Six Kenyans urged a court on Wednesday to suspend a controversial decision by election officials to scrap a tender process and directly procure an electronic voting system for the August polls. The petition is the umpteenth disruption to already chaotic election preparations, a sensitive process in a country where accusations of rigging accompany almost every vote. The tender was awarded to French defence and biometrics company Safran last month, pushing aside another French company Gemalto, which was lined up to win the contract in a bidding process launched in December. In court documents seen by AFP, the six petitioners argue that the entire process was “manipulated and rigged… to culminate in an artificial crisis that would then be used to justify the single sourcing”.
Articles about voting issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya’s top opposition coalition is wrapping up primary voting this week ahead of August general elections as the ruling Jubilee coalition gears up to start its primaries on Friday. The voting is seen as a key test of cohesion for both coalitions. Confusion and accusations abound in Nakuru County after the names of some opposition Orange Democratic Movement Party candidates were missing from paper ballots. ODM Party election officials called off the vote and rescheduled it. Some results were canceled because of allegations of rigging and some constituency elections were postponed because of logistical issues. The party has held elections in at least 10 counties. “The exercise is very big, and therefore in an exercise like this there will be mistakes here and there, but they are being corrected as they occur,” said Robert Arunga, a party election board member.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has expressed dismay over the continued use of two voters’ roll in Zimbabwe’s parliamentary elections saying the electoral body should stop this practice. In its detailed report following the Mwenezi parliamentary election won by a Zanu PF candidate at the weekend, ZESN said, “ZESN observers reported that the Commission continued to use two voters’ rolls in the by-election a trend that has been previously observed in previous by-elections. “The main voters’ roll made up of voters captured during the registration process was used together with a supplementary roll based on the ward based voters’ roll used in the 2013 harmonised election. ZESN reiterates its position that use of one voters’ roll in future elections will greatly enhance the transparency and integrity of the electoral process.”
Nigeria: How electronic voting will change the face of Nigeria’s future general elections | Ventures Africa
On the 31st of March, 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2017 into law. This bill gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the power to conduct Electronic Voting (E-voting). … The bill raises the question of Nigeria’s readiness to plunge into this new technology-based terrain. Proponents of the bill are inclined to believe that it will give credibility to our elections while cynics think Nigeria is yet to come to terms with using this technology for elections. These positions may have been gathered from INEC’s performance with the voter’s card readers during the last general elections in 2015 when INEC decided to adopt smart card readers for voters’ accreditation.
The Gambia will hold its first election on Thursday since the downfall of longtime leader Yahya Jammeh. Expectations are high that new lawmakers will overhaul the national assembly once derided as a mere rubberstamp by many in the country. Gambians have long complained that under Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years, laws were often made by executive decree and buttressed by legislation much later on, if at all. Campaigning ended on Tuesday for the 238 registered candidates representing nine different political parties who are vying for the 53 seats up for election.
The Senate Thursday passed amendments to the Electoral Act 2010, approving the use of electronic voting in future elections. It also approved that election results should be electronically transmitted to collation centers. The passage of bill followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and for other related matters (SB 231 and SB 234). Major highlights of the new bill include provision for the use of electronic voting by INEC during future elections, use of Card Reader and also gives INEC power to modify the voting process if there is a challenge.
Elections present a milestone beyond which countries either strengthen their democratic credentials or become failed states. Often states fail when there are either perceived or blatant election malpractices. This in turn can lead to prolonged civil unrest.
Numerous cases exist across the continent. But I will use the Kenyan case to illustrate how election processes can be compromised, and then brought back from the brink with the use of technology. Following the election in 2007 Kenya erupted into two months of unprecedented conflict. People were unhappy with the outcome which saw Mwai Kibaki of the incumbent Party of National Unity being declared the winner ahead of Raila Odinga and his Orange Democratic Movement. Many disputed the final tally. To preempt a similar situation in future elections, a commission led by former South African judge Justice Johann Kriegler was set up. The Kriegler Commission made several critical findings. These included instances of double voter registration, widespread impersonation and ballot stuffing. It concluded that, as a result, it was impossible to know who actually won the election.
When the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that the country was going to adopt Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system for use in the 2018 harmonised elections most of those that have known the Government of Zimbabwe found this overture to be too good to be true. Coming as it did — a good 30 months ahead of the elections — after minimum lobbying by civic society organisation (CSOs), many became suspicious about this concession that was being readily granted by a government that was intransigently resisting effecting a raft of electoral reforms that opposition parties have been demanding. At the time, some members of these CSOs had told the Financial Gazette that the readiness with which government was willing to let go the “golden” Tobaiwa Mudede-compiled voters’ roll showed that either the ruling party strategists had identified horse and cart loopholes that could be exploited to ZANU-PF’s electoral advantage or it was just a strategy to buy time so that it could plead poverty and shortage of time on the eleventh hour when the only option left would be to revert to the tested old voters’ roll.
Electoral Commission chiefs went against the advice of their own tender evaluation committee and went ahead to award a Sh3.8 billion contract for the supply of voter technology to a French firm which had failed to meet the criteria set out in the bid document. The Nation has learnt that the firm – Safran Identity and Security – had been disqualified by a six-member committee set up to evaluate the bids by 10 companies that had expressed interest in supplying a system for voter identification and results transmission for the August 8 General Election. Despite the disqualification, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission announced last Friday that it had resolved to directly procure the election equipment from Safran, following the cancellation of a previous tender awarded to Gemalto SA – another French firm.
Opposition parties in Zimbabwe say they have no confidence in the country’s electoral commission and are calling for an international body to run the 2018 elections. Opposition parties led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held a rally of about 500 people Wednesday in Harare at which they said the next election is heading for a dispute unless the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, or ZEC, steps aside. The rally follows the electoral commission’s request to President Robert Mugabe’s government to buy biometric voter registration equipment in preparation for Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections. The opposition says the move is unconstitutional. Opposition supporters marched to the commission’s offices to present a petition, singing on their way.