Voting machine in the US (pamibe.com)
Ushahidi was borne out of the 2007/8 post-election violence in Kenya where users used texts to map out crisis areas around them. This year, the team launchedUchaguzi, a platform that will allow people to report on incidents relating to the upcoming general elections.
Were acknowledges the company has gone full circle, with the launch of Uchaguzi few weeks ago almost coinciding with the Ushahidi’s fifth anniversary.
“One of the most progressive part of our new laws is the election Act 2011,” Were told HumanIPO. “The electoral commission is allowed to employ any relevant technology. So the legal framework is there.”
This also means that Kenyans can aspire to vote electronically in future elections, though there are still misgivings about the biometric and result relaying systems already in place.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has had a hard time expelling fears about the biometric voter registration (BVR) and trying to explain what it is all about. The electoral commission however managed to register 80 per cent of the 18 million registered voters they hoped to index, ending up with 14.3 million.
In an interview with Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, HumanIPO posed questions on the security of the Safaricom-supported system through which the (IEBC) will be relaying results.
“We have provided a secure pipe for the IEBC to transmit results from polling centre to Tallying Centre(s), Constituency, County and National,” Collymore said.
Were said the real issue was not the technology itself but the people handling it.
“It is not a question about the technology,” he said. “It is about the institution deploying the technology and if they have done enough to tell people that the technology is credible.”
He cited Safaricom’s mobile money transfer system M-Pesa, which up to now has enjoyed full confidence from users.