This piece notes the dynamics from the recent by-elections in Malindi and Kericho in the context of the refusal to address the outstanding corruption matters with the IEBC from the most recent general elections, most notoriously the Smith & Ouzman convictions.
It can be no surprise in context to Kenya watchers to see the Uhuruto administration teargassing opposition protests of Hassan and company at the IEBC this week.
It would seem that we can safely say that the demise of any remedial action associated with the Post Election Violence has now brought to an unsuccessful close the notion of a post-2008 “reform agenda” with the exception of the fact of devolution. De facto implementation of most of the promise of distributed and restrained powers of His Excellency Hon. C.g.h., President and Commander in Chief of the Defense Forces of the Republic of Kenya will await another political epoch. Certainly the IEBC now lacks the credibility the ECK had in 2006-07.
The American Deputy Secretary of State will arrive soon for a “bonfire of the ivories” and regional confab about how to save what’s left of the African elephants from poaching, giving important visibility and associational credibility again to the messaging of the Kenyatta administration. I assume that “we” think this will help the elephants in some fashion even if Kenyatta’s family doesn’t have to explain itself on the issue and corruption in other areas continues to burgeon. Apparently diplomatic manners allow us to memorialize elephants cut down by violence if not so much the PEV victims and witnesses at this juncture.
Those who follow Kenya’s elections will remember that in the 2007 election, the Electoral Commission of Kenya, despite its generous USAID funding, never did publish alleged results at all below the level of the 212 parliamentary constituencies. That in itself was damning evidence of the conclusion of my “War for History” series that all of us involved essentially saw the election being brazenly stolen.
Certainly the Ugandan election process roundly deserves the condemnation it has received, and the Election Commission is unequivocally appointed by the president/general Museveni himself rather than through a process that would create more plausible hopes of independence. Nonetheless, the Ugandan EC has at least surpassed Kenya’s ECK and IEBC in it’s most fundamental of duties by an initial release of results.
The technological revolution in Kenya’s electoral process became abundantly clear as the final numbers came in from Wednesday’s referendum.
Analysts said the digital shift contributed to making the referendum a more transparent affair, with citizens emerging as a vital tool in ensuring the process remained free and fair.
The biggest beneficiary from the transformation is likely to be the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), that effectively received the mandate to fully digitise the elections process.
“We have learned that the use of technology has greatly enhanced the process and sped up the gathering of results,” said Isaak Hassan, IIEC Chairman.
More than 27,000 GPRS-enabled mobile phones were used to send results from polling stations to the main tallying centre at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.
“Using mobile phones, SMS and some software we got results securely checked into a central server, tallied and instantly relayed to the public … this is eGovernance without the usual big budgets and failure that often accompanies ICT projects,” said industry analyst John Walubengo, on an online forum.
In 2007, the ECK elected not to use the technology at the last minute, the votes for president were not reported honestly and chaos ensued. Congratulations to everyone involved in the Independent Interim Electoral Commission for showing how it can be done and delivering an election to be proud of.