Saturday, March 30, 2013

Technology, transparency, and the Kenyan general election of 2013

It was a historic moment for the nation, the African continent and the world when the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced on March 9 that Uhuru Kenyatta, son of independence leader and first Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, had been elected the fourth president of Kenya.

Yet, today, almost three weeks later, the Kenyan presidential race is far from over. Raila Odinga, Kenyatta's main political opponent, has challenged this result in front of Kenya's Supreme Court. Odinga wants the court to nullify IEBC's declaration of Kenyatta as president-elect. He also seeks to persuade the court that the whole electoral process leading to that declaration was null and void and that a fresh poll should be held. A core component of Odinga's argument is that the technology failed on election day.

Global observers such as the European Commission noted [PDF] that "the overall conduct of operations was good and that the recorded results reflected the will of the voters", despite the fact that the electronic technology largely failed. Indeed, Kenya has made great strides in increasing transparency, trust in the electoral process and strengthening the nation's democratic institutions. It is correct to note that in the 2013 Kenyan general election, the information technology failed, because of lack of preparation, and poor testing. The country's political technology - the institutions and the processes - were nonetheless largely successful. Importantly, since the final and official vote tally is manual, the process is much more important than the equipment.

Although Kenya has held elections for decades and multi-party elections since 1992, only two of those elections (2002 and 2013) have been conducted in a free and fair manner. The 2007 election between sitting President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga went terribly wrong. A near tie in ballots led to politically sponsored violence bought and paid for by candidates in both camps, resulting in over 1,400 Kenyans dead, and hundreds of thousands displaced. The road back to recovery was difficult, as the country tried to reconcile ethnic tensions and strengthen institutions to prevent this horrific scenario from reoccurring. The pressure was on for the Kenyan 2013 general elections to be both fair and peaceful.

Kenya court hears petitions against vote results

Facilitating voting through technology

After the chaos of the 2007 elections, the Kenyan government used a higher level of technology in the 2010 Constitutional Referendum and various by-elections to enhance the credibility of results. The plan was that the 2013 elections would represent a technological apex for voting. The vision was to use technology for two key aspects of the voting process.

The first application of technology in the 2013 elections aimed to guarantee the integrity of the voter register through the use of a Biometric Voter Registration system that was acquired at a cost of 95 million USD. The voter registration exercise was conducted over 30 days towards the end of 2012 and was lauded as a success with over 14 million voters registered. This voter register was made available at each polling station in two forms, a biometric Electronic Voter Identification device (EVID or Poll Book) and a printed copy. Both of these methods served the same purpose, to authenticate the identity of each voter before they vote.

The second application of technology was to provide an electronic method of transmitting provisional results (votes counted and verified by party agents at polling stations). This was to facilitate rapid announcement of the provisional vote count with results being physically delivered to the National Tallying centre for the official, final tally. The IEBC received technical assistance from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) under a USAID-funded programme.

Mid-election, technical irregularities began. Nationally, there was widespread failure of the EVID Poll Books due to battery discharge and lack of electricity in polling stations. Many of the cell phones meant to transmit provisional results to the tallying centres also did not work due to forgotten passwords, low battery and data connection problems. Finally, computer servers at the national tallying centre collapsed. The IEBC was forced to suspend the announcement of provisional results and await submission in person of official results using the manual forms (form 36) submitted by constituency returning officers.

Two things stand out here: the IEBC's late procurement of both services and equipment related to the election, and the fact that all technology should have been tested and debugged far in advance of the election. The failures that occurred were both foreseeable and preventable. Of note was the failure to plan for backup power. Electricity fails routinely in Nairobi, and is often absent in rural areas altogether. In addition, the cell phones and biometric scanners were not procured until approximately one month before the election, and were most likely not tested sufficiently for either load or other stresses. Professor Makau Mutua asks whether the collapse of the computer systems during vote tallying was due to incompetence, technological illiteracy, or lack of adequate preparation. The most likely answer is a lack of adequate preparation, combined with a failure to follow good advice.

Reforming the system

Despite the massive technological failures, it can be argued that their main impact was a significant delay in reporting the results, not the integrity of the election itself. Importantly, the physical count of votes was the final and official record of the election. The manual voter register worked well to identify voters at the polling station level. No vote count was finalised at the polling station level without agreement of the presiding officer and political party agents. This process was repeated again as all presiding officers reported their numbers to the reporting officer in full view of political party agents and observers at the constituency level. All marked and unused ballots were locked into the transparent tally boxes with final numbers. Those boxes were tracked from polling station level to the constituency level, and eventually flown to Bomas to ensure that the final vote was correct. The idea that manual ballots trump electronic systems is widely accepted internationally. A symposium on Voting, Vote Capture, and Vote Counting [PDF] was held at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in June 2004 in the wake of the counting failures in the Bush vs Gore presidential race in the US. At that event, scholars indicated that best practices for a secure voting system include a hybrid system that includes paper for audit and an electronic system for speed and flexibility. Ironically, their study noted that digital systems can actually produce more complex failure modes and concluded that paper ballots, carefully tracked through a custody chain, remain necessary to ensure accurate voting outcomes. The Kenyan election of 2013 illustrates those conclusions well.

The Kenyan election of 2013 can teach scholars, and observers of democratisation numerous lessons. First, a completely successful election in Kenya as well as other parts of Africa depends on large part on processes with high levels of transparency, consensus, and a careful chain of custody of votes. Second, technology must be carefully tested far in advance of elections, and care should be taken to identify weaknesses. Third, governments and civil society can work together to create independent institutions with clear rules, and well-trained voting officials. Finally, the 2010 Kenyan Constitution has helped to create institutions and laid out rules to promote democracy, which has already led to improved electoral outcomes.

Since the passage of Kenya's Constitution in 2010, many of Kenya's democratic institutions have been strengthened. The judiciary has improved, and civil society and international observers such as the Carter Center were invited to observe the 2013 elections. In essence, although we have seen a failure in information technology, we have seen a huge improvement in Kenya's democratic capacity. Techne - the root of the word technology - means craft or art. As used by the ancient Greeks, techne meant the knowledge required to get the job done. To the extent that Kenyan institutions have developed the knowledge needed to run a successful election, they are, themselves, a form of political technology.

The last test of this election lies in the hands of the Kenyan Supreme Court. Domestic and international observers will be looking to see if the Supreme Court can make a decision that enhances citizens' trust in both the electoral process and the nation's institutions. The decision by the Kenyan Supreme Court to re-tally of results from 22 polling stations is an important step towards building this trust. Finally, for this election to truly be a success, the world will be watching to see how the Kenyan citizenry, media, and political process handle the court's final judgment - regardless of who becomes Kenya's president.

Dr Warigia Bowman holds a doctorate in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy. She has taught in Kenya at Kabarak University, and at the American University in Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas. Her research focuses on the intersection of information technology and democracy in East Africa and North Africa. She was an accredited elections observer during the 2013 Kenyan election.

Brian Munyao Longwe is a Kenyan technology professional with over 20 years experience. He has been at the forefront of the development of critical internet infrastructure on the African continent, including the establishment of AfriNIC, KeNIC, and Internet Exchange Points in Kenya, Uganda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique as well as Thailand, Singapore and Nepal. He is currently an independent consultant and spends most of his time developing and promoting linkages between the technology community, government and the nascent startup ecosystem.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.


Al Jazeera


Monday, March 25, 2013

Raila Odinga appeal: Kenya court orders partial vote re-tally

Kenya's Supreme Court has ordered the re-tallying of votes cast at 22 polling stations - out of 33,000 - in the 4 March presidential election.

The court said its agents would check whether the number of votes was higher than the number of registered voters.

Defeated candidate Raila Odinga says the result was manipulated to give Uhuru Kenyatta victory - a charge election officials deny.

Mr Kenyatta passed the 50% mark for outright victory by about 4,100 votes.

The BBC's Frenny Jowi in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, says while only 22 polling stations are affected, the ruling is significant because of the narrow margin by which Mr Kenyatta avoided a run-off.

He won by 50.07% to Mr Odinga's 43.31%.

Under Kenyan law, the court has until Saturday to decide whether or not to confirm Mr Kenyatta's victory.

Mr Kenyatta - the son of Kenya's founding leader Jomo Kenyatta - is due to stand trial at the at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in July on charges of crimes against humanity, following claims that he orchestrated violence after the last election in 2007.

He denies the allegation, and his lawyers have asked judges to throw out the case.

Mr Odinga's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) says his votes were "tampered with and reduced", while the number of ballots cast for Mr Kenyatta was inflated.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said the court would be impartial in its verdict.

"You must trust us to do our jobs," he said.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it is confident that the final result was credible.

The court also ordered the IEBC to provide the voter registration list it used when tallying the presidential vote after an electronic system used to count votes broke down, causing massive delays and confusion, AFP news agency reports.

The election was largely peaceful, unlike in 2007-08 when some 1,000 people were killed after the results were announced.

Mr Odinga also lost that election, claiming it had been rigged in favour of outgoing President Mwai Kibaki.

The violence ended after he and Mr Kibaki agreed to form a coalition government.

Mr Odinga was appointed prime minister and Mr Kenyatta, who backed Mr Kibaki, the deputy prime minister.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Egypt: Interim Leader Sets Timetable to Fresh Elections

The military-backed interim leader of Egypt Adly Mansour on late Monday set out a six-month timetable for revising the country’s constitution and holding fresh elections amid continuing unrest in the country. Mr. Adly Mansour's roadmap will see changes made to the Islamist-drafted constitution and a referendum, which would pave way for elections early next year. According to the roadmap, a panel to amend the constitution would be formed within 15 days. Changes made to the constitution would then be subject to referendum within four months of the panel’s work which will lead to parliamentary elections and then a presidential election will be held once the new parliament is assembled. Egypt has been in a state of turmoil since its first freely elected leader Mr Morsi, an Islamist was removed from office by the army last week after mass protests. AEP Get the latest news and updates on elections in Africa by following us on twitter @africanelections and like our facebook page

KENYA ELECTIONS 2013: Supreme Court upholds Uhuru's election as president

The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya's fourth president according to NATION Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said Mr Kenyatta and William Ruto were validly elected as President and Deputy President respectively. The judgement paves way for the swearing in ceremony of Mr Kenyatta set for April 9 at the Kasarani Gymnasium in Nairobi. The Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia said the government will gazette Tuesday, April 9 as a public holiday when Mr Kenyatta will be sworn in as president. "The rehearsals will begin on Monday. We have adopted the programme we had earlier on,” said Mr Kimemia Saturday. Martha Karua, who was a presidential candidate in the March 4 General Election, lauded the Supreme Court's decision. "It is great that the first and most contested decision of the Supreme Court was unanimous. It is a good start for the court," she said.

Monday, March 11, 2013


THE ELECTORAL AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION ACT (No.9 of 2011) THE ELECTIONS ACT (No. 24 of 2011) THE ELECTIONS (GENERAL) REGULATIONS (L.N. 128 of 2012) DECLARATION OF PERSONS ELECTED PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY PRESIDENT IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by Section 2(1) (a), (b), (c) and 9 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of Kenya, Article 88(4), 136, 138 -(4), and (10) and 148 (3) of the Constitution, Section 4 of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act, 2011, Section 39 of the Elections Act, 2011, Regulation 87 (4) (a) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012 , the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declare that:- a) In respect to Article 136 (1) of the Constitution: UHURU KENYATTA and b) In respect to 148(3) of the Constitution: WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO have been duly elected as President and Deputy President, respectively, of the Republic of Kenya having complied with the provisions of Article 138(4) of the Constitution, during the election for President held on 4th March, 2013. Dated the 9th March, 2013. Ahmed Issack Hassan, EBS Chairperson Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Minister for Africa comments on Kenyan election results

Commenting on the announcement of results in the Kenyan elections, Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, said:
"I congratulate the Kenyan people for the peaceful and determined spirit in which Monday's elections were conducted. Kenyans have expressed their sovereign will, and I congratulate all the candidates who have been successful. This is a historic moment for Kenya, when the Kenyan people have come together at the ballot box to achieve the promise of the new constitution and choose their future leaders.
"I urge all sides to show patience and restraint, to accept defeat or take any disputes to the courts. I am confident that any disputes will be dealt with by the courts swiftly and fairly. I appeal to all parties to maintain the same peaceful and democratic spirit that we have witnessed so far.
"The UK greatly values its deep and historic partnership with Kenya, and will continue to work in support of stability, security, development and prosperity."

Kenya Elections 2013 : Victory Speech by President- Elect of the Republic of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta

Victory Speech by President- Elect of the Republic of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta 09.03.2013

My fellow Kenyans, thank you.

Thank you for all your patience and your support along the way

Asanteni Sana.

I thank God for sustaining us and for bringing us this far.

I thank all those who have remained vigilant in prayer for our nation during this time.

I want to thank the people of the republic of Kenya who have shown patience over the last few days as we all awaited the outcome of this election.

I thank the thousands of officials who worked with the IEBC to make this, the most free and most fair general election in our nation's history.

Despite the challenges that you faced, you managed to keep the trust of Kenyans and to do your job professionally.

While we look forward to a day when electoral results are relayed in real-time to curb anxiety, we acknowledge that every process can be refined and I pledge to give you my support as you seek more efficient ways to conduct future elections.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank the police and all security agencies for their diligence and commitment to ensuring security.

I would especially like to acknowledge the police officers who lost their lives on the eve of the elections. They made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives,in the name of democracy.

To their families, I offer my sincere condolences for your loss and I assure you that I, and the people of Kenya are standing with you in prayer.

The incidents that took the lives of our officers are a reminder that security remains one of the biggest challenges in our nation. It is unacceptable to see such violent and unnecessary loss of life. As we move forward, I pledge to meet all threats to our national security with the full force of Kenya's resources and with utmost urgency.

To the Kenyan media - you have shown remarkable responsibility as this country's fourth estate. You have shown sensitivity in the dissemination of news and impartiality in your treatment of the results. You have no doubt helped to keep the country calm.

We are grateful for this, and we will continue to consider you our true partners as we embark on our journey.

To the presidential candidates – I salute you all.

You have contributed to ensuring a robust democratic process.

I in particular want to single out my brother, Raila Odinga, for his spirited campaign.

I know that all the candidates have made tremendous personal sacrifices for the progress of our country and today, I welcome them to join us in moving our nation forward.

My fellow Kenyans today, we celebrate the triumph of democracy; the triumph of peace; the triumph of nationhood.

Despite the misgivings of many in the world- we demonstrated a level of political maturity that surpassed expectations.

We dutifully turned out; we voted in peace; we upheld order and respect for the rule of law and we maintained the fabric of our society.

That is the real victory today. A victory for our nation. A victory that demonstrates to all that Kenya has finally come of age. That this, indeed, is Kenya's moment.

I am honored and humbled that in a free and fair election- you, the people of Kenya, have placed your trust in me- to lead our nation as your next President.

I am here because of you.

I am here because of the unyielding support of millions of Kenyans, from all walks of life, from every corner of our nation, who sacrificed their time, energy and resources to make this campaign a success.

Thousands of you volunteered through Team Uhuru. Hundreds of you mobilized through grassroots organizations. Hundreds of you campaigned through your university associations and millions of Kenyans across the nation engaged us through our various online platforms.

Throughout this process you, the people, have remained unwavering in your belief not only in me - but in the possibility of a stronger, more prosperous Kenya.

A Kenya that has room for all our hopes and aspirations.

Last but not least, I am here because of my family:

My wife, Margaret; our children and all the members of my family.

However, this is has never been about me, this has been about you- about the people of Kenya. You have put your faith not in one man , but in a team.

In our Deputy President – Elect: Hon William Ruto. A man with a proven trackrecord, who has demonstrated to all of us, his ability to both speak and act with un-matched zeal and energy.

You put your trust in my sister, Charity Ngilu and my brother, Najib Balala both of whom have remained committed to serving the people and putting our nation first.

You put your trust inTNA, URP and the wider Jubilee family.

And because you gave us this trust, I am proud to say that the majority of women who were elected to parliament come from the Jubilee Coalition – a fact that demonstrates this teams commitment to supporting women and to supporting the full implementation of all the provisions within our constitution.

I want to say to all the Jubilee aspirants- those who won, and especially, those who did not – you have done your parties, and this coalition- proud.Your dedication, to the ideals that the Jubilee Coalition represents has been an inspiration to me. We came together as a team, and we will continue to work together as a team- for the good of all the people of Kenya.

However , today is about more than one Coalition or Party.

It is about all Kenyans: those of you who voted Jubilee and those who did not.

My fellow Kenyans, My pledge to you is that as your President, I will work on behalf of all citizens regardless of political affiliation.

I will honor the will of Kenyans and ensure that my Government protects their rights and acts without fear or favor; in the interests of our nation.

To all those who won various seats –regardless of what party or coalition you may belong to - let us remember that we are , first and foremost, Kenyans, and that the people have bestowed upon us the responsibility to work for them.

I extend a hand of friendship and cooperation to you so that together, we can truly serve the Kenyan people.

In the nearly 5 decades since independence, we have made great strides as a nation.

Kenya has experienced huge success but there have also been enduring problems.

In the last 10 years, under the Presidency of Mwai Kibaki we have begun to overcome many of our national challenges.

We are indebted to his leadership and grateful for the services he has rendered to our country.

As I assume office, my task, and the task before us all is to secure the gains we have made while focusing on solving the challenges that remain.

My fellow Kenyans, the elections are now over.

Today, in itself, is not an end ; it is a beginning and there is much work to be done.

That work begins with all of us taking personal responsibility for the future of our country- the inheritance of our children.

For those who are celebrating let us be modest in victory. To those who voted for any of my opponents - let us keep in mind the broader victory of Kenya, and continue to uphold peace. Let us remember that while, in a democracy, some contestants must, inevitably, lose - the citizens of a country never do. In this election, every vote mattered and from this moment, every voice that contributes to the national dialogue- will be heard.

Fellow Kenyans, our duty now is to return to our lives. To return to our jobs, our businesses; our farms – and continue making the daily decisions that will transform Kenya.

I promise to do my part, but I need every Kenyan to play their part as well.

To our brothers and sisters in the region and in Africa as a whole we appreciate your support and encouragement before, during and after the elections. This is the true spirit of Africa. We look forward to playing our rightful role in the region and in the continent. The African star is shining brightly and the destiny of Africa is in our hands.

To the nations of the world I give you my assurances that I and my team understand that Kenya is part of the community of nations and while as leaders we are, first and foremost, servants of the Kenyan people, we recognize and accept our international obligations and we will continue to co-operate with all nations and international institutions– in line with those obligations.

However we also expect that the international community will respect our sovereignty and the democratic will of the people of Kenya.

Indeed it is the desire of the people of Kenya to be a nation that is at peace with itself, at peace with her neighbors, at peace with our continent and at peace with the world at large.

We will pursue this ideal - upholding the values enshrined in our constitution and continuing in the spirit embodied in the words of our national anthem

Oh God of all creation

Bless this our land and nation

Justice be our shield and defender

May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty.

Plenty be found within our borders.

Thank you,

God bless you And God bless the Republic of Kenya.

USA Govt on Kenya Elections 2013 Results

On behalf of the United States of America, I want to congratulate the people of Kenya for voting peacefully on March 4 and all those elected to office. Across the country, Kenyans turned out by the millions to exercise their most fundamental democratic right. I am inspired by the overwhelming desire of Kenyans to peacefully make their voices heard, and I applaud the patience they have shown as votes were tallied.

Foremost in our minds is a desire to see the will of the Kenyan people expressed freely and fairly. We strongly urge all parties and their supporters to peacefully address any disputes with today's announcement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission through the Kenyan legal system, rather than on the streets. These elections are an historic opportunity for the people of Kenya to come together to build a better future. Since its independence in 1963, Kenya has been one of America's strongest and most enduring partners in Africa. We stand with you at this historic moment and will continue to be a strong friend and ally of the Kenyan people.

Kenya Elections 2013 : IEBC declares Uhuru Kenya's fourth president

Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared the duly elected President of Kenya by the electoral commission.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Isaack Hassan made the announcement at the Bomas of Kenya Saturday.

He said Mr Kenyatta had fulfilled the constitutional requirements after garnering 6,173,433 votes, representing 50.07 per cent of the total votes cast and getting 25 per cent in 32 of Kenya's 47 Counties.

Mr Hassan presented the certificate of presidential results to Mr Kenyatta to wild cheers from his supporters.

He was accompanied by vice president elect William Ruto and his wife Margaret Kenyatta, who is the First Lady designate reports NATION.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Kenya Elections 2013 : NGO in court to block vote tally

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – A civil society group has moved to the High Court seeking to stop the tallying of presidential ballots by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The African Centre for Open Governance is asking the High Court to order IEBC to start the tallying and verification of the presidential ballots afresh.

The lobby is also demanding unhindered access to political party agents and accredited observers to witness and participate in tallying and verification of the presidential ballots.

The organisation claims that the tallying process is not credible and requires urgent court intervention.

"The respondents (Issack Hassan and IEBC) are threatening the very foundation of democracy as there are many identified irregularities that will undermine the integrity of the results including tallying of non-verified presidential ballots yet there is uncontroverted evidence of many constituencies having a turnout of more than registered voters," lawyer Haron Ndubi said in the petition filed at the High Court.

"The fear of a repeat of 2008 reaction to doctoring of ballots is imminent hence the urgent need to the intervention of this court."

At the time the case was being heard before a three-judge bench led by Justice Isaac Lenaola, Uhuru Kenyatta was leading with 4,835,482 votes against Raila Odinga's 4,316,005 votes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Leader of Vote Count in Kenya Faces U.S. With Tough Choices

He has been charged with heinous crimes, accused of using a vast fortune to bankroll death squads that slaughtered women and children. His running mate also faces crimes against humanity charges, and as Kenya's election drew closer, the Obama administration's top official for Africa issued a thinly veiled warning during a conference call about the vote, saying that Kenyans are, of course, free to pick their own leaders but that "choices have consequences according to NYTimes. 

Computer bug behind the many spoilt votes

A bug which multiplied spoilt ballots was responsible for the high number of spoilt votes reported through the electronic tallying system.

The chairman of Kenya's electoral commission, Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan has attributed the reduction of rejected votes in the on-going tallying process to a bug in the commission's database.

Addressing a news conference at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi last evening, Mr Hassan said the software bug in the system developed in-house by the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission kept on multiplying the rejected votes by a factor of eight.

He said, the error was as a result of a programming conflict between the IEBC server and the database.

"There was an error in the way the programme was written… For any rejected vote for any candidate, they were being multiplied by eight," said the IEBC chairman.

As at 6.30pm, the IEBC had counted 6,031,500 votes, and the tally of rejected votes was 58,409.

When the results were being transmitted electronically from the polling stations, the database had recorded 338,592 rejected votes out of a total of 5,653,852 votes cast.

The high number of rejected votes — which kept rising as the counting went on — had made political parties jittery about what their impact would have on the final tally of votes, given that for one to be declared a president, they must have more than half of all the votes cast in an election, and at least 25 per cent in more than half of the countries 47 counties.

132 constituencies

By press time, official results had been announced from 132 constituencies. Jubilee's Uhuru Kenyatta was in the lead with 3,134,654 votes; Mr Raila Odinga of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy had 2,563,286; Musalia Mudavadi had 174,348; Peter Kenneth 34,409; Martha Karua 19,945; James ole Kiyiapi 19,365; Mohammed Dida 16,536; Paul Muite 6,705.

The electoral commission promised to carry out an audit on the large number of rejected votes.

This had been attributed to an uneducated electorate that was voting for six elective positions, with numerous candidates.

Egypt cancels parliamentary vote dates after court ruling

(Reuters) - Egypt's election committee has scrapped a timetable under which voting for the lower house of parliament should have begun next month, state media reported on Thursday, following a court ruling that threw the entire polling process into confusion.

Egypt now lies in limbo, with no election dates at a time when uncertainty is taking a heavy toll on the economy - the Egyptian pound is falling, foreign currency reserves are sliding and the budget deficit is soaring to an unmanageable level.

The political crisis deepened on Wednesday when the Administrative Court canceled a decree issued by President Mohamed Mursi calling the election.

It also returned the electoral law, the subject of feuding between the opposition and Mursi's ruling Islamists, to the Constitutional Court for review.

State news agency MENA said the elections committee had issued its decision to scrap the voting schedule after "the committee saw the details and reasons for the ruling by the Administrative Court announced on Wednesday".

Egypt's turbulent transition to democracy after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak two years ago has been marked by a number of disputes between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and the judiciary.

Last year Mursi temporarily gave himself sweeping powers and barred the courts from challenging his decisions, a move which provoked waves of violent protests. However, Mursi promised to respect Wednesday's ruling.

The four rounds of voting had been due to start on April 22 and last until late June. The old lower house was itself dissolved after a court ruled against a previous version of the electoral law used to elect it.

Chaos in the electoral process means that Egypt is unlikely to secure a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to shore up the government's finances, at least until some kind of order is restored.

Analysts say the IMF is likely to demand support from across the political spectrum for painful economic reforms, but that consensus is non-existent.

The liberal and leftist opposition has said the election should not be held at a time of national crisis and most parties had already announced a boycott.

As well as the economic malaise, Mursi's government is also struggling with serious security problems and one protester was shot dead on Thursday in a fifth day of clashes between police and demonstrators in Port Said.

Violence has afflicted the Suez Canal city since January over death sentences handed down to local people for their role in a soccer riot last year when more than 70 people died. A court hearing on Saturday is expected to confirm the death sentences given to 21 prisoners.

Cord wants vote count stopped;

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) has demanded a stop to the vote tallying saying its integrity is "in question".

Kalonzo Msuyoka, who is the running mate of Raila Odinga, said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should take the blame for the flawed vote count.

"We as a coalition take the position that the national vote tallying process lacks integrity and has to be stopped and restarted using primary documents from the polling stations," said Mr Musyoka.

He, however, told supporters to remain calm.

"This is not a call to mass action."

Mr Musyoka said Cord is considering its options including moving to court to get an injunction to stop the process.

He claimed that in some cases, the total votes cast "exceeds the number of registered voters". Mr Musyoka claimed this was the case in Bureti, Kajiado south, Runyenjes, Wajir North and Kathiani constituencies.

However, IEBC figures painted a different picture. For instance, in Kajiado South, the registered voters are 46,388. The total number of votes cast are 42,276. The registered voter figure is, however, not updated on the IEBC's website and stands at 41,040.

In Runyenjes, the total votes cast are 58,395 while the number of registered voters stands at 66,410. The

registered voter figure on the IEBC website is 66,261

With votes from 108 out of 291 constituencies counted, Uhuru Kenyatta has 2,475,700 against Mr Odinga's 1,928,627.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tech hitches cause anxiety in Kenyan general elections

Mobile digital transmission of results hit with delays;
Kenya entered the second day of vote counting Wednesday as network connectivity, data transmission and server configuration issues hindered the final result announcement, causing anxiety.
Voting started on Monday and results were expected to be electronically relayed from polling stations by Tuesday night, the final results were expected to be announced. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had put in place an elaborate system that would ensure that presiding officers in 33,000 polling stations would be able to send information via mobile phones to the IEBC national tallying center and at the same time, make the data available to media houses and developers via an API provided by Google according to CFO WORLD

Kenyatta takes initial lead as Kenyans await results;

Kenya's presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta held an initial lead in the tensely contest general elections as Kenyans awaits the results, which, according to Kenya's electoral body, are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

By 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the 51-year Kenyatta had 53 percent of the votes cast compared 42 percent of his close rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Cord Coalition. About 42 percent of the votes cast have been counted.

The Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Isaack Hassan told journalists on Tuesday night that the Returning Officers would be required to report to the national tallying center in Nairobi with all the results, for presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial, Members of Parliament, women representatives and county assembly representatives, which would then be announced to the nation.

"However, the Commission acknowledges that results for the presidential election are the most eagerly awaited. Although they are being transmitted live on our screens, there is growing concern over the slow pace at which they are being relayed," he said.

"Indeed, the Commission is aware of this delay and that it is giving rise to different speculations. At this time, the issue that all Kenyans are most interested in is the transmission and tallying of results with high expectations of knowing of who has won what position," he said.

For an outright victory in the first round, a candidate must garner at least 50 percent plus one of all votes cast, in addition to getting at least 25 percent of the votes in 24 counties out of 47.

If there is no outright winner in the first round, the top two candidates will proceed into a run-off, where the candidate who obtains more votes becomes president.

Hassan said the electoral body has been in continuous consultation with the national presidential chief agents and ICT experts from both IEBC and the political parties to share the technical challenges of the transmission system.

"The Commission is, therefore, working to sort out the server issue. We can confirm that our returning officers are expected to bring the physical results anytime now, which will lead to the final results," he said.

"What matters here is the final results and they are coming in. As per the Constitution and as explained this (Tuesday) morning, the screens will be adjusted to reflect the percentage of votes for each candidate based on total votes cast," he said.

The IEBC faced some technical hitches in the electronic transmission of the results with sources attributing them to system malfunctions.

Meanwhile, the IEBC chairman also said the commission will conduct an audit on the huge number of rejected votes in the general elections which could for a run-off.

Hassan said more than 284,000 had been rejected largely due to misplacement of ballot papers in polling boxes.

"We are concerned with the large number of spoilt ballot papers. We will have a clear count of the number of rejected ballots at end of exercise," he said, adding that preliminary investigations pointed to the many ballot papers and boxes whose colors and voters did not match.

"The spoilt votes are basically votes cast which are now rejected. They are either wrongly marked or wrong placement. There are incidents where voters cast ballots in wrong boxes," he said.

The rejected votes, according to Hassan, cut across the six ballot papers cast by voters during the election.

"We are not sure whether the large number of ballot papers and the six ballot boxes provided contributed to the large number of rejected ballots. We will conduct an audit on the same to ascertain the reasons," he said.

The March elections were the first under Kenya's new constitution which was promulgated in 2010 and which has resulted in creation of several institutional changes in a bid to decentralize government services.

Kenyans went to the polls to elect the president, members of the newly created Senate, Parliament, governors for 47 county governments, members of the regional Parliaments and representatives of youth and women.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kenya Elections 2013 : ELOG’s live-updating PVT observer reporting

The Elections Observation Group, Kenya ELOG’s live-updating Parallel Vote Tabulation(PVT) observer reporting of Kenya's 4th March 2013 Elections

Kenya Decides - The Kenya Election, Mobiles, and Interactive Media

The polling stations are slowly closing in Kenya in a so-far largely peaceful day. This is a critical election in one of the most technically-advanced countries in sub-Saharan Africa with many monitoring efforts underway as #kenyadecides (to use the Twitter hashtag of choice). While many predict that is going to be a run-off election, we wanted to give a 'rundown' of all the cool tech used that we are watching:

1. The IEBC, the Kenyan Election Commission, put up (with some help from Google) an interactive map and SMS service for people to find their voter registration stations, registration status, and polling station on election day. It also includes a candidate finder. While the map has some usability issues, it's become a very useful resource for citizens that only can be improved upon.  It's a model for other independent election commissions that is commendable. IEBC's Facebook Page is also worth watching. Incidentally, by all accounts, the IEBC so far has done a great job providing security and ballots; it's also been very responsive to incident reports from both systematic election monitoring organizations and citizen reporting efforts.  No small feat given the enormous voter turnout. 

Most interestingly, IEBC promises to report election results in close-to real time using its API. UPDATE: The API from the IEBCwith real-time election results data as the vote is counted is working fabulously and media houses in Kenya are pulling the data and transmitting it live on television. Unprecedented for Kenya. 

2. Google, as is has in many other countries, has put up an Election Portal that aggregates news, citizen reports (edited by Storyful) and lots of Hangouts. The Portal also includes extensive candidate information. We would have liked some information there from and about the civil society organizations monitoring the election here.  But the Google doodle the morning of the election on the Kenya Google home page was a nice touch.

3. ELOG (NDI's partner), the domestic election monitoring organization, has trained, during many months of hard work, 7240 citizen observers who are stationed at a randomly selected number of polling stations for the entire day, reporting back via SMS on the conduct and the results of the election. Because the number of polling stations is a representative sample and the reports are structured replies to a questionnaire, the incoming results that get parsed by a database are highly accurate. Observers report throughout the day and there is constant two-way communication between a central data center and the observes in the field to confirm and verify reports.

For instance, ELOG's observers reported statistically significant data on the opening of election day which showed that at only 59.7% of polling stations opened on time, but that there was security present at 99.6% of polling stations. ELOG's website, Facebook page and Twitter are good resources to follow as well for this kind of election data.

ELOG will be reporting until well into the night as polling stations are slowly closing and is promising more maps and infographics.

4. Uchaguzi, a project of the citizen-reporting organization Ushahidi, launched an ambitious and very interesting hate-speech monitoring effort in the pre-election period and issued regular reports in the advent of the election. This was a fascinating project that we watched closely to see how to integrate better social media monitoring into our work.  Ushahidi is also running a more traditional citizen-reporting effort with anyone being able to report information about the election. Interestingly, unlike in many of the instances of the platform where there is no feedback loop or action after a report is submitted but a citizen, Uchaguzi installed (as it did in a few other elections where the organization was directly involved) a ">situation room to verify critical incidents and escalate them to election authorities (though at the time of this writing the situaltion room link is down). As usual, the team at Ushahidi is doing a great job innovating in the citizen reporting space. We continue to be impressed.

5. There are lots and lots of candidate finder sites for the Kenya election. The one that seemed to have gotten the most attention isWenyenchi that also has a mobile site (quite beta, though) and an Android app.  We have not fully tested it but it provides a good overview of candidates and an electoral boundary-finder (though when we played with it it was a bit buggy).

Al Jazeera English has a great interactive dashboard with candidate information, boundaries, it's interactive SMS 'Speak' platform that allows citizen voices to be heard, and interactive poll data. We are big fans of Al Jazeera English's interactive and social media innovations.

6. There are many other efforts that aggregate social media on #kenyadecides. We just looked at Crowdvoice's election-related aggregation which, while not quite complete (we wonder how the pictures andvideos that show up are chosen?) nonetheless an interesting platform.

We are sure we missed lots of innovative efforts here, though!  Leave us a comment or tweet us at @nditech and we'll add more projects as we hear about them. Good luck with the vote, Kenya!

Kenyan journalists offered support hotline during election

Journalists threatened with violence or intimidation while covering Kenya's presidential election on Monday will be able to report the abuse to a distress hotline, in an effort to prevent the hostilities that marred the 2007 poll. All journalists with Kenyan election accreditation will be given the support line number, established by the Media Council of Kenya with funding from the Rory Peck Trust.

Tina Carr, director of the Rory Peck Trust, said the hotline would offer urgent assistance – including evacuation or medical attention – to journalists in danger.

Early reports suggest a handful of local journalists have been attacked or faced intimidation while covering politics in Kenya since February. In the disputed 2007 election, independent journalists were targeted by both police and members of the public amid widespread ethnic violence in which more than 1,200 people were killed.

Victor Bwire, deputy chief executive and programmes manager the Media Council of Kenya, said: "This partnership to support Kenya's independent journalists at such a critical time, is our acknowledgement of the important role that they play in the reporting of elections in Kenya, and our concern for the safety of those who do the reporting."

Carr said the hotline was vital to journalists in Kenya, many of whom are freelance and operate without the support of major media organisations.

The hotline is being administered by Bwire and Tom Rhodes, East Africa consultant of the Committee to Protect Journalists, as well as a network of regional journalist organisations.

At least 15 people were reportedly killed on Monday as small pockets of violence broke out before the start of voting at 6am local time (3am GMT). As in 2007, the presidential race has come down to two candidates, this time between prime minister Raila Odinga and deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Media Council of Kenya reported on Saturday that a correspondent for the Star newspaper in Homa Bay, on the north coast of Kenya, was attacked and detained by General Service Unit officers after covering a fracas between two rival political groups.


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Kenya Election Update: Voting Progresses despite Biometric Hitches

Voting commenced smoothly this morning in Kenya until it was marred with hitches in BVR kits across some polling centers especially in Kibera and Mathare compelling IEBC to shift to the manual system.

Meanwhile, the electoral commission chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan,has ordered repeat polls in five of the 1,450 wards in Nyabasi West and Goke Haraka Wards in Kuria East and Bunyala South, Gwasi North and Samburu North Wards due to irreparable errors on the ballot papers.

"We have been forced to call off elections in these areas because of mix up in the ballot papers. In some cases we have missing names of candidates while in other cases names have been interchanged," Mr. Hassan revealed adding that the repeat polls would be conducted on March 11 2013 notifying returning officers, presiding officersand candidate's agents in respective wards.

Mr. Hassan announced that where the machines had failed IEBC officials had been instructed to use printed versions of the poll books which had captured photographs of the voters in all the polling centers around the country.

The commission also announced the elections had experienced insecurity in some parts of Kenya citing incidences in Mandera where an explosion erupted. In Garissa, he said fighting erupted in some parts while in Mombasa violence was reported in Changamwe constituency where armed thugs raided and violently killed five policemen.

According to Mr.Hassan, the response of security agencies has been commendable so far, and called on Kenyans to keep vigil over the process to ensure fairness and integrity prevailed.

Mr. Hassan said despite the technological problems the commission was still determined to deliver a free and fair elections and appealed to Kenyans not to worry about the few hitches reported.


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