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Brace for hi-tech voting in 2012 poll, voters told

By | Aug 20th 2010 | 2 min read
By | August 20th 2010

By Luke Anami and Gerald Gichura

Kenyan voters should prepare to cast their ballots electronically in 2012, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo has said.

Mr Mutula said the Government was exploring ways that will see Kenyans vote using the electronic polling system in the next polls.

"We are in the process of exploring logistics and seeking funds to ensure all Kenyans vote electronically in the coming general election," he said.

The minister said President Kibaki had mandated him to travel to Brazil, India and Philippines to study electronic voting systems in those countries and identify the best system that could be implemented in Kenya.

"The voting system has been widely accepted in countries such as Brazil due to the fact that it speeds up the vote counting," said he.

Addressing delegates attending a two-day East African Community conference on good governance, Mutula said the success of the recent referendum demonstrates the ability of the Government to conduct an election electronically.

He said in some cases, the poll results are known minutes after the closing of the ballots, making it difficult to rig an election.

"We are seeking funds from international bodies such as the UNDP and other donors in anticipation of next elections," added Mutula.

East African Community Minister Hellen Sambili and Deputy Secretary General Beatrice Kiraso accompanied Mutula.

"Primary focus for EAC partner states is the upholding of human rights and good governance as the pillars for political and economical stability," he said.

New Law Politics

Mutula said EAC states could borrow a leaf from the Bill of Rights as outlined in the new law.

He also singled out Chapter Six on Leadership and Integrity as essential in guiding the character and behaviour of public officials.

"After August 27, all public officers will not be allowed to hold bank accounts outside Kenya," said Mutula.

Reacting to media reports that ministers who led the ‘No’ team had been locked out of a Cabinet committee to implement the new law, Mutula said the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee is not about ‘Reds’ or ‘Greens’.

"We have passed the ‘No’ or ‘Yes’ stage. The media should focus on what next," he said.

Ms Kiraso called on member countries to chart out a future that strengthens integration and advances good governance.

"Governance issues form the fundamental principles of the community and unless they are upheld, the integration process is likely to fail," she said.

On April 14, Interim Independent Electoral Commission launch electronic registration in 18 constituencies on a pilot basis during the new voter listing. A total of 1.4 million voters were registered with system.

The commission also introduced electronic poll tallying system for by-elections in South Mugirango, Matuga and the August 4 referendum.

The commission said the system was dependable and more efficient than manual system, which was open to manipulation and vote rigging.

Electronic Voter Registration is a system that uniquely identifies the voter by capturing the biometric features (face recognition and fingerprint).

The system has been successfully used in India, US, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada and France among others.

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