Note: this is a copy of @fromagehomme’s Twitter thread here. For official fact checking organisations see @AfricaCheck_KE, @BBCFactCheck, @pigafirimbi and @debunkdotmedia. For observer reports and other election documents, scroll to the bottom of this page.
[Thread starts 8:50am Kenya time, 12 August 2022] It is far too early to congratulate @IEBCKenya (the Kenyan electoral commission) as the official election count has not even begun But one striking thing about the claims of rigging now coming out is that no evidence has been provided to support them Let’s take a look …
- This tweet is emblematic of the kind of lazy accusations some are making, based on no rigour and no evidence at all. Doesn’t even pretend to be a reasoned argument or to have carefully looked at the results and forms. (Also beware anyone who write in ALL CAPS)
2. Other accusations like this claim in the Star play to well known tropes of how elections are rigged. Here again, though, we have no evidence to back up the claims. I (@fromagehomme) covered Limuru, Kiambu, and Murang’a and didn’t see anything to back this up …
The specific claim in this piece is that “the turnout on the KIEMS kit did not tally with the number of ballot counterfoils” This is easy to show – turnout is recorded in all the forms 34A on line forms.iebc.or.ke/#/, and can be compared with data collected by party agents at polling stations. Yet no evidence is provided to show: 1. Discrepancies between forms + evidence from party agents, or 2. Estimates of how many places this occurred. It is also strange there are no pictures of other activities alleged as they are said to be widespread + public.
That said, we should investigate as much as possible and compare to other data. It is noticeable here that there is no evidence of these activities or problems in the @elogkenya report on the voting and closing of polling stations.
3. This one is important as it appears that one candidate (Odinga) got more votes than there were registered voters on the form on the IEBC official portal in, Bomani Primary School, Kilifi County (@DavidWanjiru). But @Nanjala has done great work and shown that it is correct on form 34B (constituency level form that adds up polling station 34A forms + generates the constituency level tally) + this is critical as it is what will be used to complete form 34C (final presidential tally). It therefore seems that this has not impacted the final pres results.
4. As has become commonplace, we are also seeing a lot of claims of “hacking”. These take various forms, i.e. that the register/KIEMS kits/IEBC servers/tallying process, has been hacked. It is important to take these seriously, as digital processes have vulnerabilities, and the issue of the IEBC’s servers was an important part of the controversy in 2017.
This time round, there is an accusation that UDA has been involved in an “attack on the portal”. There are two things to say here. 1) these claims are particularly challenging as it is very hard to prove or disprove them, and 2) this is especially the case in this example as, interestingly, the post claims the efforts were unsuccessful and so the results process has not actually been tampered with. There are 4 reasons to be deeply suspicious of this post however:
A) It has no author.
B) No evidence is provided.
C) There is no UN observer mission tallying the results.
D) The number of polling stations not transmitted is well below 900 (now 26)
5. Another interesting one. This time we know there was an issue, as the Google/Reuters data stream of Forms 34B suddenly showed a very high figure for Raila Odinga. This led to speculation (including from this author) that the site had been hacked.
The error was quickly corrected. In the end, Reuters put out a statement explaining that there had been no hacking from outside the system – the error was due to “human error in data entry”. Important reminder to all of us, me included, to fully investigate and clarify asap.
6. So many more allegations of rigging it is hard to keep up. This one is important as we have had almost no evidence of problems with forms 34a, and if those forms are ok the election is much more secure. Perhaps as a result, some are now targeting 34As, but so far unpersuasively.
Take this allegation from @CaxstonePKigata. The claim is that numbers were added to Ruto’s tally in the form on the right, which were not on the original form, which is on the left. But if you look at the picture closely, it is the supposed “real” form on the left that looks the most problematic. The numbers that look most likely to have been changed by being overwritten is the 17 of the total number of votes cast in the “agent” form, where the ink is much heavier than for other numbers.
See also the middle “1” in the 115 on the “agent” form, which, when you blow it up, seems to have a white patch around it as if it had been digitally changed or tippexed. Very hard to say for sure, but here the IEBC form seems less problematic than what is being claimed to be the “real” form. Will keep looking.
Update: Further evidence that the party agent form shared by @CaxstonePKigata is probably fake is that the turnout on the “true” form is only 49%, and the average turnout in that area seems to be around 65%. (For the sake of clarity and completeness, the turnout on the IEBC form is much closer to the nearby average, at 71%).
Kenya 2022 Election Reports and Materials
ELOG (domestic observation group)
African Union/COMESA Election Observation Mission
European Union Election Observation Mission
National Democratic Institute/International Republican Institute Report
East African Community Election Observation Mission
Kenya Nation Commission for Human Rights Press Statement
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa Election Observation Mission
Nic Cheeseman is the Director of the Centre for Elections, Democracy Accountability and Representation (CEDAR) and the Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham. He is also the founder of Democracy in Africa and the author of How to Rig an Election.