Kenya jitters over network coverage in election results relay

Kenya‘s electoral body has released a list of over 11,000 polling stations that do not have network coverage by the country’s three telecoms companies, hours before citizens head to the polls.

In a statement, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said their officers in those polling stations will be required to move to areas where there is signal and use satellite phones.

“In accordance with the provision of the Elections (Technology) Regulations, 2017 the commission wishes to notify the public that out of the 40,833 polling stations 11,155 are out of the 3G or 4G GSM network coverage,” the Commission announced.

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati clarified that the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) device can transmit over a 2G network.

Chebukati reassured Kenyans on the security features in the KIEMS kit. “Once (KIEMS kit) is locked up with the result, it will retain the result… it cannot change, it will transmit the results automatically if you go to a place where there is network.”

According to the Communications Authority’s ICT Access Report, approximately 5.6% of the population (or 2.66 million people) do not have network coverage. The study also showed that 78% of the country is covered by 3G.