Suleman demonstrates how Malawi elections were ‘rigged’: Claims MEC system had ‘ghost user’

Malawi Congress Party (MCP Information Technology (IT) expert and final witness Daud Suleman n the on-going presidential elections case  on Friday took the Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe through an ‘imaginary’ constituency tally centre results management to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) main tally centre system until they are announced to demonstrate how the electoral body’s  computerised election result management system (RMS)  was breached  by a “ghost “ user to change  results  of the presidential elections in favour of incumbent President Peter Mutharika.

Suleman details how elections were ‘rigged’

In a presentation using the software MEC used during the May 21 elections, Sulemani’s imaginary tally centre was Salima Central Constituency which had four polling centres.

The witness focused on demonstrating before the panel of five judges hearing the election case, how the electoral body results management system safeguards were breached.

Going through the same process MEC used to get results from the constituency centre to the main tally centre until MEC Chairperson Dr Jane Ansah announced final results, Suleman, who is witness to second petitioner Lazarus Chakwera, took the court through the technical process that saw clean final results as well as those that were tampered with by unknown forces trough the backdoor.

According to Suleman, once the results were confirmed by an auditor at the constituency tally centre, they change to status four meaning they were ready to be sent to MEC main tally centre, where if confirmed by the system, they turn into  status 20 meaning they were verified and ready to be announced as final results.

“In Comesa (MEC main tally center) in Blantyre a physical copy will be printed, the auditors will certify, the other internal processes there has to be an internal approver to go into the system, to approve those scores so that they are aggregated and tallied for a fully official result,” he said adding that the whole process took about five minutes.

At this stage, Suleman said after getting into the system, the approver had to compare the printed copy and that which is in the system.

“At this time, the system shows the identity of the person who captured data and at what time, who was the second person and what time they entered the results and who was the auditor who touched the results,” he said.

Using graphical evidence, Suleman demonstrated to the court first how the computer system left trailing evidence that information which had earlier been applauded in the system was later deleted by the hacker or group of hackers.

Throughout this process, Sulemani said the system would show that it processed the data in milliseconds because the data was processed in the same processor because it’s only the computer that can process data in this way.

He said that when the results are entered and verified by the system, all the columns on the tally sheet will have data in them without a blank.

“Secondly in the time stamps, you see that except that those that have been committed by one user at the same time, the rest of these do not have similar time stamps. This is a characteristic of how data in a database would look and behave if it was done by human beings. Because there will be gaps in the processes from one process to another process,” said Suleman.

At the end of the process, Chakwera MCP got 3349 votes, Chilima UTM has 627 and Mutharika DPP got 314 votes.

“So my lady my lords, if I were a MEC Chair for this imaginary country at this time I will declare that person a winner,” he said adding that during this period there were no gaps, no identical and different time stamps despite that while doing all that process there was unauthorized access into their saver.

During all this process, Suleman said all papers were touched end to end by human beings to manipulate election results purportedly in favour of Mutharika against the will of the voters

“But now we have someone who has gone into our saver and is going to do some other things. From that time to now human beings were busy punching in data and all that trying to build that database, but now we will try to run this via a script,” said Suleman while describing a script as a list of instructions that has data in it and that data is placed in places where MEC Results Management System (RMS) is expecting data.

After rerunning the system twice, it came out that UTM Party president Saulos Chilima and President Peter Mutharika won separately using the script.

“But let’s look at the profile and the characteristics of the data in our database; you will see that the approver is a ghost user so it’s now blank. There is no name and the time stamps are the same. So this is what a script can do to your database, if you have not hardened your computer system, if you don’t have proper controls on how you treat your passwords, if you are giving passwords to anyone else and if your general basic computer security layout is not present you give out to a third party to come through the back door and defy all that human effort that was being done for about 30 minutes and within a course of milliseconds can change history,” he said.

Suleman did not mention the IP address of the ghost operator, but suggested MEC system was deliberately compromised by MEC officials, saying they used personal addresses with Google or Yahoo accounts instead of official addresses to use the system; hence, making it possible for the system to be accessed remotely from anywhere outside the MEC system.

The witness  suggested that it was possible MEC officials both accidentally and deliberately surrendered such access to the results.

“There were time stamps showing that one computer was being used in Mulanje and Thyolo at the same time. We had one kit present in two geographic areas; we have also discovered that human beings can’t process all this in this time. Every set of data must connect with other data; you can’t have a blank record, you can’t have a table with less than 5 002 tally sheets, all this points to one conclusion; that this data was manipulated by script and unfortunately, a decision was made using this data,” said Suleman.

Chilima and Chakwera who are seeking nullification of the presidential election results over alleged irregularities and calling for a re-run.

The case has been adjourned to Monday.

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Tizanka
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Tizanka

Interesting, so it means that in our courts if someone comes and demonstrates a theory without any tangible evidence then one can go to jail? Bring evidence, show that if you tabulate all the tally sheets then there is a different result from what MEC announced. Nobody voted through a machine, we voted using manual ballots, this would have made sense if MCP had lodged a rerun petition. All the form 66s are there, people think the system was rigged then let’s all count the physical votes, the same ones that were being aired live by Times, Zodiak and MBC,… Read more »

Samuel
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Samuel

Zinthu zitatu zandidabwitsa kwa mbiri. Choyamba funso la Jaji kwa Sulemani, Basi, zomwezi, palizina? I can give you more time. Chachiwiri ndi yankho imene Kaphale wayankha jaji kuti cross examination akufuna masiku angati, kodi awiri angagwire? Kaphale awiri ai koma tsiku limodzi komanso kenikeni ndifuna just hours not a day full. Ndingopempha lolembalo akamaliza Sulumani tidzapumile kaye kuti tidzakambilane zingapo ndi a IT experts a MEC choncho mafunso ndidzafunsa ku masana a lolemba. Chitatu ndaona ngati kuti Sulemani wapeleka umboni otsutsa ndi umboni umene anzake apeleka kale mukhoti. Umboni kutsutsa mboni zinzake. Lero sindinena zambiri ndidikira amalize kaye. Pomaliza ndingonena… Read more »

Mwaulambia
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Mwaulambia

Mia, Suleman, mtundu winu ngwa utimbanizgi!

Richie
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Stop celebrating suleman evidence it is false

Kangaroo_Court
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Kangaroo_Court

You knw nothng! Its better to keep quiet !Hahahah!

tung'ande
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tung'ande

Mttaer under contention is not how the elections were rigged because there is no such allegations in the petetioners case. Sulemani has to establish rigging by comparing hard copy results with data that was entered to see if Chakwera was disadvantaged. The problem with Malawians and our media is that because they are incompent on court matters they seem to celebrate on trivials. I have seen that even our courts are being driven by public opinion not procedures hence making usless rulings in favour of the petetioners.

A,B,C
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A,B,C

Sir/Madam, you may be wrong. It may not be necessary for petitioners to prove rigging to win this case. If you consider the Istanbul (Turkey) mayor elections of March 2019 as a theoretical example, a re-run was ordered because some officials overseeing the vote were not civil servants as required by the law there. It was nothing to do with rigging. If one considers what is publicly available in the case in Malawi, it appears that the petitioners agree that APM won the election but their contention is that “he won an election that was full of irregularities” or sometimes… Read more »

Mbonga Matoga
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Mbonga Matoga

You have missed the plot completely, MCP chose a broader term of irregularities.
Rigging elections whether through hacking electronic data or manipulating figures on hard copies with tippex all this is proof that the election process was irregular…….

A,B,C
Guest
A,B,C

You say “all this is proof that the election process was irregular….”. so you are agreeing with me that the petitioners have set out to prove irregularities? Otherwise if there is evidence of rigging why not allege and prove rigging? The broader one goes with their allegations, the less they appear certain of their facts. Not all election irregularities constitute fraud/rigging.

Fake Petros
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Fake Petros

@Tung’ande
You seem to exaggerate yourself/ academic qualifications a lot. Whatever degree you have.never have the delusion/ illusion that if I have such and such degree then you are the only super great, only one who understands issues better, odzitsata kwambiri,. Noooh!

Shaka
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Shaka

ON BEHALF OF ALL THE MALAWIANS AND INDEED EXCLUDING THE LHOMWES , I WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGISE TO YOUR EXELLENCIES MR. SULEMAN AND MR. BENDULO FOR BEING CALLED ” NYAPAPI ” BY ACTING PRESIDENT.
PLEASE DON’T TAKE HIM SERIOUSLY AS HIS HEAD IS NO LONGER FUNCTIONING PROPERLY.
THEREFORE , DON’T GO FURTHER BY REVEALING MORE INFORMATION OF HOW THE ELECTIONS WERE RIGGED AT THE CONCOURT .
POLANI MOTO MABWANA , NKHANIYI NDIYOKAMBIRANA.

Muhome
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Muhome

It is very sad that Malawians are still waiting for the court to come to a decision on how the elections were conducted and what will be next. I am in the IT field and I have been following this story closely. My advice is, we need to request donors to help improve our electoral system that we currently use if possible. It has no trust and no one should blame the other. We need a system that runs on servers at least 2012R2. It’s costly but we will be safe. Otherwise, this problem will last forever even if anyone… Read more »

A,B,C
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A,B,C

Looks like Suleman hacked into the MEC servers himself. Is hacking not a crime? Had he perhaps been originally hired to hack into the MEC system to the benefit of someone? Or could he have hacked into the system to confuse the election results at the point where it had become obvious that someone was losing? And then wasn’t this case (and the demos) about alleged rigging by using TIPPEX? So was it TIPPEX or was it a Ghost computer user that elected the winner? Perhaps it was both? Or is it just a case of grasping at straws? At… Read more »

chataika
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chataika

He failed to hack the system himself; agwidwa siyeni

Kandulu
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Kandulu

What is wrong using personal emails?
What is wrong using a ghost worker?
What is wrong using a personal bank account to deposit K4 billion by MEC chair in RSA?
What is wrong using tippex to correct the results properly?

There is absolutely nothing wrong.

Kaitano
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Kaitano

Mutu ukuwawa

Gongoni Wakuda
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Gongoni Wakuda

MR KANDULU YOUR REASONING LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED! YOU MEAN YOU CAN JUST WRITE MWK 2000.00 ON A PIECE OF PAPER AND GO TO ANY BANK AND CASH IT? CAN BANK SECURITY OFFICIALS JUST LOOK AT YOU AND SMILE, OR YOU WILL BE TAKEN TO ZOMBA MENTAL HOSPITAL FOR CHECK UP?

Mbolo Sidwala
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Mbolo Sidwala

Akuti Monday adzanunkha mang’ina. Kaphale ukonzeke kutenga madzi okwanira

mpilu
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mpilu

so you mean the dpp team had already clamped on rigging while their lady m busa had already received ci scono. and wwoowing a malawi azanga nyonyo nyonyo nyonyo fucking the whole nati9n with lies ah!!!! educated fools. mukanapanga kale lomwe l8ja osati mw wa leloyi whore, and your team of bastards.
munaatizolowera udyotu.
mxiiiii