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Fresh attempt to ensure zero rigging in Kenya's 2017 polls

By Moses Njagih | Published Wed, November 30th 2016 at 00:00, Updated November 29th 2016 at 23:22 GMT +3
IEBC officials prepare ballot boxes at their Homa Bay ahead of a past election. PHOTO: FILE

An integrated technological system is being developed in an attempt to stop any incidents of manipulation of election data during next year's polls.

The system, proposed by the Elections Regulations Advisory Committee that should be implemented before the August 8, 2017 election, seeks to integrate and syncronise the Biometric Voter Registration kits, Electoral Voter Identification Devices and the vote transmission system using a hi-tech system that will make it difficult for any party to manipulate data and rig the elections.

But for the system to work, the entire country must be under the cover of 3G network, which a joint parliamentary committee yesterday noted was the key challenge to roll out.

The Communications Authority of Kenya undertook to ensure that the same is in place for use by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ahead of the elections, saying already plans are at advanced stage to spend Sh4 billion from the Universal Service Fund to complete the coverage in time for testing of the syncronised system.

But the task is a daunting one. The committee was informed that currently, only a paltry 17 per cent of the country's landmass is covered by the 3G network, while another 52 per cent is under the 2G network.

The joint Delegated Legislation and Legal Affairs (Senate) committee was further informed that 10 per cent of the country is not under any network cover as the country prepares the ambitious plan of ensuring that all election results are relayed directly from the polling centres.

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The 3G network is crucial in ensuring seamless transmission of election results from the electoral grounds to minimise risks of tampering with electoral data.

"In the last elections we had 17,000 Electronic Voter Identification Devices for purposes of the elections but only a few could work as the largest part of the country is not covered by the right network. These gadgets are now obsolete and we must cover the country if the devices are to be put to work," said Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr who was chairing the committee.

Representatives from CAK and Computer Society of Kenya led by senior counsel Julius Ogony concurred that the country must quickly move to cover the entire landmass with the network, ahead of the polls and ensure that gadgets are tested.

A representative of CAK Director General Francis Wangusi said the body is committed to ensuring that the country is covered despite the short period remaining to the elections.

The Senate committee is also proposing that IEBC sets up a virtual private network control devices to ensure they are legally registered to reach the server.

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