Fraud: Hacking Ignites Kenyan Vote Crisis

mm

The streets of Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, was largely deserted on August 9, as the country's political opposition alleged that hackers helped the ruling government to attain a win in the general elections held on August 8. Residents stayed at home fearing potential trouble. Tensions escalated after the Kenyan election commission released initial results which showed President Uhuru Kenyatta enjoying a decisive lead over Raila Odinga, the principal opposition candidate. Problems started when the commission said that all tallies were unofficial.

Economy affected

All these upheavals are taking a toll on the Kenyan economy. The African country is trying to be the world's biggest black tea exporter. It is also presently the regional center for the world's top notch companies like General Electric and Google. Domestic disturbances have torpedoed the nation's economy. In 2007, the Kenyan economy grew 7.1 percent. Only a year later, the economy decelerated to 1.7 percent.

Odinga, the opposition candidate, immediately described these results as fake. He alleged that hackers got access to the election computer via the technology manager's identity. The said manager of the commission was murdered in July. Such hacking allegations were denied by Ezra Chiloba, the Chief Executive Officer of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. He assured reporters that the election management system is a secure one. He confirmed that there were no interferences before the polling exercise, during polls, and after the votes were cast.

This electoral controversy has set the stage for election-linked violence to be repeated in the country's history.  Electoral violence has plagued Kenya from the time it transformed into a multiparty democracy. The African country adopted this system in 1991. The worst outbreak from that time left nearly 1,100 people dead post the highly disputed 2007 vote. Odinga, who previously lost three presidential elections, gave indications that he would refuse to concede defeat in this election. Results are scheduled to be published in the next few days.

Risk

The same fear has been expressed by Robert Besseling of Exx Africa, a company specializing in risk analysis. He said that the presidential elections in 2017 were compromised by vote reporting irregularities. He conceded that there were reports of electoral management system tampering too. There is a major possibility of the opposition rejecting the final results. The opposition could renew its complaints of deep electoral fraud. The Kenyan financial markets, however, shrugged off the consequences of the disputed result. The FTSE NSE Kenya 25 Index advanced for consecutive three days and enjoyed a peak close from July 2015.

Leave a Comment