Kenya Law Committee To Probe Election Technology Failures

Dan Jellinek

Major failures in two pieces of high-profile technology that were intended to make the recent Kenyan national elections run more smoothly are to be investigated by a special committee of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).

The glitches in March meant the country had to rely on traditional methods of polling and vote-counting. Biometric voter identification kits crashed as polling stations ran out of electricity, and an SMS system for relaying local results to a national centre in Nairobi ceased to work.

Kenya’s Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) claimed the latter problem was caused by overloading of the system, but others are speculating it may have been due to software faults or lack of knowledge by polling station staff.

LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said in a statement the nine-member committee of technology specialists, lawyers and other relevant experts would check to see if the election technologies were legally acquired and properly deployed.

“We are also interested in determining whether the software supplied for the electronic systems were compatible with IEBCs equipment, had warranties and necessary back up,” said Mutua. It would also try to determine whether officials may have been negligent, he said (

NOTE: Article originally published in E-Government Bulletin issue 352.

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