We may need to have October 17 poll pushed back, French firm OT-Morpho says

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OT-Morpho, the French company in charge of the system used to transmit election results on Monday expressed doubts about the country holding its repeat polls on October 17 as set by the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission.

In a letter addressed to the IEBC, OT-Morpho informed the polls body that they will not be ready by the polls day if the Supreme Court will require it to move the results transmission system to Kenya.

“The detailed conclusions of the Supreme Court, which are still unknown, do not compel for changes if not compatible with the date of the fresh election,” Mr Olivier Charles, the firm’s vice president and General Manager, Africa and Middle East business unit, said in the letter.

“Should the Supreme Court request that the RTS system be hosted in Kenya, it would be technically impossible to meet the October 31 deadline,” the firm said in the two-page letter.

The French firm said that since the court’s ruling, they had been working on reconfiguring its 45,000 voter identification and results transmission kits to be used in the election which involves a tedious process of one-by-one transfer of the memory cards that were used in the August 8 election for safe keeping. The cards have to be preserved according to the law.

The firm then installed a new results transmission system, the register locked to every polling station and the names of the two presidential candidates following the locking out of the other six from the fresh poll.

“As a consequence, in the scope of the fresh election, OT-Morpho has to reinstall a new RTS system as well as in the 45,000 kits,” it said.

“This represents a very significant amount of work, which cannot be secured by October 17.”

One of the significant hurdles that the firm pointed to was that one gadget can only send results of candidates whose details had been entered before polling day, and cannot send the details of another polling station other than that for which it is configured.

“In order to allow for an external audit on the results transmission system used for the August 8 elections, OT-Morpho decided to freeze and backup the RTS system as well as related data, in the system or the Kiems kits,” the French IT company said.

The configuration, is understood to take at least 30 days from the start date, and it has not yet begun.

The commission does not have to conduct the election on the scheduled October 17 date but from the firm’s letter, they may not be held within the stipulated two months throwing the country into a constitutional crisis.

During the presidential petition hearing lodged by the opposition, the IEBC was unable to implement the court’s order to grant a read-only access to the results transmission server saying that the servers were in Europe and “people are asleep”.

“If they are asleep, wake them up,” Chief Justice David Maraga told IEBC lawyers at the time.

OT-Morpho has however said they are ready to open the servers as per NASA’s request.

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