A Cabinet minister has proposed that the electronic voter registration system, voting and processing of results be outsourced in future polls.
The system, said Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang’, had worked in other countries and would eliminate manipulation and threat of violence.
“The government does not even need to be involved. The electoral commission can outsource it like they do in Nigeria and in mayoral elections in London,” said Mr Kajwang’, who is also Mbita MP.
He spoke as MPs overwhelmingly approved a motion compelling the electoral body to use electronic systems in voter registration, voting and results processing.
The motion by Rachuonyo MP James Rege received overwhelming support.
Mr Rege, who also chairs the Energy, Information and Communications Committee, said Kenya was a force to reckon with in Information Communication Technology as proven by innovations in the banking sector and money transfer products.
A precedent had also been set in the use of electronic registration, voting and tallying in the by-elections held since the Interim Independent Electoral Commission took office, he said.
In last Monday’s Ikolomani by-election, results were out by 9pm, four hours after the close of voting.
Mr Rege caused a stir when he alleged that an MP serving his second term had never won an election and had forced his way to Parliament.
He was cut short before he could identify the MP and was forced to withdraw his statement as he could not substantiate it.
Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara said he was concerned that the government was not in a hurry to ensure electronic systems are in place in light of the chaos following the 2007 General Election.
He said a complete reform of the electoral systems would be part of implementing the new Constitution.
“We must do everything to ensure the promise of the new Constitution is realised. That is why I support this motion,” said Mr Imanyara.
MPs William Kabogo (Juja, Narc-Kenya) and Beth Mugo (Dagoretti, PNU) said they were victims of the flawed manual method of voting and tallying in the last election.
“We know of situations where dead people voted,” said Mr Kabogo, who successfully fought the election of Mr George Thuo and later won the seat in a by-election last September.
Mrs Mugo, who is the Public Health and Sanitation minister, said electronic systems would end the perennial complaints of “I have been rigged out” that follow elections in Kenya.
Kisumu Town East MP Shakeel Shabbir said the electronic system should be tailor-made for Kenya and warned against importing it from places where they are used with their inherent problems.
Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo said the government should make it possible for every Kenyan to have a single number that would be used on documents — birth certificate, identity card, voting card, social security — which would be destroyed upon death.
Responding to the motion, Justice assistant minister William Cheptumo said the government would implement the motion as part of electoral reforms.