Technology adjustments could force poll date to be pushed by a week

September 18, 2017 11:22 am
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With 41,883 polling stations across the country, IEBC could require close to 42,000 devices fitted with news cards/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18 – The fresh presidential election slated for October 17 could be pushed forward by a week to allow time for reconfiguration of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) gadgets.

The need to secure data captured in the initial election held on August 8 could according to sources at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) see the polls conducted on either October 24 or 26, depending on how soon new Secure Digital Cards for purposes of the fresh presidential poll, are procured and installed on the KIEMS devices.

With 41,883 polling stations across the country, IEBC could require close to 42,000 devices fitted with news cards.

Additional kits are also expected to be on standby for contingency plans.

In the run-up to the August 8 General Election, a French digital security company, OT-Morpho, supplied a total 45,000 KIEMS kits which were used to register voters during the Mass Voter Registration (MVR) at the beginning of the year, identify voters on the poll day and transmit election results.

IEBC could also be keen on making adjustments to its results management framework based on a full ruling of the Supreme Court which nullified the presidential election on September 1, a ruling expected by the end of the week.

OT-Morpho has also been under fierce attacks by the Opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) who have accused the technology firm of colluding with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party to rig the August poll.

The company however denied the allegation on Friday, its Chief Operating Officer insisting that no one gained unauthorized access to IEBC’s Results Management System (RTS).

“We do not intend to become the scapegoat of the political situation in Kenya,” Frederic Beylier told Bloomberg Politics.

“We do not accept that the reputation of OT-Morpho and its employees is tainted in any way by these allegations. This has to come to an end,” the chief operations officer warned NASA.

In its official response to a letter by NASA authored on September 7 in which the Opposition called for sanctions against OT-Morpho and its officials, the firm said it would not hesitate to institute libel proceedings against NASA and its leaders.

“Following the fake allegations, threats to the company and, in certain cases, to its employees, OT-Morpho is determined to defend itself and its employees and is taking all necessary measures, including libel suits, in order to do so,” the company stated.

“OT-Morpho awaits with confidence the detailed conclusions of the Supreme Court of Kenya,” the technology provider further said exuding confidence that its staff who worked with IEBC in setting up the poll technology will not be found liable for any electoral offences.

Other than election technology IEBC is faced with pressure from political players with NASA having stipulated 12 “irreducible minimums” which would have to be addressed for a credible poll to be seen to have been conducted in sixty days as ordered by the Supreme Court.

Key among NASA demands is the removal of IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba who they blame for mismanaging the August poll.

Ekuru Aukot who served as Secretary to the Committee of Experts that drafted the 2010 Constitution is also entangled in a tag of war with IEBC over his exclusion from the fresh presidential contest.

Aukot who contested in the annulled election under the Thirdway Alliance has maintained that IEBC erred in gazetting Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA’s Raila Odinga as the only candidates for the fresh poll, something he said could only happen under Article 138 (5) of the Constitution.

According to Aukot, the Supreme Court order that a fresh election is to be held in sixty days meant that Article 140 (3) instead was to be invoked in holding the fresh presidential election.

IEBC has however insisted that its decision to have only Kenyatta and Odinga on the ballot was based on a precedent set in the Supreme Court ruling of the 2013 presidential election petition.

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