Normalcy resumes at IEBC national tallying centre, commission says systems cannot be hacked

Azimio One Kenya Coalition Presidential Chief Agent Saitabao Ole Kanchory (centre with other agents at the 2022 General Election National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya Auditorium, Nairobi. August 11, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Normalcy has resumed at the Bomas of Kenya after a scuffle after Uasin Gishu Woman-Rep-elect Gladys Shollei's entered the premises with a laptop computer.

However, later IEBC clarified that each party was allowed one laptop in the vote scrutineering area, and warned against the unnecessary casting of aspersions on individuals.

Radio Maisha's Geoffrey Mungo'u, who is covering the exercise, says the commission was, however, categorical that such laptops had to contain only downloaded Forms 34As and no agent would be allowed in with any printed material.

Calm was restored by police who ring-fenced the tallying centre to ensure there is no outside interference.

IEBC is in a meeting with party chief agents.

Politicians present have been restricted to their prescribed sitting areas.

Accredited professionals and observers have also been allowed back in and operations have resumed.

The laptop in question was confiscated by police for examination and determination of its contents.

Earlier, tension was high at the Bomas of Kenya following a scuffle that ensued between political party agents over the laptop.

IEBC had barricaded the doors to the auditorium where the tallying was taking place with a section of the journalists denied entry.

Sources reveal that the Azimio camp noticed the laptop at the tallying area and raised the alarm prompting the heated engagement.

But in a press briefing, the commission said on the floor of the auditorium will be IEBC officials, agents of each presidential candidate and returning officers on every desk.

The commission said agents and deputies will alternate and only their lawyers.

IEBC Commissioner Abdi Guliye addressing the media on the progress of tallying. [David Gichuru, Standard]

“Presidential agents are allowed to have a laptop for purpose of downloading results forms from web portal for them to verify against what's provided by RO. Every agent will have one laptop per desk,” said commissioner Abdi Guliye.

With regards to reports that one of the politicians, who is also among the agents, was the owner of the said laptop, Guliye said there was nothing wrong with the politician having a laptop on the floor.

“There are coordinators on the floor where such issues can be raised and later escalated if need be. We have deployed security on the floor and if need be we will increase,” he said.

According to him, they had resolved that no person or agent will be allowed to enter the auditorium with printed material.

The Commission’s CEO Hussein Marjan dismissed online reports indicating that the systems had been hacked.

“There is misinformation that IEBC systems have been compromised. We know people are not sleeping to put them down but we've put mechanisms to keep them at bay. If there's any doubt Kenyans should talk to us,” Marjan said.