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The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

ROM the out­set, it must be borne in mind that tech­nol­ogy is only as tam­per-proof as the peo­ple charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of ad­min­is­ter­ing it. Tech­nol­ogy does not fail. It only mal­func­tions if the peo­ple who man­age it are not cred­i­ble.

Be that as it may, we must at all times ac­cept that all pro­cesses, in­clud­ing the elec­toral one, are lo­cal. Tech­nol­ogy is only a buf­fer. We vote man­u­ally and go on to count the votes man­u­ally. In the case of the national vote, the Pres­i­den­tial poll, we bring in tech­nol­ogy to trans­mit the re­sults to Nairobi, from where the dec­la­ra­tion of the win­ning can­di­date is made.

In essence, we have in­te­grated tech­nol­ogy at the tail- end of the process. Elec­tronic trans­mis­sion of the re­sults re­moves the hu­man el­e­ment from the process, rais­ing se­ri­ous in­tegrity is­sues with what­ever is an­nounced there­after.

This elec­tronic trans­mis­sion places the process out of the con­trol of the very peo­ple who vote. It re­moves the peo­ple from the vot­ing process and places the onus on a small group of of­fi­cials and their CEO to make a dec­la­ra­tion.

In other words, we use tech­nol­ogy to re­move the elec­toral process from the peo­ple who vote. We use tech­nol­ogy to com­pli­cate the elec­toral process. The clear­est way of mak­ing tech­nol­ogy tam­per-proof, thus, is for the sys­tem to al­low for the dec­la­ra­tion of re­sults at the lo­cal level, once the vot­ing and count­ing has been done. What should be trans­mit­ted to the sys­tem are the fi­nal re­sults. The sec­ond way to make tech­nol­ogy tam­per-proof in our elec­tions is to de­velop a sys­tem with mul­ti­ple pass­words. These pass­words should be given to the com­pet­ing play­ers in the elec­tions: This could be the main coali­tions or the main con­tenders for the Pres­i­den­tial seat, plus the IEBC. Un­der this ar­range­ment no one par­tic­u­lar pass­word should ac­cess the server in the ab­sence of the other.

The server of a tam­per-proof sys­tem can only open when all the mul­ti­ple pass­words are ap­plied.

In the last elec­tions, only IEBC of­fi­cials held the pass­word of the server. But what will stop such of­fi­cers from ac­cess­ing the server and in­ter­fer­ing with it?

Let the lead­ing con­tenders in the elec­tion have a se­cu­rity ac­cess to the server. But the sys­tem must be re­con­fig­ured in such way that no one per­son or party can ac­cess it in the ab­sence of the other par­ties.

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