The long a waited Gor Mahia election that took place yesterday was marred by several systematic irregularities, thus rating the process below any possible set threshold levels. This was the first time ever that the club was conducting its voting through an online platform. Several questions had arisen, on whether the club had the capacity to roll out such a process. The Electoral Board( EB)had literally failed to address issues touching on the integrity of the processes.
By the time the exercise began at 9 in the morning, the final voter list had not even been shared with the candidates as per any prescribed electoral practices.
In a statement to the press, the former treasurer of the club, and now vying for the position of Vice Chairman, madam Sally Bolo, stated that the election was flawed, and that she would not accept the results. She called on the EB to nullify the exercise and set a new date for a repeat exercise, that would meet the set criteria as had earlier been directed by the Sports Registrar.
In a letter from the Registrar of Sports, shown to us by one of the candidates, the club had been directed to utilize the expertise of ICPAK in undertaking this exercise, since ICPAK was the only known recognized institution, in the country, that is capable of undertaking an online voting.
” In this exercise, the candidates’ IT agents ought to have been allowed to check and verify the system’s processes, just before and after the polling. It is quite unfortunate that the EB has allowed for this, despite of their assurances that they would allow our IT specialists into the system, along with the system’s administrator. They have lied to us”, complained madam Sally.
“Even after the election has been done and results announced, the board has refused to give us the logs of all the electoral transactions as captured. Since this is a real-time voting, the system should be able to automatically generate the results, as per the vote cast, in real time. This would show us the IP address of the vote. Unfortunately this has not been the case, a clear indication that these elections are not credible”.
Madam Sally had faced off with the outgoing Vice Chairman, Mr. Francis Wasuna, for the position of Vice Chairman, while Mr. Chrispine Okoth was battling it out against madam Dolfina Odhiambo for the honorary treasurer position.
Earlier on, close scrutiny of the system by the candidates’ IT experts had revealed a lot of loopholes that could have made the process unverifiable;
The system’s inability to verify and authenticate election records, via an audit trail, was noted.
Only one person, the system’s administrator, could send voters’ credentials to voters, via a bulk sms, a process that could easily compromise the security details of the voter.
The registration database was not made available to the agents and observers who were at the tallying center. Neither could they be shown any voting logs, before or after the elections. This could have helped them verify that no votes had been cast before the stipulated time for voting.
The results were not captured real-time, contrary to what the EB had communicated. Instead, the system’s IT personnel would manually undertake page refresh after every set time and show updated results, hence a possibility for the system’s administrator to interfere with the data.
“An online voting system without any records of logs of transactions can never be credible”, said one of the candidates’ IT agent. The system’s integrity was questionable since it had the potential to be reconfigured at-will by the administrator.
Speaking to the former Organizing Secretary of the club, madam Judith Anyango, alias Nyangi, who had been blocked from contesting by the set requirements, it is now very clear that the battle will be going to the corridors of justice. “We are proceeding with our case and we are going directly to the courts”, said Nyangi.
Lawyer Frencis Wasuna and madam Dolfina Odhiambo were declared winners as Vice Chairman and Treasurer, respectively with 389 out of 556 votes cast.