“Computer Generated Leaders?”: The Irony of the Electronic Transmission System in the August 2017 Presidential Elections

Prior to 2017 General Elections, Parliament amended the Elections Act mandating Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to employ technology in conducting elections. In this regard IEBC procured, tested and deployed the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS) which it used in biometric voter registration, and during Election Day, identification of voters, transmission of election results from polling stations to the Constituency Tallying Centre and the National Tallying Centre. The technology was meant to ensure elections were conducted in a simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent manner. However the veracity of the system was put to test during transmission of votes when glaring variances were noted in the IEBC’s portal, tallying forms and the result displayed on print media. It’s on this backdrop the Supreme Court nullified the 8th August 2017 presidential elections.