Telecommunications operator Safaricom has dismissed claims by Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga that it was complicit in manipulating the August 8 presidential elections.
Through a statement sent to newsrooms yesterday, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore termed the allegations made by Raila Odinga and the NASA coalition as factually incorrect and unsupported by any evidence whatsoever that Safaricom Safaricom was informed that some 100 KIEMS kits were stolen from the IEBC.
Collymore said contrary to NASA’s allegations, results in all polling stations it had been assigned by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) were transmitted to the commission’s servers and made available to the results portal as well.
“In accordance with the contract with IEBC, all the Mobile Network Operators (MNO)connected their Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and transmitted the data to the IEBC cloud servers. It was IEBC’s responsibility to transmit from its servers to the tallying centre and this was publicly available information” Collymore explained in a statement.
The Opposition has accused Safaricom of working with IEBC to derail the transmission of presidential results. Through its presidential candidate Raila Odinga, the opposition said Safaricom had failed to establish a link for transmission of the election results. It also accused Safaricom of conspiring to cover up electoral offenses committed by IEBC and French IT firm OT-Morpho. OT-Morpho was contracted by IEBC to supply 45,000 tablets to be used to identify voters biometrically and an associated system used to transmit the results of votes counted by electoral officials as well as a photograph of the paper form 34A on which votes were tallied. NASA through a letter to the French government has accused OT-Morpho of allowing unauthorized access to its servers and manipulating the transmission of the presidential results. The firm has however dismissed the claims saying an audit of the electronic system used to tally votes in the canceled presidential elections showed now manipulation of data.
Bob Collymore also raised concerns that the Opposition had gone ahead to mention Safaricom staff members. ‘’This action is callous and unnecessary. Safaricom would like to state that we discharge our contractual obligations strictly in accordance with our contact and law’’ he said.
Communication Authority dismisses NASA
The Communication Authority (CA) has also thrown its weight behind Safaricom and other mobile operators that IEBC contracted to provide a medium of the end-to-end transmission of election results.
Through a statement sent out today, Francis Wangusi, the CA Director General said during the disputed elections the country was divided into three zones and each of the three mobile operators in the country was assigned one region to support the transmission systems of the IEBC.
‘’In line with our oversight responsibility as the ICT sector regulator, the Authority directed the mobile operators to report any cases of transmission failure to us. No cases of transmission failure were reported to us.’’ Wangusi said.
The Director-General also urged politicians to canvass their agenda in a responsible manner in order to avoid putting into jeopardy the impressive investment and other gains that Kenya has made in the local ICT sector.
He also asked Kenyans not to lose faith and confidence in technology saying that these same technologies deployed during the elections have also been embraced in all sectors of life in the country including banking, business, education, health, agriculture and government services.
‘’Elections are no exception and the Authority is confident that ICTs can be deployed successfully to support this important national activity,’’ he said.