Safaricom’s Statement Regarding IEBC’s System’s Failure is Unconvincing

Safaricom Shop

Safaricom’s Nzioka Waita was at pains last night trying to make me look like I created the mess they are having with the IEBC in the Results Transmission System (RTS). Nzioka deviated from the official paths without provocations calling me names and desperately trying to say that IEBC is PERFECT, Safaricom is PERFECT and I am the problem.

First his history, after campus, Nzioka Waita joined Safaricom. He has worked NOWHERE else and is not well informed as he might want you to believe. He is not even aware of what technically happens when Safaricom say they have deployed a VPN for IEBC which supports over 31,000 transmitting stations. Again Nzioka Waita was at Safaricom when Mobitelea owned a good chunk of the company. He together with other employees who were later promoted, were privy to the details of what happened there. In a nutshell, Nzioka is part of the extremely dirty remnants of the old, corrupt and arrogant Safaricom management. Ask any former or current employee of Safaricom who can be honest with you.

He was then not honest enough to admit or reveal the illegal shareholding structure. He was dishonest and comfortable in the dishonesty to stay mum and defraud Kenyans as long as he earned salaries. That is why he MUST not pretend that he is some angel who is going to be honest with Kenyans and reveal to Kenyans when Safaricom’s VPN deployed to support IEBC’s RTS fail the integrity test. No Nzioka is not that honest.

I have more info which I will not fail to deliver should need arise but the information I have, Nzioka does not have. He has my contacts and can ask me what I have. He chose to rant on social media so that he could gain followers which he has been desperate to have (he has called me severally to retweet his tweets).

A former senior employee who worked at a level higher than Nzioka Waita describe him as “kiddish and having inflated ego since he rose so fast up the management ladder at Safaricom.” The former engineer at Safaricom also reveal that Safaricom HAS NEVER before this election deployed a VPN anywhere.

Safaricom has failed to invest in a robust system which ensure the smooth operation of its voice, data and M-Pesa systems. M-Pesa and data fail every other day. You wonder how IEBC even saw them as a reliable provider. Profitability can be through conmanship so it must not be what is used to judge a provider. Mission critical systems need knowledgeable provider. On deploying one-way systems, Safaricom is not a reliable provider.

Again Safaricom’s association with the Kenyatta family (shareholding and major business partnerships). Safaricom has in many previous occasions acted in a corrupt manner to satisfy individual interests. You can get this from the time Safaricom was only owned by Vodafone, Mobitelea and the government. When they were about to go public, some of the statements which were being made by the CEO then, Michael Joseph, were more political than purely business.

He said;

“They have never deployed those one way channels anywhere before and coupled with the fact that IEBC did not know what they wanted and Safaricom saw the opportunity to make money, they grabbed the opportunity.

One engineer currently working at Safaricom has also revealed to me that the problem was on the Results Transmission System (RTS), the serve and Safaricom’s delivery channel. He said that Safaricom’s claim that they normally observe over 3,000 MBps “is hogwash since a VPN depend on a specially designed channel with own specifications. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a VPN.”

Below is Safaricom’s statement;

Following numerous queries from the media and in response to public concern, leading integrated communications service provider Safaricom Limited wishes to clarify its specific role with respect to the conduct of the historic  March 4th, 2013 General Elections.

1.       Safaricom was one of several service providers contracted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission “IEBC” to provide network connectivity for the electronic transmission of electoral results.

2.       In accordance with the terms of our contract with the IEBC , Safaricom’s responsibilities were twofold, the first was to provide the virtual private network (VPN) for the conveyance of the results from polling stations across the country previously identified as having sufficient mobile coverage to the IEBC’s constituency, county and national tallying center infrastructure.

The second was to deliver 17,900 original manufacturer warranted handsets to the IEBC for use by polling staff for purposes of transmitting electronic results.  Safaricom was neither involved in the supply of the software to be used on the mobile handsets nor the distribution and storage of the devices.

3.       The observed traffic on the VPN provided by Safaricom did not exceed 3.5 Mbps at any time. When put in to context this is a small fraction of the 3,000 Mbps traffic we observe at any time in our network.

4.       The total number of mobile devices provisioned to be used by the IEBC polling staff to relay results on the Safaricom VPN were 32,000, this represents only 2% of the 1.5 million devices connected to our data network at any given time.

5.       Further, it must be clarified that during the entire election period

 a.      Safaricom’s role is simply to provide connectivity between the mobile devices and the IEBC tallying centers. Safaricom did not and does not have any role in the technical design, management or specification of the servers, the mobile software application nor the graphic presentation of the results data used by the IEBC.

b.      The Safaricom mobile and virtual private network has remained robust with 100% uptime in all areas where coverage was to be provided.

c.       Safaricom has provided unrestricted access to representatives of the 8 presidential candidates to assess and monitor its network performance. All of them were and still are confident in our network quality.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Safaricom appreciates and takes seriously its assigned responsibilities and will continue to play its part to support the IEBC in its duties.


Bob Collymore

Chief Executive Officer

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (


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