This raises questions on the state of Kenya’s ICT preparedness. The commission did conduct testing of the system a week before the general elections and gave the system a good bill of health.
The chief executive of the commission, James Oswago, did not feel the need to have a second system in place and said they were happy to rely on network operator Safaricom to relay the results.
Jitters have caught the ICT sector in Kenya with many saying it is a big indictment of the state of the industry.
The country has been making waves in being one of the household names in ICT innovation, but for the system to fail at such a crucial time raises a lot of questions.
Bob Collymore, chief executive of Safaricom, told HumanIPO last week their systems were good to go and secure.
“We will provide the IEBC a secure pipe. The security of the data remains the responsibility of the IEBC,” he said.
Erik Hersman of the iHub tweeted serious questions to the IEBC and Safaricom on their system, security and the service providers.
These sensitive questions have raised a backlash from other players in the sector and caused a heated debate on social media about what exactly is happening.
“The reason I’m trying to figure out the data flow and parties involved, is because I’m curious as to what the IEBC’s technical difficulties have been today,” Hersman posted.
He added: “There hasn’t been much information on the actual details behind their inability to get provisional polling data from around the country, from the IEBC, or any of the corporate partners.
“I’m looking for clarity on something that should already be documented, but which I can’t
find. Something that should be openly communicated, but hasn’t been. We all benefit from a transparent electoral process, and this is a key process for all of us to understand.”
There have been rumours the system that the servers are hosted on has crashed, but the IEBC chairman has denied the allegations.
The confidence on the digital system for elections is quickly eroding among Kenyans. After spirited campaigns on how the system would work well, the IEBC has a big task to restore that confidence.
The commission had invested heavily on the system and it is yet to be seen who will claim responsibility or account for the funds used.