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Police seek assurance from IEBC on voter kits

By Cyrus Ombati | Published Mon, July 24th 2017 at 00:00, Updated July 23rd 2017 at 19:17 GMT +3
An exclusive image Police officers drawn from Kenya Police, Administration Police and Prisons department taking anti riot combat training from their senior at an exclusive field within Kachok dumping site in Kisumu which is only frequented by urchins in a picture taken on July 22,2017.  (Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard)

Police have sought assurance from the electoral agency that the electronic voting kits will not fail on the Election Day.

Top security officers invited Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials to their meeting in Nairobi for a briefing on how the commission will use technology to ensure integrity in the process.

They said failure of the kits would constitute a security threat. They said all other plans were already in place but expressed fears the only agency that may fail was IEBC.

"We wanted to hear from them on the reliability of the kits and a commissioner demonstrated how it will work. If there will be any confusion and chaos, IEBC will be to blame," said an official aware of the talks.

Commissioner Paul Kurgat told the meeting they were confident batteries work up to eight hours. He however said each of the kits had a power bank that could last 16 hours.

"There will be three stand-by kits for each of the country's 1,450 wards to supplement any that may fail. We have confidence the process will be successful," said Kurgat.

The meeting was attended by Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet, his deputies Joel Kitili and Samuel Arachi, DCI Ndegwa Muhoro, heads of Prisons, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, the National Youth Service and National Intelligence Service.

The commission has organised a series of meetings on Wednesday with key players, including presidential candidates, to assure them on the credibility of the process.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the meetings were meant to brief the players on the elaborate security arrangements in place to ensure safe polls.

"I have invited presidential candidates or their senior party officials on Wednesday to discuss security arrangements in place for the general election," Chebukati said.

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho said IEBC and security chiefs would meet presidential candidates and members of the diplomatic community the same Wednesday.

"We shall then meet political parties, civil society and media at the Kenya School of Government to outline security measures in place as per IEBC request," he said.

The PS also said they had mapped out hotspots in insecurity-prone areas and made contingency preparations to ensure the polls succeed.

"It's our work to secure all Kenyans while it's the work of IEBC to conduct elections. Our mandate is to ensure IEBC is facilitated to distribute polling materials and also secure their officials. If an area is not safe to transport by road, we shall advise the IEBC appropriately," Kibicho said.

The Kenya Integrated Elections Management Systems (KIEMS) has unique features that will make double voting, ballot stuffing and irreconcilable voting patterns impossible.

IEBC will deploy 45,000 KIEMS kits to be used in all the 40,883 polling stations across the country.

Every polling station has been allocated a kit with a maximum number of 700 voters depending on the size of the polling centre.

By implication, voters in a polling station cannot exceed the allocated number. The KIEMS technology has two main functions in this election. The first is biometric identification of voters on the Election Day and transmission of results after counting the votes.

IEBC has made it mandatory for voters to be identified biometrically to close the doors for possibility of resurrection of dead voters, Kurgat told the meeting.

PRESIDING OFFICERS

After counting of results, the presiding officers in the presence of party agents are expected to type the total number of votes garnered by each candidate into the kit.

The kit aggregates the results automatically and the total number of votes cast for all the candidates is recorded.

In cases where the number of voters exceeds the total number of those registered voters, the kits shall automatically reject the results. This measure, according to the commission, effectively makes ballot stuffing impossible.

 


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