The Kenyan presidential election was plunged into controversy on Aug. 9 after opposition candidate and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga reportedly accused hackers of using a murdered voting official's credentials to infiltrate the electoral commission's servers and help give incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta a fraudulent victory.
According to the New York Times as well as Kenya's The Standard, Odinga produced logs that he said backs his claims that hackers used the credentials of Christopher Msando, a senior voting technology official who was murdered last month, to load an algorithm into the election servers in order to give Kenyatta a decisive lead. in Nairobi, “The 2017 general election was a fraud,” said Odinga, the Times reported.
Due to growing concerns of a rigged election in the days and weeks leading up to the Aug. 8 election, former U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday urged Kenyan leaders to keep the peace, while accepting the will of the people. Odinga, who is reportedly trailing in the vote count, also urged calm in light of his accusations, yet there have already been reports of violent protests follow his accusations.
In response to Odinga's comments, Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said the commission was taking the matter seriously, but could not yet determine if the system was hacked or not, The Standard reported. Meanwhile, Raphael Tuju, secretary general of the Jubilee political party, of which President Kenyatta is a member, accused Odinga and his National Super Alliance party of spreading rumors, the report continues.
On Thursday, Aug. 10, multiple news organizations including CNN reported that former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is co-leading a group of election observers from the Carter Center, said he was confident that the Kenyan presidential contest has been handled with integrity and transparency.
Odinga's accusations are vaguely reminiscent of claims by Donald Trump during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign that the outcome of the election might be rigged. While there is still no evidence that any votes were altered, cybersecurity experts have expressed concern that hackers could potentially manipulate future U.S. vote counts.