NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it is determined to deploy electronic technology in future elections, despite the hitches encountered in last month’s polls.
Speaking in public for the first time since announcing the results on March 9, IEBC chairman Issack Hassan said the commission will audit the technology deployed for the General Election, and identify the areas that need a review.
Hassan said that the commission will carry out an evaluation on the failed Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) and the Result Transmission System (RTS) to make them serve better in other elections.
He said: “The commission has learnt valuable lessons from the concluded elections on voter education and managing public expectations and we are now auditing our entire election operations. We believed that the technology we deployed was going to work but there were going to be challenges arising from the fact that we deployed three technologies within one year of the election.
“If in a few months we reopen the voter registration process, we will still use the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits; we have not lost these equipment, same to the poll books and the phones for transmitting results. But even as we do our audit it is not a case of total failure of technology.”
Hassan admitted that some of the technologies deployed had not been sufficiently tested ahead of the election due to the timelines within which some were delivered.
When complete the audit report is expected to be made public and presented to Parliament.
The chairman who spoke at a forum organised by the Kenya Alliance of Residents Associations (KARA) insisted that the commission did not subvert the will of Kenyans asserting the process and the results were credible.
As the returning officer for the presidential elections he reiterated that he was not compromised in any manner by any party during the exercise.
“Overall the election was credible and transparent; we did not hide anything; all the failures were seen by the public. It was supposed to be our finest moment, it became an average hour but that does not mean that the election was a travesty. I have nothing to hide myself; it is unfortunate for someone to say that I was given money when our job was to get results and declare a winner,” he added.
He revealed that there were 49 election petitions in various courts, way lower than the commission’s own projection of 500 petitions.
Hassan however admitted that the voting patterns in the concluded elections had revealed serious ethnic rifts and that there needed serious efforts for cohesion and tolerance.
He has called for support from the public, to enable newly established institutions execute their functions properly.
“As a country we will have to reconcile ourselves with what is happening in the country and the election results because some of the statements I have heard show raw anger and emotion. It is also unfortunate that you (public) don’t want to give the IEBC benefit of doubt,” he added saying that those harshly criticising the IEBC to also consider just what if the commission was right.