Politics

Zec in server storm – NewsDay Zimbabwe


Jasper Mangwana

BY PROBLEM MASAU
THE embattled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is once again entangled in a rigging storm amid allegations by some data experts that the electoral body’s servers are being hosted by Africom, a company believed to be owned by the army.

Fernhaven Investments (Private) Limited, an investment vehicle of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, is said to be the majority shareholder in Africom.


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This has added onto a myriad of other complaints on how Zec is administering elections, with opposition parties recently complaining that they were not given the voters rolls for the March 26 by-elections, while Zanu PF was allegedly given the voters roll which was in colour and with pictures.

Zec dismissed the allegation that Africom, a leading converged communication service provider, was hosting their servers.

However, the electoral management body failed to prove that it has an alternative host. “Zec has no server hosted by any external organisation, including Africom,” Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana told NewsDay yesterday.

But data experts Team Pachedu insisted that there was overwhelming evidence that Zec servers were being hosted by Africom.

“When the Zec website was hacked on August 1, 2018, forensic experts investigated. They found that Zec was hosted on an Africom server, IP 41.57.65.19, sharing hosting with other sites like netguardsec.com. Shared hosting means the server was not at Zec,” Team Pachedu said.

“The website was developed in a rush by Africom and uploaded on the Africom domain zec.org.zw, not the usual government’s zec.gov.zw. The code Africom used was recycled and had significant security flaws. This made hacking easy.

“The same shared server that Africom hosted the Zec site in 2018, 41.57.65.19 is the same server that was being used by the just deleted sub-domain training.zec.org.zw. This server is currently hosting 54 websites, confirming Zec is not hosting it, but Africom.”

Army spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore dismissed the allegations saying the army does not run elections.

“Talk to Zec, the army does not run elections in Zimbabwe. You have called the wrong place. I do not work at Zec or Africom,” Makotore said.

Listed Africom numbers were not getting through yesterday.

Exiled former Information minister Jonathan Moyo, in his book Excelgate: How Zimbabwe’s 2018 Presidential Election Was Stolen, claimed that the “brazen operation to audaciously rig the result” was carried out by raiding the Zec election server and “inventing an unlawful route, and destination for the collation, compilation, and transmission of the [presidential] result, through operational liaison with Africom for server networking and servicing”.

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