TECHNOLOGY

LIMO: IEBC should create an online DIY portal for voter registration

The applicants fill in their personal data and even choose where they want to vote.

In Summary

• The applicants fill in their personal data and even choose where they want to vote, from a drop-down menu.

• Technology affords the parties concerned to meet halfway through the journey and that is a win-win for everyone. 

Masses turn up for voter registration by IEBC offficials at Kitisuru Chief's camp ahead of the 2022 General elections. October 4, 2021.
Masses turn up for voter registration by IEBC offficials at Kitisuru Chief's camp ahead of the 2022 General elections. October 4, 2021.
Image: CHARLENE MALWA

As the electoral management body, the IEBC, wonders why the youth have not registered in big numbers, the youth are themselves wondering why the IEBC has not registered them or at least given them the opportunity to register themselves.

We are in the Do It Yourself (DIY) age. Institutions and businesses have cleverly burdened us with their work.

They have delegated, even abdicated what they used to do and we gladly accepted to do it for them, at our cost, because we think it is cool and convenient.

The bank teller created the ATM as a way of absconding responsibility with transactions, especially of the lesser amounts.

We used to read the hotel menu from a large board, then they changed to beautiful booklets but now the waiter asks you to “scan the QR” code.

Now Apple, the phone manufacturer, says it will sell repair kits and parts online to enable customers to undertake DIY repairs at home. 

The IEBC should create an online DIY portal for voter registration.

You may want to call it a pre-registration system.

The applicants fill in their personal data and even choose where they want to vote, from a drop-down menu.

They visit IEBC offices only for biometrics and validation.

Doing so means there will be fewer errors because individuals know how to spell their names.

It means less operational costs for IEBC and so we do not have to see the pitiable caricature of Chairman Wafula Chebukati, in tatters, begging for money.

It will not be necessary for anyone to go to court to compel IEBC to extend registration dates.

Technology affords the parties concerned to meet halfway through the journey and that is a win-win for everyone.

There are a number of e-government services that already give part or the entire services online using the e-citizen platform.

The certificate of good conduct is a good benchmark for IEBC.

The application is done at Huduma Centres but you present yourself on an appointed date for the fingerprints.

We have introduced Unique Personal Identification, UPI, in schools.

Since we have information about the individual from birth and throughout educational life, we should not even be asking them to register for IDs when they turn 18.

We should be telling them when the IDs are ready and where to collect them from.

Just think of how much data the government has about you. Why should the government be asking you who you are?

Ideally, the Huduma Number is supposed to be the one-stop platform for citizen digital engagement.

All we need is to put in place laws and policies that will ensure safe and secure systems.

The millennials arrived into this world at a time of technological revolution.

They grew up in the abundance of the internet and into a world of immense possibilities that gives them power and control as individuals.

They are also socialised that things come to them; they do not go for them.

Why do you think the laundry, the supermarket, the pizza man and even hardware shops are all promising free deliveries?

IEBC and government institutions should do home deliveries also. The ‘retrieving generation’ will not go to make long queues to get services.

But even as we think of these technological revolutions, it should not be lost to us that achieving them entails overcoming human hurdles.

Technology works. The adoption challenges will be there.

You will hear the voices of laggards and luddites say elections are too serious for DIY stuff.

Consolidating mandates and functions of government ministries and departments will mean confronting the ego, power and control that those in charge have held for long.

It won’t be easy to let go. Those who cannot access or use the internet can always present themselves to be registered.

Innovations have never stopped because of fear of the inadequacy of adopters.

Those who made cars did not agonize about the ability of people to drive.

The issue of capacity building always sorts itself with time. If the product or service on offer is compelling, people will jump on board.

Just do a survey among the aged or illiterate on their use of mobile money. The adoption curve is likely to shock you.

Andrew Limo is an expert in online communication and human dimension of technology  

Email. [email protected]