The chief executive of Kenya’s electoral commission was charged on Wednesday over a $15 million tender for equipment that was meant to prevent vote fraud during March’s presidential election but broke down during the count. The new technology was aimed at avoiding the violent disputes that led to 1,200 deaths after the election five years ago. Previous votes in Kenya have also been dogged by “ghost” voters, stuffed ballot boxes and rigging at the final tally. As well as biometrically testing voter identity, it was meant to transmit the number of votes cast to a central tallying center – unlike in the past when votes were ferried manually from polling stations, increasing the chances of tampering.
But the collapse of both parts of the system led to a very slow release of results, stoking speculation the vote had been rigged, and led to a legal unsuccessful legal challenge to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory.
James Oswago, the CEO of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and three other officials were accused at Kenya’s anti-corruption court of being behind the 1.3 billion shillings ($15.26 million) tender to purchase the equipment.