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Kenya’s voter regulator assures its systems are checked and ready

Kenya , 08 Aug 2022

Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said it has addressed all issues raised in a KPMG report on its tech system and added that is ready for the country’s 9 August general election.

According to the report, the IEBC’s Integrated Database Management System (IDMS) had “14 mysterious returning officers” who had the requisite access and power to alter the voter register. It added that the electronic register had anomalies that could impact the outcome of the elections.

It also noted that the voter register featured double entries as well as details of voters that had not used official documents to register.

The IEBC said five of its staff are alleged to have engaged in the illegal transfers of voters through its digital platforms and the case is with investigators.

Marjan Hussein Marjan, CEO, IEBC Secretariate said, “The issues of the KPMG report were addressed. (The) majority of the issues were basically related to ensure that the access rights are commensurate to the roles of the users and this was basically done. We also had an independent technology audit and the assurance we were given is that our systems are good.”

Manual vs digital register

The IEBC had initially said that only the digital register would be used to process voters via the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kit.

But the announcement was met with resistance by by Presidential Candidate Raila Odingasome who questioned what, if any, backup mechanism the regulator had in place in the event of technical or other issues.

A case filed by a Human Rights Group led to a High Court directive compelling the IEBC to use both a manual and digital register.

“That the first respondent (IEBC) shall not use the manual register of voters in the general election of Tuesday 9th August 2022, is unconstitutional and the said decision is hereby quashed,” the ruling stated.

The IEBC stated: “The Commission in compliance with the decision in High Court Constitutional Petition … shall now deploy the Printed Register of voters at the polling station where names of voters shall be crossed out after identification of voters using the KIEMS kit.”

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati reiterated that the organisation is ready to deliver a free, fair and credible election with all systems in place.

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