3 arrested at JKIA after transporting election material

The individuals are in the country to provide technical support during elections - IEBC

FILE IMAGE: People wait for passengers during a strike by airline workers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on March 6, 2019 (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

Three individuals responsible for deployment and management of election technology infrastructure have been arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The three, identified to have flown from Venezuela, were said to have arrived in the country on July 22, after delivering stickers to aid in labelling and distribution of election materials.

According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the individuals were flown into the country to execute a lawful contract relating to the deployment of technology in elections.

"The Commission has a valid legal contract executed between itself and Smartmatic International B.V. for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintenance of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System," stated IEBC.

Smartmatic is an American based company that describes itself as "the global leader in applied cybersecurity technologies for elections and government systems," reads a statement on their website.

The three are said to have been arrested after stickers belonging to IEBC were detected through the airport's screening machines. Upon searching an individual's bag, police discovered he had 17 rolls of election stickers for various constituencies.

The police then proceeded to call the commission and inquire whether they recognised the three individuals travelling from the sixth largest South American country.

According to JKIA, government agencies are supposed to communicate in advance to officials of any impending cargo for proper security arrangements to be made. However, they claim, IEBC failed to communicate hence the arrest.

IEBC on the other hand, condemned the arrest, as they reiterated the detaining, confinement of the individuals in a solitary hideout was an act of intimidation.

"The brazen decision of the security authorities is an exhibition of intimidation on hardworking persons who are only keen to deliver a robust technology infrastructure for conduct of a credible, secure and verifiable election," reiterated IEBC.

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