Broadband News

Frustrated Over the Failure of Electronic Voting Systems in Kenya

10 March, 2013
 
ICT Africa Writer
March 3, 2013

We have strongly advocated for the use of ICTs in elections in Africa, but the failure of the Kenyan electronic voting system got us frustrated. We had hoped that the country that pioneered mobile money transfer (M-Pesa) was going to successfully pioneer electronic voting for our continent. The systems used in Kenya did not work as expected because of loss of electricity, crashing software, an overloaded SMS network for reporting results, and a glitch that may have disqualified more than a quarter-million votes.

The technology we expected to make the poll more transparent and expedite the reporting of results, resulted in errors that led to the losing candidate, Raila Odinga, crying foul. This is really a setback that we were not hoping for. All this could have been avoided by ensuring that there were adequate electricity backup systems, thorough testing of software before the elections and ensuring that there was adequate capacity to handle increased SMS traffic.

That said and done, the problems with the electronic voting systems in Kenya should be viewed as teething problems that will be resolved in future elections in Kenya and the rest of the continent.


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