Kenya’s electoral body IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) has made public its intentions to use Blockchain technology to secure the integrity of the voting process by providing real-time results of the polling.
Wafula Chebukati, the chairperson of the commission, said in his statement that by adopting Blockchain technology in the electoral process, the respective candidates will be able to access real-time live results. This has been seen as an attempt by the commission to not only move past the allegations of electoral misconduct but also as a move for the country to move past its murky electoral past.
Kenya’s Electoral History
The electioneering period in Kenya is usually a tense one with candidates exchanging accusations of voter bribery and intimidation as well as vote rigging. The last election which took place last year saw the two main challengers, Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta, bitterly rival for a chance at the presidency. The election saw the country divide along ethnic lines, with Odinga refusing to accept the outcome of the poll.
The 2017 election was the first ever election outcome to be nullified by the court. Upon defeat in the outcome of the Supreme Court ordered rerun, Odinga still refused to acknowledge the loss and went on to declare himself the people’s President after which a swearing-in ceremony was held to that effect at Uhuru park. Even though the election did not end in violence like the one witnessed in 2007, the debacle experienced seems to have motivated the electoral body to consider better ways of only handling the elections, but also ensuring transparency and integrity of the process.
Blockchain Technology In Kenya
Kenya is among the busiest and most distinguished technological hubs of Africa. It also boasts of the highest statistics with regards to the accessibility of mobile digital money transfers and payment solutions.
Several bodies have supported and advocated the utility of Blockchain technology as a solution for the country’s never-ending electoral problems chief among these being the Blockchain Association of Kenya. The body has gone as far as openly advising the IEBC, in a local daily, to consider the application of the Blockchain technology in the process to maintain the integrity of the ballot, and advise the commission seems to be considering.
Should the IEBC become successful in its plans, Kenya will become the first country with government level Blockchain application and the second African country to adopt Blockchain technology in the electoral process, the first one being Sierra Leone.
Kenya is also considering applying Blockchain technology to other sectors of the government. Joseph Mucheru, the Minister for Information said that the country will be considering extending Blockchain technology applied to the Ministry of Lands.
Securing The Lands Registry
In the event that the ministry of lands also adopts Blockchain technology, the database for the lands ministry database will be traceable on the public ledger making it impossible for unscrupulous employees to defraud unsuspecting citizens.
The Capital Markets Authority has made recommendations for the creation of a specific unit in charge of matters cryptocurrencies and any other issues falling under this bracket.