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Standoff as IEBC snubs Supreme Court order to ‘open’ their servers

There was a standoff on Wednesday afternoon at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) headquarters in Nairobi after the commission refused to give access to its servers to Raila Odinga per a Supreme Court directive.

While making his submissions at the Supreme Court Senior Counsel James Orengo said they had been given restricted access. He claimed that the IEBC has only given them access to one server and not eight.

“We have been given restricted access only to the result transmission system, and it has not been granted yet, to only one server. It is established that the IEBC has eight servers,” Mr Orengo told the court in his submission shortly after the hearing resumed at 2pm.

He said they had written to the registrar over the issue and prayed for the court’s intervention.

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But in a quick rejoinder, Justice Isaac Lenaola told Mr Orengo that they were aware of what was going on.

“We are aware and we are following it up. Should there be an issue we shall receive a report tomorrow. The exercise had commenced and there was an issue of access. Let’s pick it up tomorrow,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered the electoral commission to give Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition access to any servers that may have been used for storing and transmitting voting information from polling stations.

The court also directed the commission to give Mr Odinga and some of the other presidential election petitioners access to ballot boxes for 15 polling stations for inspection, scrutiny and recount of votes.

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The court orders stemmed from their allegations that IEBC’s election technology was penetrated and deliberately compromised by non-commission staff.

“The information sought is critical to demonstrate that IEBC did not conduct a free, fair, secure, verifiable, accountable and transparent presidential election,” the applicants told the court.

The IEBC was also ordered to provide the petitioners with copies of its technology system security policy and information on the system users and levels of access, workflow chats for identification, tallying, transmission and posting to portals.

The court also directed IEBC to provide the error forms signed by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati during tallying and verification at the National Tallying Centre between August 10 and 15.

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“IEBC should provide certified copies of Forms 32A and 34A Book 2 used in the impugned election subject to the applicants providing to the IEBC specific contested polling stations for compliance,” the court ordered.

The agency was further ordered to provide the applicants with certified copies of penetration tests conducted on its election technology prior to and during the election.

IEBC was also ordered to provide access to “partnership agreements with its technical partners, list of users, trail and admin access”.

The court said the scrutiny should be conducted within 48 hours, from 2pm yesterday to 2pm on Thursday, September 1.