ballot papers” and attempts to bribe voters.

Kenyans voted in six different elections, including several knife-edge races for governor, that have fired up local tensions.

The opposition also looked set to lose the governorship of the capital Nairobi — which had been seen as a major coup in 2013 — to the ruling party candidate.

Kenyatta, 55, is seeking re-election after a first term in which he oversaw a massive infrastructure drive and steady economic growth of more than 5%.

However, he has been criticised for soaring food prices — with prices jumping 20% year-on-year in May — and massive corruption scandals on his watch.

© AFP 2017

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