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We’re ready to deliver, French IT firm assures on poll

Information Technology logistics to deliver the repeat presidential election tomorrow are in place and fully secured against any form of interference, the firm contracted by the electoral commission to electronically identify voters and transmit the results has said.

French IT firm OT-Morpho yesterday assured Kenyans its systems are secure and ready for the repeat presidential election. The assurance comes after the confirmation by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that it’s all-systems-go for the poll.

Speaking at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport-Nairobi during the weekend and on Monday, while receiving ballot papers printed by Dubai company Al Ghurair, IEBC vice-chairperson Nkatha Maina said everything was in place to offer a credible election.

IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati, even when expressing apprehension over security and political animosity last week, had said his team was all set to conduct the exercise.

Drawing from an audit of the IT system, following claims by the National Super Alliance (Nasa) that the Results Transmission System (RTS) had been infiltrated by hackers, OT-Morpho said in a statement it was well-equipped to enable IEBC to hold a credible and transparent election.

The French firm announced its readiness for the poll as Nasa leader Raila Odinga asked his supporters not to take to the streets tomorrow to protest the election, but to stay indoors. “We have not told people to demonstrate on the polling day. We have not said that at all,” Raila said on Tuesday in an interview with the BBC, adding, “We have just told people to stay away.”

At the same time, another hurdle facing the IEBC was quashed by the High Court in Nairobi as Justice John Mativo dismissed a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah which had sought to form a caretaker government.

Justice Mativo ruled that the court had no jurisdiction to form caretaker government. Also dismissed was a petition seeking to compel Nasa candidate Raila to take part in the repeat election.

Justice Chacha Mwita ruled that the High Court lacks jurisdiction on the matter. Meanwhile, the government has declared today a public holiday to give Kenyans time to prepare to vote tomorrow, including travelling to where they were registered. Thursday had already been declared a holiday earlier.

Acting Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i made the declaration through a gazette notice yesterday. On IT preparation, OT-Morpho indicated it had put in place sufficient mechanisms to delivery quality services.

It further stated, testing of the Kiems solution was highly professional and trusted. Seeking to be vindicated from what might have gone wrong in the results transmission during the August 8 election, including claims of hacking, intrusion, piracy or manipulation of results, OT-Morpho affirmed three of the top IT companies in the world had given its delivery of the Kenyan election a clean bill of health. The statement said the highly ranked companies conducted an audit of the August 8 RTS system and found no fault.

“The final report from this external IT leader proves, once again, in addition to the two in-depth internal audits conducted previously by independent experts, that no evidence of errors was identified and that OT-Morpho’s RTS used for the August 8 elections was not compromised,” indicates the statement released by company’s communication executives, Julien Tahmissian and Niels Gauber.

Consequently though, OT-Morpho’s system will not transmit the election’s text results. “We have already informed the IEBC our RTS system for now, would only transmit the pictures of the Forms 34A and 34B as part of our technical capabilities,” the company said.

“As a reminder, OT-Morpho will neither intervene in any other aspect of the presidential election nor in the successful conduct of the election procedures in the polling stations, including voting and counting of votes among others,” adds the statement, noting that OT-Morpho’s employees will not be present in the polling stations.

Further, the company has reported its request to have the fresh election held on October 31, to ensure the roll-out of the full RTS, was turned down and the poll slated for October 26.

“As the list of candidates was officially communicated on October 12, the time needed to run the above-mentioned actions was not compatible with the October 26 date,” the company added.

During the August 8 polls, the company provided two electronic systems that identified voters and transmitted election results from almost 41,000 polling stations to the IEBC servers, but its role has been stalked by Nasa claims of computer manipulation of the presidential election.

It supplied the 45,000 tablets that were used to identify voters biometrically, while the RTS system was used to transmit the results of votes counted by electoral officials as well as a photographs of the paper forms 34A and 34B on which votes were tallied.

OT-Morpho’s role in tomorrow’s election stems from the amendment to the agreement between the company and IEBC for the provision of software update; support services and additional hardware for the Kiems.

Further, under the initial official and contractual assumption of two candidates, this amendment included the preparation and setup services for 45,000 Kiems kits, and the upgrade, installation and configuration of the RTS software to ensure full capacity of the system.

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