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[liberationtech] ‘computer generated leaders’? A look at the Kenyan Election hacking allegations

Mose Karanja mosekaranja at
Fri Aug 18 10:08:13 PDT 2017

Hello LibTech.

On 9th August, a day after Kenyans voted in the 2017 General Election, opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga alleged that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) database had been hacked and an algorithm set to ensure an 11% difference in favour of incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta at all levels of results transmission. To back up the claims, Mr. Odinga’s political party National Super Alliance (NASA) presented a log file apparently showing the details of the hack. These claims have been repeatedly denied by the electoral commission. On 11th August, the IEBC declared Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the election with 54.27% of votes cast with Raila Odinga coming in second with 44.74%. Raila Odinga has today filed a petition at The Supreme Court to contest the ‘computer generated leaders’, a reference to the the hacking allegations.

In an attempt to respond to the hacking claims, this post audits the logs as evidence within the context of Kenyan elections ecosystem and asks three questions: How is technology used in Kenyan elections? Was the log file presented evidence of an attack that changed the outcome of the election? How could this file have been obtained?

Our preliminary analysis rules out hacking based on the evidence presented. Considering that absence of evidence does not necessarily imply evidence of absence, this should not be taken to mean the IEBC may not have been hacked. That conclusion requires access to the election system which we do not have at the moment.

Read more: <>

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