The Adoption of Technology in the Kenyan Electoral Process: Lessons from the 2013 and 2017 Presidential Election
32 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 7, 2019
The use of technology in elections is now part of the Kenyan electoral system, supplementing the human element in dealing with quantitative and qualitative aspects of the electoral law. Its adoption was largely informed by the aftermath of the 2007-2008 post-election violence that led to loss of lives, displacement of people and destruction of property. According to the Independent Review Commission (Kriegler Commission) Report, delays in the transmission of presidential results coupled with various electoral malpractices contributed materially to the explosive political climate in Kenya. The Kriegler Commission recommended amongst other major reforms, the need to adopt technology in the election process to provide efficient, transparent, auditable and credible results. Following the recommendations, the government through legal and institutional framework sought to embed technology in the Kenyan electoral process. Since then, technology has been employed in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya referendum, the 2013 and 2017 general elections. This paper seeks to examine the use of technology in the Kenyan electoral process. It focuses on the mechanisms the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) put in place to ensure that the rationale of technology in providing credible and legitimate election was met. The Presidential elections in 2013 and 2017 seek to provide an understanding on the circumstances surrounding technology in the electoral process because it is at the presidential level that the use of technology was more pronounced and raised a number of concerns leading to presidential petitions. This paper concludes that indeed the use of technology is a great step towards enhancing credibility of elections and democracy. However, in the absence of political will, trust amongst electoral stakeholders, credibility and independence of the electoral bodies this may remain futile especially in emerging democracies like Kenya.
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