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Kenya’s IEBC heavily criticised over digital stance

Kenya , 23 Jun 2022

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has drawn widespread criticism over its decision to rely exclusively on a digital register or KIEMS (Kenya Integrated Election Management System) during the country’s General Election scheduled for August 2022.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati argued that the manual register is prone to abuse and this manipulation can only be prevented by using the digital register.

However, the move has been heavily criticised across the country’s political spectrum and have openly questioned what would happen in the event KIEMS Kits fail.

Yesterday, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) said it was taking legal action against the IEBC over the decision.

“We’re suing @IEBCKenya over their decision not to use a manual register of voters as a complementary system during the August 9, 2022, general elections. Many voters would be effectively locked out of voting should the KIEMs Kits fail. Voting is a right for all,” KHRC announced on their Twitter account.

It added, “Approximately 2.5 million voters had to rely on the physical register in the 2017 General Election after verification of their details failed due to poor quality of the fingerprints, exposure of Kiems kits to weather elements and technical failure of some kits.”

In response the IEBC said should a KIEMS Kit fail, it would immediately be replaced with a working one at the polling station by simply swapping the SD card with voter information.

“The reason the Commission has decided to use the digital register as opposed to the physical register is to prevent certain malpractices that were there before,” said Marjan Hussein Marjan, CEO of the IEBC Secretariat.

Marjan explained that previously, the physical register would indicate data of persons who had not voted and their details erroneously and illegally added to the KIEMS Kit.

“This malpractice is what the commission is hoping to avoid,” he said.

With the digital register, the only data that is identified and recorded is that which belongs to people who actually show up at the polls.

According to the IEBC, it has registered 22,120,458 voters to date.

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