It's all systems go after IEBC carries out tests on results transmission

Consolata Nkatha, IEBC's vice chairperson (left), chairman Wafula Chebukati and Communications Authority Director General Francis Wangusi at the Bomas of Kenya yesterday. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]

The electoral commission has finally carried out the much-awaited simulation of its Results Transmission System (RTS).

The dry run was done in selected polling stations in Nakuru, Mombasa and Kisumu counties, with the results being successfully transmitted to the National Tallying Centre at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.

Notably, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) failed to deliver on its pledge to transmit results from 47 selected polling stations in the 47 counties, settling instead on the three.

Nevertheless, at the end of the exercise, the IEBC officials exuded confidence that the Kenya Integrated Elections Management Systems (KIEMS) was foolproof.

"Our technical team has worked on this technology for months. It is foolproof and can only suffer a hitch through human intervention," said Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba.

"We will have no back end. The media will get the API-public portal link tomorrow (today) and can gradually tabulate and analyse the results as they trickle in."

Credible polls

And IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati assured: "We are ready to give this country free, fair and credible polls on August 8."

Mr Chiloba maintained that they had full confidence in the system to operate at 100 per cent on election day. He explained that the results would reach the national and constituency tallying centres after they were transmitted by the presiding officers.

In Kisumu, the IEBC staff linked their servers to the main one at the national tallying centre in Nairobi and were able to transmit the results.

But the KIEMs simulation exercise was snubbed by all local party agents and leaders, who were expected to send their agents to witness the digital results transmission process.

It was only attended by European Union observers Mats Melin, Drahomira Tranovcova, Agnes Alupo and Andrei Krasnyansky, IEBC staff and journalists.

Nyanza Central IEBC co-ordinator John Cox said the commission had hired about 9,000 clerks and 3,000 polling officers to oversee the elections.

In Mombasa, IEBC County Deputy Returning Officer Amina Mohamed said the simulation process was 100 per cent successful.

"The IEBC in Mombasa is ready for the elections on August 8. Our results form was successfully sent. That is 100 per cent successful submission," said Ms Mohamed at Bandari College.

"We will be using Safaricom, Airtel and the internet to ensure that results are delivered without any delays," she said.

According to Safran Morpho, the company that supplied the KIEMS, presiding and returning officers would get their passwords on voting day.

"The RTS will be launched on the tablets on voting day. Once the voting is concluded at 5pm, the presiding officers will open the RTS by keying in the Q1 code to begin transmitting the results," explained Pamela Awiti from Morpho.

"Once the officer has logged in and the details are correct, the next question as he/she proceeds with the process is to indicate whether the results were disputed or not. If they are not disputed for the presidential ballot, they will proceed to fill in the declaration form, F34(A)."

But she cautioned that every stage of the process must be correctly followed otherwise no officer would be able to proceed to the next stage. Her colleague demonstrated how the system works.

"The validation rules are specific. The officer must fill in all the questionnaires on the total number of rejected ballot papers, total number of disputed ballots, total number of votes cast, valid votes and the number of registered voters at the polling station," the officer explained.

Next level

The officer will not proceed to the next level if there are discrepancies in the figures entered.

"The number of voters cannot exceed the number of registered voters at the polling station. If the registered voters are 635 and the votes cast are 400, the system will immediately reject by popping a red light."

Once the correct figures have been uploaded, the names of candidates and the number of votes they got will be displayed.

"To validate this process and transmit the results, the presiding officer will scan the declaration form, which will be uploaded as an attachment and submitted. If the process is correct, it will reflect at the national tallying centre, the returning officers' tablets, the media and the public portal.

Additional reporting by Joackim Bwana

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