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August 2022 Polls: IEBC to Deploy Satellite Modems to Areas Without 3G/4G Coverage

Wafula Chebukati
IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati [Photo/Courtesy]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is set to deploy satellite modems to protect result transmission during the August 9 polls. The commission said that about 1,500 satellite modems, photocopy foolproof ballot papers and firewalls will be used to ensure that the results are not tampered with.

The IEBC revealed the plans during a Thursday meeting when it rolled out what it termed as a ‘foolproof’ system ahead of the elections.

The IEBC stated it has 1,553 satellite modems ready to be installed across the 1,111 polling centers that are not covered by 3G or 4G networks for results transmission.

Read: Kenyans in the US, UK Among Voters from 11 Countries Set to Participate in 2022 Polls Chebukati

The results will be transmitted through a secure conduit, according to IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan, who added that the servers will be secured with a firewall mechanism to ensure that only genuine users have access to the system.

As part of the measures in place to ensure that the channels are safe and that no one can alter the photos from form 34A, the network channels that will be utilized in the transmission will be encrypted using a virtual private network on top of the standard network.

According to the IEBC, the system features intrusion and detection tools that will deter any kind of interference during the transmission process.

Read also: Raila Raises Key Issues on Election Preparedness As IEBC Clears Him to Contest for Presidency

“Each form will come with time stamp showing the location for easy verification of where the form is coming from and the device used and encryption,” he said.\

Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom have been identified as the mobile network infrastructure providers. The kits will be equipped with two SIM cards, the primary being from Safaricom and a back-up from any of the other telcos depending on network strength. They will also have internal batteries and two power banks to ensure they stay on, and in case of loss, the kits will be deactivated immediately.

“Where there will be delays, we will work with the service providers to make sure the results trickle in faster. Traffic will go up and down because of simultaneous transmission after tallying,” he said.

Read also: Ethiopia Telecom Looks at SES to Provide it with Satellite Redundancy

The assurance comes after stakeholders, including representatives from political parties and civil society organizations, raised concerns about the effectiveness of the results transmission system.

The test run began 18 minutes before 4 p.m., with a sample size of 2,900 polling stations chosen at random from the country’s 1,450 wards at two apiece.

However, by 5 p.m., just 982 form 34As had arrived, and by 6 p.m., only about 1,500 forms had been received.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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