The excitement of many Kenyans who were following presidential results following the August 9 General Election was cut short after TV stations stopped relaying results on the eve of Friday august 12.
It was the first time in Kenya’s history that TV stations had been given access to raw election data from polling stations countrywide and allowed to tally presidential election results.
While most TV stations were displaying varrying totals based on the approaches taken, speed, and human resource capacity, what was clear is the race was tight between the two leading candidates Raila Odinga and William Ruto.
On Thursday around 10 PM, most TV stations, which still displayed presidential results, had managed to tally over 95% of the total votes cast of about 14,0000 out of the registered 22 million, according to poll agency Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The leading candidates Raila and Ruto were in a tight race, exchanging the lead between them and each coming slightly over the 50%+1 threshold needed to declare the winner.
But on Friday morning, Kenyans woke up to ‘darkness’ no TV station was now displaying the total presidential results according to their tally.
There was no explanation given. Every TV station had reverted to only showing verified results from IEBC, which started verifying presidential election results on Thursday evening.
KIvumbi.co.ke has since learned that most of the leading TV stations were hacked and their tallying systems compromised to the extent the aired presidential tallies could no longer be believed.
“Like for KTN someone was updating and giving all (presidential) candidates (Raila Odinga and William Ruto) equivalent votes and the totals were even going beyond 14 million (total cast votes according to IEBC).” said a journalist at KTN who cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak on the matter.
Ealier on, IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati wondered why TV stations were taking too long to tally presidential results despite the commission uploading Forms 34A, which bear raw presidential election data from each polling station across the country.
“It appears the media did not prepare very well, the actual figures should be at around 97% (of the total tally),” Chebukati stated on Wednesday, August 10, hours after the start of vote counting.
A media consultant who also works with Kenya Year Book told Kivumbi.co.ke that protecting systems became a priority for Tv stations after the hacking incidents.
“Some media houses (TV stations) were hacked. Protecting their systems became paramount,” he said.