COST REDUCTION

Kenya should consider adopting electronic voting, IEBC panel told

Abonyo said Kenya should consider blockchain technology to reduce costs.

In Summary

• Justus Abonyo, a candidate for IEBC commissioner said the country should consider adopting blockchain technology, which would reduce the cost of running an election by up to 300 per cent.

• He further said blockchain technology enhances efforts to move to electronic voting and offers greater security and transparency, which increases the needed trust in election systems.

IEBC nominee Justus Abonyo Nyang'aya before the selection panel for appointment of IEBC commissioners at KICC on July 15,2021.
IEBC nominee Justus Abonyo Nyang'aya before the selection panel for appointment of IEBC commissioners at KICC on July 15,2021.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Kenya should explore the use of technology to bring down the cost of holding elections, the panel for the appointment of commissioners of IEBC has been told.

Justus Abonyo, a candidate for IEBC commissioner said the country should consider adopting blockchain technology, which would reduce the cost of running an election by up to 300 per cent.

He further said blockchain technology enhances efforts to move to electronic voting and offers greater security and transparency, which increases the needed trust in election systems.

“The cost of a ballot in Kenya ranges between US$ 7-US$ 25 (Sh700-Sh2,500). If we use blockchain technology, this cost will go down to US$0.5 (Sh50). This is an area I would explore as a commissioner, “he explained.

A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain.

It provides a platform for creating a highly secure, decentralized, anonymized, yet auditable chain of record used presently in cryptocurrency systems.

This same technology could also be used to record and report votes and prevent many types of voter fraud in elections.

In many countries, including the developed nations, voting by and large still takes place using paper ballots.

Abonyo, former chair of the Social Democratic Party of Kenya, said he would not have a problem stepping down if elections observers and other stakeholders question the credibility of an election he presided.

“I will listen to what observers are saying and other stakeholders like the voters themselves and if they are unanimous that the elections were not credible, I will step down,” he stated.

“I will agree with them and take note we have done a bad job. They will have returned a verdict but I will ask for evidence.”

Abonyo added that he would not initiate the process of having the election nullified and would wait for someone to go to court.

“People are taken to court. I will not take myself to court. I will not go to court and accuse myself,” he added.