Technology key in Kenya’s elections

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Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and leading presidential candidates have invested in latest technologies to track voting and transmission of results to fast-track declaration of final results.
While Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has contracted three technology firms—IBM, Oracle and Dell —to provide back up to its information and communication technology system, Jubilee and National Super Alliance have set separate IT system to monitor results and tally.
According to IEBC, adequate training has been carried out for its personnel, especially for electronic voter identification devices to ensure they do not fail come the polling day. The electronic voter identification devices ensure that there is no impersonation and no voter votes twice or more.
The new devices, which were tested during voter verification exercise in June, the commission said have batteries that can last up to 72 hours.
Opposition also wants the electoral commission to exclusively use the devices for identification of voters, saying manual system could be manipulated to allow “dead voters to vote.”
Jubilee Party led by President Kenyatta has set up a tallying centre in Nairobi where data and communication experts will be stationed to receive the results from across the country and feedits secretariat and team Uhuruto, which is managing presidential campaigns with information.
RailaOdinga-led National Super Alliance started setting up it IT hub and tallying centrelast year to drive the party’s mission of non-rigging which it says happens during the transmission and tallying of presidential results.
MrOdinga admitted at a presidential debate that Nasa has already set up a tallying centre in Nairobi and virtual back-up system in Nairobi. He, however, denied that opposition had established the in Tanzania as Jubilee Party had alleged.
Smarting from a debacle in 2013 general election where electronic transmission of results collapsed midway, the electoral body has also invested in a backup system at the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya with latest servers.
“The technology partners are providing logical security for the electoral systems at various levels such as network application, database and hardware on an end solution basis,” said IEBC commissioner RoselyneAkombe.
During the March 4th polls, only 17,000 of the 33,000 polling stations managed to transmit results before it was overwhelmed by some technical hitches.
The electoral commission has found itself in a crisis after its IT system was hacked and claims of manipulation of its data.
IT director James Muhati was also sent on compulsory leave after he declined to cooperate in auditing of IT network, software and licences.

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