Airtel and Telkom dropped as Safaricom retained for polls (Kenya)

By Constant Munda | Business Daily, Kenya September 27, 2017

Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya have been dropped from transmitting poll results during the repeat presidential polls in favour of Safaricom  as the electoral commission moves to avoid hitches that were the subject of nullification of the August 8 poll.

The embattled Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has cited Safaricom’s wide network coverage for the award of the transmission deal.

“M/S Safaricom will be requested to deploy KIEMS kits tablet SIM cards in all the 40,883 polling stations across the country,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said in response to the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa).

During the August 8 polls, the three telcos were hired to provide connectivity between polling centres and IEBC’s national tallying centre in 78 per cent of the country with 3G and 2G network connections, while the remainder was to be covered by satellite phones.

But the announcement that  a quarter of all polling stations in the country do not have adequate mobile network coverage for transmission of elections results raised suspicions.

Safaricom’s network was deployed in 22 counties, Airtel’s in 14 while Telkom’s was in 11 counties during the August 8 poll.

The IEBC did not have all the tally forms when it announced results in part due to network hitches, and some forms lacked security features such as water marks, signatures or serial numbers, calling their authenticity into question, the Supreme Court said when giving grounds for nullification of the presidential results.

The commission said it will announce the final results of the repeat poll after receiving all the form 34A and 34B, which will be transmitted through a secure network and their contents verified by party agents and independent observers.

The Supreme Court annulled the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 1, citing irregularities and illegalities in the transmission of results, and ordered a repeat election in 60 days.

On Tuesday, opposition leader Raila Odinga, who petitioned against Mr Kenyatta’s win, accused Safaricom and French IT firm OT-Morpho of abetting election irregularities in the General Election.

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