There are very many unanswered questions on the validity of results that are coming in as read by Electoral Commission (EC). Chairman Dr. Kiggundu. The order in which they are coming in is another issue altogether that some commentators have linked to a psychological preparation of the electorate but that is an argument for another day.
Agents of Candidates have left the National Tally Centre at Namboole claiming that EC is announcing results they (the Agents) can’t verify or that are different from what they have from their agents, this is as seen on several media channels including Aljazeera.com and social media, read #UgandaDecides . The same channels have drawn attention to several other claimed irregularities about the results especially at the presidential level. All these are linked to unverified results being fed into EC’s results system as claimed by the channels above.
The EC has ofcourse embraced several technology solutions to implement this election albeit some challenges which can be excused given that both technology and people can fail to deliver 100% of expectations at a given point. However with violence looming over different areas around the country, the EC should have done more to improve transparency to mitigate the motivations to violence which are very much because of the rather opaque manner results are tallied. Well, some commentators are even questioning whether it is even a “Tally Centre” since they can’t see any tallying of votes going on, again a discussion for another day.
This is where Technology if not deployed with user-friendliness or usefulness in mind can do more harm than good. Usefulness meaning it satisfies all the key requirements of key stakeholders. One very key feature that EC’s results system ignored is that agents or citizens REALLY need to verify the results it displays. Apparently results from the polling stations are scanned and sent to the “Tally Centre” where they are then updated into the results system. A lot can happen or change during 1) the electronic transfer and 2) updating the system. This is why it is important to provide proof, in this case the originally scanned Results Declaration Forms (DR forms) which are verified and signed by the agents of the different candidates. It is actually not just important but necessary because its absence is now fueling suspicion and violence at a time where we need to trust the EC. Since it is already public information, the original signed DR forms should be uploaded for concerned citizens to independently validate against the announced results. For easy navigation, the files can be arranged in the same administrative structure as is the national voter’s register as at ec.or.ug/register.
One may argue that it is too much to add into a system, it is unnecessary, and that if someone needs to verify they should go to the EC. But given what is at stake, if you are going to show “lone or unverified” results on a publicly accessible system, then don’t get surprised that people are going to question their authenticity. If you can put those up, then you can definitely put the original ones up to dispel any suspicions and instead build confidence and trust and more acceptability of the results. This is a worse threat to public order, peace and safety than the now closed social media and mobile money.
I mean there are only 28,010 polling stations, let’s say each scanned copy takes up 1MB which is even on the high side, then you only need no more than 30,000 MBs of disk space for this, of course bandwidth to upload these wouldn’t be of much concern to EC given the billions they have invested in this.
As this was not thought about or under-looked by the EC, then it is now necessary that the other Tally Centres, of FDC, NRM, and the independent CEON-U also upload this data. You will be amazed by what our buzzing IT youth can do to validate this data against each other to of course dispel any false claims and propaganda from competing parties. Currently FDC has different results online putting Besigye in the lead against those of EC where Museveni is leading, but if this claim is true then it also needs to be verified by uploading the signed DR Forms from FDC agents, same applies to NRM and CEON-U.
Everyone wants to use the media to buy popular public trust, but being the cut throat dirty politics we all know, we only trust God, others must show us proof before we rally behind you (EC, FDC, and NRM) and the truth. #ipledgepeace