Inside Politics

IEBC: Telcos threatened to disrupt polls over debts

Thursday, March 16th, 2023 07:10 | By
Chebukati’s long, tough journey as poll agency head
Outgoing IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati. Photo/Courtesy

Fresh details emerged yesterday of how four local Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) threatened to disconnect the transmission of election results in the August elections over failure by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to settle Sh601.03 million owed to them.

Documents tabled before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) showed that despite the threats to IEBC, the National Treasury declined to release the said money thus forcing the commission to reallocate its budget to protect the credibility of the election.

Transmission network

The four MNOs that IEBC engaged to provide Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) results transmission network for the General Election include Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom and Osta Tech/Safa-IEC Telecom (Thuraya).

IEBC chief executive Marjan Hussein Marjan, who tabled the documents told the committee members that disruption of the election results would have led to lack of credibility of the election results.

Reads a letter Marjan wrote to the National Treasury on July 22: “The MNOs have threatened to disconnect our data centre and LAN WaN 1 networks which is key infrastructure for result transmission in the upcoming general election. Failure to settle the long outstanding amounts will lead to service disruption, which may compromise the network resilience resulting to lack of credibility of the elections and non-compliance with the law and established regulations.”

Forestall danger

Marjan, who wrote the letter seventeen days to the August election, further explained to the members that the commission had to re-allocate its budget to settle the money owed to MNOs to forestall any danger of disconnecting the election transmission data centre.

Section 39 (1)(c) of the Elections Act of 2011 requires the IEBC to electronically transmit presidential results from polling stations to the Constituency Tallying Centre and to the National Tallying Centre.

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