The Senate Legal Affairs committee yesterday wound up collection of public views on the controversial Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Key players including Attorney General Githu Muigai, SK Macharia from the Media Owners Association (MOA ) and representatives from the Council of Governors (CoG) made their submissions this week.
Officials from the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI ), Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) also made their submissions.
These are the main highlights
AG Githu Muigai
- Supported the use of a manual back-up voting system for the August elections, saying an electronic one is prone to failure and other challenges.
- Explained that contrary to what is in the public domain, the country in the last election used a manual system that was only supported by electronic components, adding that the Constitution does not prescribe the use of an electronic system.
- Clarity is needed on the circumstances in which the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission( IEBC) can resort to the use of a manual system as a complementary mechanism.
- It is possible to transmit results electronically and also use an electronic back-up.
- It is cheaper to use a satellite phone in areas with no network coverage. One satellite phone costs about Sh4,000 and this can be used to deliver election data even from the remote area.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chairman Kiprono Kittony
- There is no way the country can pride itself as an IT hub in the region and leader in mobile technology and applications and fail to have the capacity of transmit results electronically.
- We have the capacity to undertake the task of electronic transmission of results, and ensuring that the system does not fail.
- Considering that the integrated electronic system is vulnerable to circumstances such as poor network, criminal attacks, cyber-crime and others, it would be necessary and in the best interest of the public to have an alternative back-up.
- Players in the matter must find consensus on the definition of an intended complementary system and identify a system that is legally acceptable within the electoral laws and the Constitution.
Council of Governors
Was represented by Governors John Mruttu (Taita-Taveta), Isaac Ruto (Bomet) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni.
- The entire clause providing for a manual system be done away with.
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-All we need to do is invest in alternative devices that will complement the system. Satellite telephony can provide the solution to transmission of results.
Banks run on electronic systems, where customers are identified electronically. The solution is for IEBC to have such a database and ensure there is duplication electronically.
- The problem with the electoral system is not with the method used in identification of voters, but the people manning the polling stations.
- BVR will not identify ghosts voters. People at a polling station can agree to let those who are not there to vote. It has happened before and it can still happen if we insist on a manual system.
-The alternative for electronic voting that Attorney General Muigai and other people are rooting for is basically some strange cooking.
LSK President Isaac Okero
- For strict compliance with the law, adequate provisions must be established to address the challenges that the use of technology in the elections may present.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Vice Chairman- George Morara
- Use of IEBC to carry out political party nominations is ill-advised. It is wrong to make people who do not subscribe to certain parties pay for activities of the political outfits.
-It is not desirable for taxpayers to pick the tab for political parties, including those whose ideals they do not subscribe to.
- The Role of IEBC should be limited to enforcement.