Security breach at Zec, database hacked

UNDERFIRE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba has sensationally claimed that suspected hackers recently broke into the electoral management body’s database and stole crucial information on the biometric voters’ roll, escalating fears of electoral manipulation ahead of the polls.


The development comes in the wake of publication of a report by an independent data management team exposing irregularities, errors and omissions on the voters’ roll, which threatens the credibility of the polls, which are just a few days away.

Chigumba told local radio station StarFM on Monday that the hackers cloned the commission’s domain, which hosted the voters’ roll complete with phone numbers and splashed the data on the internet.

“That was a serious cyber security breach. They actually cloned our site and we are in the process of doing something about it and we should have that site taken down in the course of the week,” she said.

“The host is UK-based, so it’s not actually in Zimbabwe. So we can’t use any of our local laws to bring it down, but we are trying our best.”

The development raises further concerns over the credibility of the voters’ roll and security of the ballot considering that the biometric voters’ data captured by Zec during the voter registration included personal details such as fingerprints, pictures, addresses, cellphone numbers, national identity numbers and physical addresses.

The alleged security breach came after Zec was warned by biometric voter registration kits suppler Laxton Group Limited that such security breaches were possible.

“Allowing this data to go through multiple systems and companies will create obvious issues and open up holes for data breach,” Laxton Group warned in a security report dated June 6, 2017.

Chigumba made the disclosure after she was accused of leaking voters’ personal phone number to the ruling Zanu PF party.

Initially, Zec accused telecommunications service providers and retail shops of supplying the numbers to the ruling party.

Chigumba said they had now roped in ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira to assist with the investigations.

“It’s not in our interest to give out our database to anybody because it exposes the commission to lawsuits. In fact, to be honest with you, my name is on that voters’ roll, the names of my children are on that voters’ roll,” she said.
Mandiwanzira last week said: “This cyber security breach is unacceptable. The ministry is aware that Zec issued a protected copy of the roll while the one that has been published on the internet is unprotected. Such data cannot and should not be made public without permission of the voters themselves.”

But political analyst Ibbo Mandaza rubbished claims that Zec could have been hacked, saying Zec was trying to cover up and clear its soiled image.

“It shows that Zec is not in control or ready for the elections. The military is in charge like it has always been in the past 18 years. So people are right in being suspicious over the leak. It’s not by accident, it’s a process,” he said.

Meanwhile, Team Pachedu, which recently conducted its own external audit of the voters’ roll, this week gave Zec an adverse report of its findings.

Zec director of public relations Justin Manyau confirmed receipt of the report and said it had been forwarded to the body’s technical team.

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  1. Technology and Zanu PF/ZEC – oxymoron.

  2. Linda Ndlovu- UZ

    ZEC, we are not fools. If the data was hacked, where is the proof? How did our phone numbers end up with Zanu PF ? Why and how on earth would other political parties fail to have access to that data. Why is Zanu pf the only party sending people messages to vote for it? Why is Zanu PF always defending ZEC on this matter of phone numbers? Why is Zanu PF not even complaining about searchable voter’s roll?
    Are these elections credible?

  3. This proves that the calls by all opposition parties for Zec to be transparent are genuine and should be heeded. By acknowledging that there were some breaches it simply means that the election can be easily tampered with anytime. The Zec chairperson seems arrogant and a know it all which is a bad thing taking into consideration that the election system in Zim has always been manipulated to favour the ruling party. Right now it is not clear who, when and where were the ballot papers printed, where are the ballot papers being stored, who is providing security,how will the ballot papers be transported to the polling stations and by whom. Right now there are also questions on how the ballot paper was designed with reports of candidates appearing on the ballot paper side by side instead of from top to bottom; and of course the recent positioning of the voting booth. It seems that the Zec is only brewing confusion. Zec should sit down with all parties and do the least of explaining all the process to all stakeholders.Right now it is possible that Zanu pf knows where the ballot is kept, where it was printed, who printed it et al. It is high time that Zec follow in the footsteps of such credible election commissions like IEC of SA, which has proved to be professional and independent. Right now this election seems to be a sham.

    1. You surprise me! You want ZEC to tell you where they are keeping the ballot papers? Really? I don’t think you are serious considering the risks involved.

      1. Please sit down and let those with the capacity and competence to analyse and discuss such serious issues do so. You are obviously out of depth and do not understand the points raised by Gheo

      2. kana usina zvekutaura nyarara

  4. …and ma’am chairperson claims to be guided by the law religiously.

  5. Why Priscilla not yet arrested she should be held answerable. PAMBERI NE HONDO.

  6. Is such a security boob not an earthquake that can stop the election nhai ZEC.

  7. What people seem to forget is that we don’t vote electronically, like in the developed world, but physically at every polling station. As long as the ballot papers issued and those counted tally, together with the serial numbers, I frankly don’t see where the fears are. Each party will be represented at each polling station by its agent who are meant to see to it that these figures and serial numbers tally. Its disheartening how people are acting as if they are already preparing excuses for defeat, instead of rolling up their sleeves and try to win this election. This is one election that was there for the taking but it looks like its going to be a missed opportunity, and its all down to the immaturity and incompetence of the opposition leadership. The unlearned Tsvangirai was a much better leader, not these lawyers, advocates, Drs and professors.

  8. No need to use our local laws against UK based hackers, just use the local laws against Zanu Pf who are, interestingly, the only local beneficiaries of the data leak! As they say in Shona, kana uchida kuziva amai vechidhoma rova chidhoma chacho! Beat Zanu Pf and they’ll tell us who gave them the data, simple.

  9. If you believe Chigumba then you will take @Gheo’s road above. If you disbelieve her, then you can reasonably speculate like Mandaza that she’s trying to provide cover to ZEC… for having handed over information to Zanu PF… or for future manipulation of the electoral data. Although I am more inclined to believe the latter explanation, neither one is comforting; this is a lose-lose situation – incompetence versus collusion. As I have written elsewhere, ZEC remains a central part of the problem rather than the solution.

  10. Supa who has been roped in should start with Terrence who is sending these sms’ soliciting for votes and ask him where he got the data he is using. Chidhoma ngachirohwe mai vacho va bude shuwa, if ZEC is serious not the UK based hackers diversionary tactic.

  11. Zimbabweans profess to be very dull deliberately. Those who were caught sending restrocted data base info are the hackers or Zec is working in collision with them, period!! Regai kutamba nepfungwa dzedu.

  12. Why is it all ZanuPF supporters have mental illness to a point that they do not care what the constitution says. Maybe they all understand how they rig elections. Mpola7, the reason why the constitution explicitly talks about the ballot paper and the voter’s roll shows that that is where and when are elections won or lost. All parties must be concerned with any breaches or hacking. Manje gore rino kubira hapana

  13. we are being fooled here. how can someone say she does not know when she is incharge .she is protecting her party and boy friends in Zanu pf so that she continue to get benefits that are looted from the public funds and poor people shame on you Cigumba. You are lawyer for what .you talk of the law when people are asking you about the voters roll and ballot paper. Now the voters roll has been tampered with what are you going to do at law .Tell us as learned jugde

  14. Chigumba maitiro enyu aya ndosaka pawakabvunzwa kuti une murume here wakamhanyira kuti ipersonal life yangu.unoyadzisa chigumba ndanyara kukunyarirai amai imi mapuruvha chamisa nezim n the world u are incompitent

  15. where are you eliasha and kid marongorongo, defend chigumba now!

  16. chigumba pse remember there is life afta zanu pf. u r soiling yo career. the higher a monky climbs a tree, the more it exposes its bottom part. be warned

    1. shunguhadziurayi mangarayi

      You fool must also know that there is life after 30 july

  17. Is this Security bleach at ZEC not more than an earthquake?.

  18. ZANU PF PARTY AND SUPPORTERS’ VICTORIES OF PERMANENT DESTRUCTION IN ZIMBABWE: 1990-Aid suspended by the IMF and World Bank because of zanu pf’s primitive policies. 1998- High interest rates imposed by zanu pf government caused Zim’s Economic Crisis. 2000-Zanu pf’s Mugabe,Muzenda,Mujuru,Mnangagwa,Chihuri,Bonyongwe,Shiri,Mohadi,Zimhondi, Zvobo all authorizes farm invasions. 2001-Food Shortages caused by Zanu pf’s farm invasions. 2002-Common Wealth Countries suspended Zimbabwe from its membership. Still to continue.

  19. shunguhadziurayi mangarayi

    Maelections haasi kuzomira. Ngaaitwe apfuure we are tired of chamisa’s noise for nothing. We want to concentrate on building our country not this noise about ZEC as if ZEC is now an opposition party. Leave ZEC to do their work. Kutya kulooser I know but even ukabvunza iye chamisa muri two anokuudza kuti handina door na ED. Inga zviri pachena wani. Nyaya dzekuda kupretender as though your ignorance will change anything will not help. ED pfeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  20. shunguhadziurayi mangarayi you are a dog

  21. Memory Siziba

    KKKK UYO SHUNGU HADZIURAYI musiyei akadaro. Akatofa kare neshungu aona vanhu vachimhanya na Chamisa.

  22. Zanu pf’s victories in desruction: 2003-Economic Meltdown and rising of inflation forced companies to close down. 2004-IMF expelled Zimbabwe because of lack of unpaid overdue funds by Zanu pf govern. 2005-Houses and Business properties destroyed by Zanu pf government. 2006-Zim’s annual inflation roses above 1000%,hence the introduction of Bearer cheques. 2008-Implementation of Prices and wage freezes by zanu pf government. 2009-GNU formation and abandoned the Zim Dollar,hence creating a positive economic growth through the MDC-T PARTY’S SOUND economic policies. Still to be continued.

  23. Zanu pf’s victories in destruction: 2013-2016: Again the economic performance took another nose dive when zanu pf took over and go solo showing zanu pf’s inabilities in policy implementations,hence they introduces the Bond Notes. 2017- Mugabe’s fall from grace and the failure by ED Mnangagwa to arrest the cash shortages. Please zimbabweans, never again to be taken for a ride by these idiots.

  24. A very false publish by Newsday. Please don’t waste time on lies. I understand propaganda has got into people through this newspaper NEWSDAY despite it being so untrue. But i love NEWSDAY, it criticizes development and make policy makers more wiser on reviews of sustainable drive-plans.

  25. I think you take all Zimbabweans as yr fools because how can you say in this way it won’t change the procedures for the election bt we want to know where you had been printed the ballot paper as u promised to take 23days on printing presidential ballot paper bt to my surprise in 11 days it was over how come ??? plizzzz we need an answer on that issue

  26. Maka register ku vhota here mese muri ku commenta

    1. muvhunzo wakakosha uyu chokwadi vanotaurisa vazhinji vacho dololo

  27. Yes of cause we have done so.

  28. Thank you Sandy.

    What about others please confirm that you registered to vote on 30 July, if there is no earthquake on that day.

  29. Comment…Ndikatiii nzveeee kwaAmato, wandiwona! Tangayi kusungisaka vose vakatumira SMSs kuvanhu. Hamuna kupiwa number dzenhare mbozha here dzakatumira SMSs. Ndinoona ndopanobvira wongororo ipapo. Kana makapiwa mazita evavo vakatumira SMSs maiteyi nezvazvo kusvika nhasi?

  30. Zvakozvenyuhazvirehwimayivepi Mazivazvangumhakayakora

    Comment…Dayi Econet yapawo tsangudzo. ZEC inogona kuva ichitaura chokwadi, uye isineyi nechekuita neavo vakatumira SMSs kuvanhu. Pana vose vane Econet sim, panewo here akatumirwa SMS
    yekuti wahwinha LANDCRUISER, $50M, $20M kana $10m. Vanhu ava vakawanepi nhamba dzenhare mbozha dzevanhu? Econet yakaramba, uye inongoramba. Ini nhahwinha kasiverengeki, zvekuti dayi ndiri jaha mupfumi parinhsi. ZEC inogona kuva yakachenawo apa. Mheno, mawonero anguwo.

  31. you can’t separate Zanu and Zec they have been working together Zec is a product of Zanu

  32. Comment…matuzvi muzimbabwe

  33. Hey,musangohumana when,tirikuhwina muchinda musingadi

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