Kenya election system hacked, opposition leader Odinga claims

Raila Odinga (File: AFP)
Raila Odinga (File: AFP)

Nairobi - 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 alleged on Wednesday.

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

With ballots from 92% of polling stations counted, electoral commission (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.

Odinga rejected those results, claiming at a morning press conference that they were the result of a intrusion by hackers into the IEBC's electronic voting system, set up to guard against vote fraud.

"These results are fake, it is a sham. They cannot be credible," Odinga told reporters.

'This is an attack on our democracy' 

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, he said.

"This is an attack on our democracy. The 2017 general election was a fraud," said Odinga, claiming detailed evidence of the hackers' movements.

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 as the flag bearer for the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition.

'I don't control the people'

In the past, he has 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.

Odinga urged his supporters to "remain calm as we look deep into this matter", but added: "I don't control the people."

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