Africa, elections, ID management, Kenya, vote

Kenya Elections: Many reasons for worry

The whole sad saga dating to September of last year is here.

Today’s news doesn’t inspire optimism that Kenya can deploy a successful biometric voter registration system (which, without voter verification, is really only half of a biometric election system anyway) by March.

The Biometric Voter Registration Kits are late.

Anxiety is also increasing due to several other factors that are well covered in Fear grows over delays in voter registration at the Kenya Standard.

That fear has grown to the point where public officials are publicly beginning to wonder whether there isn’t some conspiracy afoot that aims to delay elections. Placed against the historical backdrop of Kenya’s electoral experience — only three presidents since 1964, and many hundreds killed following the last presidential elections in 2007 — it’s no wonder Kenyans are starting to worry.

Correctly deployed and well managed biometric voting technology can be extremely helpful in bringing rigor and transparency to electoral systems at a cost that less developed countries can afford. Through careful planning and wise investments in technology, countries can build an affordable and rigorous ID infrastructure that strengthens democracy, which in turn opens the door to other benefits.

The systems themselves are technically complex but there are plenty of organizations like SecurLinx that can supply the technical expertise to implement them. The technical complexities, however, make up only a fraction of the overall bureaucratic load of running a decent election.

The logistical and human resources challenges are far larger and more expensive to address than the technical challenges of biometric systems.

Like we always say… Biometrics & ID management: it’s about people.

UPDATE: 
Kenya: Justice Minister Eugene Says Treasury Was Poll ‘Saboteur’ (All Africa)

Yesterday Prime Minister Raila Odinga chaired a crisis meeting at his office to resolve the delay in the procurement of the Biometric Voter Registration kits with the IEBC top officials, Finance minister Njeru Githae, Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa, Lands minister James Orengo and Treasury PS Joseph Kinyua among others.

However President Kibaki missed the meeting for a second time. On Tuesday Wamalwa accused “some people” of attempting to sabotage preparations for the polls.

“There was an anxiety and finger pointing that had started creeping in. The culprits I had in mind were actually the Treasury,” said Wamalwa who had promised to name the saboteurs.

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