John Githongo’s Affidavit – The bombshell that turned out to be Azimio’s biggest blunder
In an interview that James Orengo granted journalists shortly after filing the Azimio Petition, the lawyer who will be the lead council of the petition said that he has been in many petitions but their 2022 presidential petition is a bombshell with so many smoking guns. Shortly after the petition plus accompanying affidavits started circulating online, it emerged that one of the smoking guns James Orengo alluded to was John Githongo’s affidavit. John Githongo’s affidavit, on the surface reading of it, appeared to be the mother of all bombshells in the entire petition, but a close examination of the affidavit has revealed it to be the biggest blunder Azimio has committed even before the hearing of the petition begins.
I already covered a few of the problems in John Githongo’s affidavit in the article Three big problems in Raila Odinga’s Petition, so today let me just focus on the reasons why the affidavit is Azimio’s biggest blunder. Attached to John Githongo’s Affidavit are screen grabs of logs that ought to be evidence for an alleged hacking of the IEBC server. One of the logs is image 1 shared below.
The first thing you ought to notice in the image above is that the image is a screenshot of an open tab of an internet browser. The open tab has the URL https://forms.iebc.or.ke/login. Even without technical know-how, the thing that the screenshot ought to prompt you to do is to visit the URL (which you can do now by clicking on the URL link above). Once you are at the webpage directed by the URL, you will notice that the page looks like the screenshot shown in image 2 below.
Now go back to image 1 and notice that the access denied error message is the same access denied error message anyone who attempts to access the login URL meets. At this stage, it should be obvious that John Githongo (or whoever gave him the screenshot as evidence), did not have access to IEBC’s login portal, just like you and I cannot have access to the portal by following the URL https://forms.iebc.or.ke/login. What this person then did was to type or copy-paste some alleged access logs below the error message so as to convince a novice that the IEBC portal had been accessed by unauthorised persons (persons using the emails [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] in this case).
The evidence that the logs were copy-pasted onto the login screenshot was provided by Omwanza Ombati who clearly demonstrated that those logs are the same logs we saw during the 2017 petition, with date stamps edited; except there was at least one instance where the editor forgot to edit the 2017 date (see the red underline in the embedded tweet below).
For more technical details as to why John Githongo’s Affidavit is false, follow the analysis by Tai. The analysis is embedded below.
The questions in my mind right now are, “why would Azimio do such a shady job at passing falsified evidence to the Supreme Court?” “Did they think IEBC and/or Kenya Kwanza lawyers cannot consult with IT experts who would easily debunk such a silly and lazy attempt at falsification of logs?” “Why would John Githongo, a reputable anti-corruption czar in Kenya, append his signature onto a fraudulent piece of evidence?” My attempt to answer these questions came up with four possible explanations that I will briefly mention below.
1. The affidavit is correct
The first explanation is that the entirety of the evidence is correct; that those of us who are trying to find loopholes in it are simply misguided. If that is the case then all we need to do is to wait for the Supreme Court proceedings and see how Azimio’s team of lawyers will navigate the mucky waters of explaining away the evidence that the affidavit is based on fraudulent evidence.
2. The affidavit circulating online is fake
There is a possibility that the John Githongo’s affidavit that’s circulating online is a fake version of the actual affidavit. That could be done so as to distract Kenya Kwanza and IEBC legal teams from concentrating on the core issues raised by the petition. Instead of focusing on the core issues raised by the petition, the lawyers will be spending their time and resources in trying to debunk a piece of evidence that won’t be part of the court’s proceedings.
This explanation sounds enticing but I doubt Azimio is that competent to pull such a scheme (see the article The 0.01% debacle reveals how Raila Amolo Odinga surrounds himself with incompetence that has made him a perennial loser).
3. John Githongo’s affidavit is a bait
The affidavit could have been filed as bait to help Azimio fish for hacking evidence. Some of Azimio’s prayers include the prayers that the Supreme Court ought to compel the IEBC and Chebukati to provide “all the material including electronic documents, devices, and equipment for the Presidential Election within 48 hours”, “allow access for purposes of inspection of all the logs of any and all servers hosted by and/or on behalf of the IEBC in respect of the Presidential Elections within 48 hours”, and to order a “scrutiny and forensic audit of all equipment, system and technology used by the IEBC in the Presidential Election including but not limited to the KIEMS Kits, the Server(s); website/portal.”
By providing a false claim that the IEBC server was hacked, Azimio could be hoping that the IEBC would deny the allegation, and thereafter be compelled to provide the server logs to prove that they were not hacked. If Azimio indeed has evidence that the server was hacked, then at the point IEBC will be providing the actual server logs, the Azimio team will be in a position to pinpoint the logs for unauthorised access.
4. Azimio was setup by Kenya Kwanza
Maybe John Githongo’s affidavit isn’t entirely false. Maybe there is a young man who walked into John Githongo’s office with claims that he worked for Kenya Kwanza tallying centre. That he was one of ten supervisors who supervised some 46 individuals who were doctoring intercepted form 34As and then uploading the doctored forms to the IEBC portal. Maybe John Githongo believed him, recorded a video of him, and is willing to provide details of the young man to the Supreme Court but in camera.
But probably what John Githongo did not know is that this young man was sent by Kenya Kwanza so as to make Azimio generate falsified evidence to attach to John Githongo’s affidavit. That in due course Kenya Kwanza lawyers will have a field day at the Supreme Court trashing the affidavit.
What these dramas show us is that this year’s Supreme Court will be very interesting to follow.