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Kenya: Fears on election date as IEBC faces fresh hurdles

Kenya: Fears on election date as IEBC faces fresh hurdles

Electoral crisis in Kenya

Kenya’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) could have trouble meeting its own deadlines following fears that the technology to be used in the October 17 repeat polls may not be ready.

It has emerged that the technology used to identify voters and transmit results, the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS), will have to be upgraded for the repeat elections to ensure a credible process, reports a local daily The Standard.

The paper further reports that on Friday, IEBC commissioners were holed up in a meeting with suppliers of the kit — Safran Morpho — to discuss the upgrade of KIEMS. Sources at the meeting said the experts from Safran, a French firm, were worried that the reconfigured kits may not be ready on time for the elections which must be held within 60 days from the time the Supreme Court nullified the presidential elections due to illegalities during the tallying of votes.

The IEBC, which then settled on October 17 as the elections date, is now grappling with how to handle the servers so that it does not interfere with information from the August 8 polls, given that the law requires the preservation of electoral materials for purposes of election petitions.

Victor Muisyo

“Safran sent a letter on Thursday saying they will not be able to meet the deadline for reconfiguration and upgrading the system ahead of Election Day,” the source added, saying this had cast doubts on polls being held on October 17.

Safran, according to sources, also has raised concerns about accusations by political players, especially those in NASA, which accused the IT firm of being complicit in the bungling of elections. This is one of the issues that its CEO Anne Bouverot, who jetted into the country on Thursday with a delegation of six officials, came to Nairobi to discuss.

The Safran team was determined that users of the system should get it right this time, otherwise their businesses across the world may suffer from the adverse publicity. “They told us that they don’t want to rush their work and risk a total failure of the system as this will affect their reputation,” the source added.