IEBC drops Telkom and Airtel,picks Safaricom for transmission of poll results

The electoral body has picked Safaricom for the transmission of poll results ahead of Airtel and Telkom Kenya.

Kenya’s largest telecom operator Safaricom has been picked by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to transmit poll results during the Oct 26 repeat elections in favour of Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya.

This comes as the electoral body seeks to avoid hitches that were the subject of nullification of the August 8 poll. The commission 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.

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.

Safaricom’s network was deployed in 22 counties, while Airtel and Telkom (which are the 2 and 3 largest mobile operators in Kenya) had their networks deployed in 14 and 11 counties respectively 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.

On Tuesday, opposition leader Raila Odinga accused Safaricom of conspiracy to rig the election, accusations that the telco has since refuted.

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