The electoral agency of Kenya is planning to utilize blockchain technology with an intention to bring greater transparency and integrity to voting. East Africa’s largest economy also wants the technology to be used to enable presidential candidates to securely access the results.
Can Blockchain Technology in Kenya’s Electoral Agency Prevent Violence?
If the electoral agency successfully uses blockchain-based technology, Kenya will be the second country to implement a distributed ledger technology solution for electoral transparency. A key reason to use the technology in elections is to avoid claims of tampering, hacking, and deadly violence. In 2007, violence during the election in Kenya left at least 1,100 people dead and displaced around 600,000 citizens, reported Bloomberg.
However, according to chairman of Blockchain Association of Kenya Michael Kimani, doubts still exist on the potential of blockchain’s use in politics, particularly in Kenya. Even after the testing of the technology in countries like Sierra Leone, Kimani adds that there are still plenty of questions on how the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya’s electoral agency, will design and secure the system and handle voter anonymity.
His doubt is reasonable because of the huge institutional dysfunction and lack of leadership in Kenya’s electoral process. In 2013, Kenya also invested in biometric voter registration, but it didn’t perform well during the voting and tallying processes.
Kenyan Banks Are Seeking Approval to Explore Blockchain Technology
Kenyan banks are now trying to seek regulatory approval to utilize blockchain technology to facilitate payments and work on credit-scoring models. Although the advantages of using blockchain technology are well presented, there is still a great chance of being mishandled by corrupt individuals, Bloomberg reported.
The central bank of Kenya also stated that it doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as such offerings “are associated with anonymity and commonly used by criminals.”