French Company Rejects Kenyan Opposition Claims on Vote System

  • Kenyan court annulled results of Aug. 8 election last week
  • OT-Morpho says system it supplied wasn’t tampered with

Kenyan Court Nullifies Vote, Orders New Election

French digital-security company OT-Morpho denied its systems used in Kenya’s annulled elections last month were tampered with and said it’s handed over all data for analysis by the country’s Supreme Court.

“The system deployed in the delivery of the results employs proven technologies that we’ve used in elections in other countries,” Olivier Charlanes, director for Africa and the Middle East at OT-Morpho, said in an emailed statement. “The system used in Kenya wasn’t pirated. It wasn’t an attempt to interfere, and we’ve passed on all the logs to be analyzed by experts commissioned by the Supreme Court.”

The Kenyan court on Sept. 1 canceled the result of last month’s presidential election, the first such ruling in Africa, and ordered a new ballot to be held. The Oct. 17 rerun has increased uncertainty in East Africa’s biggest economy as it clouds the outlook for the country, where growth is already slowing.

Opposition candidate Raila Odinga’s five-party alliance has urged the French government to investigate Paris-based Safran SA and its relations with electoral officials who “may have acted in complicity and connived to undermine the will of the people of Kenya.” Safran sold its digital-security unit in May to Advent International, owner of Colombes, France-based Oberthur Technologies SA, and the renamed company is called OT-Morpho. 

Odinga’s alliance said the system used in the vote violated the country’s electoral laws by “failing to comply with the prescribed format of result management data.” It also said the system provided for the “transmission of text messages that could be manipulated and were not backed by the primary statutory election result declaration forms.”

OT-Morpho is awaiting the written judgment of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga said will be released within 21 days of its decision.

Odinga has demanded the electoral commission be overhauled and said he wants guarantees on fairness before his alliance agrees to participate in the rerun.

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