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Kenyan Elections Observation Group Deploys Technology to Help Monitor Polls


ELOG Data Center Election Observers.

Kenya’s Elections Observation Group (ELOG) plans to deploy about 5,000 observers to monitor Tuesday's vote. ELOG also will use Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) to monitor the presidential election.

The Elections Observations Group, (ELOG) which is made up of civil society and faith-based organizations, met Saturday in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, and said it will deploy about 5,700 election observers. Of those, approximately 1,700 observers also will monitor the elections using Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).

Simon Wanjiru, the PVT Manager at ELOG, says the group is non-partisan, so its election observers will give independent and authentic results. ELOG began monitoring elections in Kenya in 2010.

Simon Wanjiru ELOG PVT manager.
Simon Wanjiru ELOG PVT manager.

​Wanjiru adds that the system will be used as a monitoring mechanism to flag irregularities.

“We want to increase the confidence of the public in the elections and also we want to remove any uncertainties on the people, and they need to believe that now the systems have been done right and we will be able to show if they have been done correctly by the commission,” he said.

ELOG officials say PVT works in five steps. In the first stage, observers go to polling stations and verify whether they have network coverage. Once this is verified the second step entails the observer filling out a simulation form and sending it to the data center. This ensures the observer understands the process of reporting via text message or SMS.

The third step involves the message check, where the data base receives the texts and checks for any errors in answering. The fourth step involves the data reporters contacting observers who have not yet reported, and troubleshoots. The fifth and final step includes a data-quality check where errors and inconsistencies are flagged by the database automatically.

Wanjiru says the monitoring group will abide by constitutional mechanisms in a scenario where results are withheld.

“It’s only the IEBC, [Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission], which is mandated to release the results, but for ELOG we only do the verification so we cannot verify before they have released," he said. "Remember the constitution says the IEBC has to release the results in seven days. In case it goes beyond seven days, we don’t just say we are going to release but we will compel, we have a court. And we can use the other CSOs [Civil Society Organizations], who can now help beef up and compel the IEBC to have the results out then we can verify.”

Joyce Majiwa, of the Institute for Education in Democracy, (IED) spoke to VOA on the sidelines of the press conference.

Joyce Majiwa addresses the press.
Joyce Majiwa addresses the press.

According to Majiwa the IED seeks to nurture democracy and good governance in Kenya and Africa. She further notes that the key areas in Tuesday’s polls include electoral rules violations, among others. Majiwa adds that the monitoring will improve systems for future elections.

“We will make recommendations for future preparedness, we can make recommendations if there are violent areas especially women and girls. We can make recommendations for prosecution. We will have to follow up whether prosecutions are happening, and we will make recommendations to political parties as well.”

In 2013, ELOG monitored the elections in Kenya and projected President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory at 49.7 percent, while the official figures from IEBC stood at 50.07 percent.

Kenya is scheduled to vote August 8.

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