Kenyans on social media have expressed concern that during the live test run of the transmission technology at Bomas by the IEBC, Raila votes were one less compared to the rest of the candidates. Whereas each candidate received 218 votes, Raila’s votes were only 217 – an error that meant all other candidates tied at position one with 12.53% of the votes except Raila who came second at 12.47% of the votes.
The error which has caused outrage amongst NASA supporters was explained by IEBC as a typo, but the very NASA supporters have asked why the typo could happen just on Raila votes. Concerned by the error, several NASA supporters have called upon the IT experts at the helm of NASA leadership to take this issue with the IEBC, and that if there is any algorithm in the IEBC servers, then that algorithm be deleted immediately.
Jubilee supporters have however accused NASA supporters of being paranoid, that the NASA supporters are reading too much into nothing, especially after the IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba explained that the 217 votes Raila received in the test run were nothing but a typo.
It is however important to note that NASA supporters are not basing their paranoia on nothing. On Monday 31st July 2017, the IEBC ICT Manager who was to be in charge of the transmission technology, Mr. Chris Msando, was found dead, and it has become clear that he was not only killed but was tortured before the gruesome murder. One of the theories surrounding the sudden death of Mr. Msando is that someone wanted to get access to the IEBC servers in order to interfere with the transmission of the presidential results.
Secondly, in 2013, the IEBC servers were compromised such that there was always a constant gap between Uhuru’s and Raila’s votes (see figure below). The compromise also was done to ensure very high number of spoilt votes, which ended up being the third candidate in the presidential elections results.
It is difficult to tell whether the IEBC transmission systems have been compromised, but other simulations including the one posted below indicate that everything is okay. The argument against the image below is that the algorithm which could have been implanted to interfere with Raila’s votes is such that one vote is deducted for every 2000 votes received, which translate to 0.05% of the registered voters, or, if Raila were to get 10 million votes, then he would lose at least 5000 votes to the algorithm. In a close elections like this one where every vote counts, any candidate unfairly losing any amount of votes for whatever reasons must be very worried.
As revealed in the image below, the error was most probably a typo. But should that calm NASA supporters? Again we go back to 203 during the announcement of the presidential results. Results from Tiaty constituency caused an uproar when the IEBC commissioner announced that Uhuru had garnered over 51,000 votes against a total of 20,000 registered voters. This was an obvious bias where the IEBC commissioner basically wished for Uhuru to obtain those outrageous votes, intentionally or otherwise.
The typo that ate into Raila votes could have been unintentional bias, a bias by an IEBC employee who really wishes to see less of Raila votes compared to Uhuru votes. As we go into the elections, almost every single Kenyan has decided on who they support, whether that Kenyan is in the military, the police, or an employee of the IEBC, including the commissioners themselves. The fact that the IEBC employees are not eligible to vote does not exempt them from having strong inclinations towards one Presidential candidate. This bias could therefore influence certain errors like entering higher than obtained vote counts for Uhuru Kenyatta or less than obtained vote counts for Raila Odinga.
I personally believe that the error was a typo, but I am open to the possibility that that typo was occasioned by an unintentional bias that made whoever typed in the data to sub-consciously deduct Raila votes. The lesson NASA must learn from the typo is that there is a serious need to be extremely vigilant in every polling station. Before IEBC presiding officer in the polling station sends that important data on total votes received by each candidate, all the party agents must verify at least three times that the votes as written and typed into the KIEMS are the actual votes that were manually counted.