The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Communications Authority are embroiled in a bitter conflict that threatens to scuttle the transmission of election results after the August 9 polls.
According to the IEBC, the CA has failed to provide accurate data on network connectivity across the country, less than three months before the much-anticipated election.
IEBC is pointing an accusing finger at the CA led by Director General, Ezra Chiloba. The electoral agency painted a grim picture noting that the country is on the verge of a crisis in the transmission of election results.Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Ezra Chiloba.Communications Authority of Kenya (CA)
The teams led by Wafula Chebukati and Ezra Chiloba are feuding over the status of the 3G network coverage. The IEBC stated it is yet to establish the said coverage, and hence the network coverage of polling stations nationwide.
IEBC commissioner, Abdi Guliye, faulted the CA over what he termed as "conducting a desktop survey" rather than carrying out a physical mapping exercise of the country.
“We are yet to get actual data in terms of physically verified network coverage from the CA. The desktop analysis may not translate to physical coverage on the ground,” Guliye stated, adding IEBC was waiting on “promises that the network coverage would be improved."
He noted that the absence of physical data on network coverage problematizes the electoral agency's planning, and puts them at risk of a third presidential election petition.
Chiloba, in an interview with The Standard, stated that any physical verification must be done by the IEBC.
“While we are able to advise IEBC on coverage, it is their duty to physically confirm the same since they know where the polling stations are located,” stated Chiloba.
Chiloba explained that the report of the analysis the Communications Authority provided the IEBC is sufficient since geo-mapping does not require them to be physically present for the survey.IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati addresses the media at a press conference in August 2021File
“The same way they collected the geo-coordinates, is the same way they could assure themselves based on CA’s analysis. Together with mobile network operators, we were able to analyse the extent of coverage using the ArcGIS software, a standard that cuts across telecoms,” Chiloba stated.
The CA is mandated to map network coverage in the country. It informed the IEBC that Kenya's 3G coverage was at 98 per cent after an analysis conducted based on the geo-coordinates of the polling stations presented by the electoral agency.
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