BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,29TH DEC,2016-Senate Legal affairs committee on Thursday begun collecting views from the various individuals and the public on the emotive issue of amendments to the electoral laws 2015passed by the National Assembly and referred to the Senate. Appearing before the committee, chaired by Busia senator Amos Wako, Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has said there should be a manual backup system in the next general elections_.
Mr Mucheru told the Committee that an electronic system might be hacked or destroyed by Al-Shabaab terrorists, and is also prone to network failures.
“As a country, we cannot be held hostage. We need to have a backup to provide alternatives when such a situation occurs,” he said at County Hall in Nairobi.
Senators Hassan Omar, Mutula Kilonzo Jr and Judith Sijeny dismissed the government position that the country was not prepared to use an electronic system to run the next general election.
They criticised the minister for using Al-Shabaab to create unnecessary fears that the use of an electronic system in the polls would be difficult.
But CS Mucheru sought to clarify that the paper voting system will only be used in the event the electronic one fails.
“We must have a system that allows people to vote, when the electronic system fails,” he said.
Deputy Senate Speaker Kembi Gitura and Kiraitu Murungi agreed with the minister, saying it is unfair for Kenyans to be duped into believing that a manual system will lead to rigging.
“Manual has been made a bad word, yet for rigging, you can do so more effectively using electronic devices,” Mr Murungi said.
Mr Gitura said it is important to create trust among Kenyans by assuring them there is nothing sinister about a backup system.