The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be making a couple of changes on the management of its ICT infrastructure prior to and during the repeat of the August 8 polls that was invalidated by the Supreme Court of Kenya. The exercise will be conducted on October 26, 2017.
To begin with, IEBC will manage the ICT/KIEMS system like it did in the nullified presidential polls. It should be noted that the system was put in place by Oberthur Technologies (OT) and Safran Identity & Security (Morpho) that have extensive knowledge about biometrics, authentication, digital security as well as video and data analytics. A couple of days ago, NASA alleged that the French firm was unlawfully awarded the tender to provide KIEMs kits citing bribery cases. That aside, IEBC will use cloud servers and a back-up platform, and the entire process will be done in line with international regulations. At the same time, OT-Morpho/Safran says it will perform a rehearsal for the system before the elections.
Secondly, only Safaricom will be used to distribute KEIMS tablet SIM cards to the 40,883 polling stations. This is as obvious as it sounds thanks to the telco’s mostly reliable coverage across the country. On the other hand, this means that players like Airtel KE and Telkom Kenya will not be involved. Whether 3G issues that necessitated manual transmission of results in some areas during the last polls have been resolved is unknown at the moment.
Thirdly, the commission will seek the services of technical experts from the Commonwealth and the UN who will be seconded by representatives from the two presidential candidates. The process will also be augmented by high-regarded organizations in the conduction of quality assurance of the IT equipment and systems before the repeat of the polls.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Norman Magaya who’s the Executive Director of NASA, it is mentioned that IEBC will seek an independent inspection and evaluation of the data, software and IT systems that were used on August 8. In fact, the exercise is already taking place.
The last development is about agent and observer ICT access, where party agents as well as international observers are welcome to probe logs, databases and servers, among other ICT equipment. Notably, access will only be read/view only for security purposes. However, observers will not be allowed to get access to the live platform. Also, KIEMS’s SIM card numbers, IP addresses, firewall and port configurations will not be available to them for the same reasons.