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[liberationtech] E-Voting

Zacharia Gichiriri zacharia.gichiriri at
Sat Dec 10 01:39:39 PST 2016

Hi All,

In Africa, only a few countries can claim to have conducted free and fair
elections. Majority of elected representatives in Africa want to cling to
power forever against the will of their citizens or some of their citizens.
To add salt to the injury, all dictators in Africa have a poor record of
development and human rights. A lot of African leaders point to China as a
case in point where democracy is not necessarily a catalyst for
development. But is that true?

Back to elections, electronic voting in Africa would dramatically increase
transparency in the electoral process. Unfortunately, Africa has weak
systems from Judiciary to Police that cannot guarantee free and fair
elections. The Police, the Judiciary, Independent Electoral Commissions
have been and can be easily influenced by current regimes mostly through
intimidation and in young and vocal democracies such as Kenya or South
Africa through bribes.

Security is of the utmost concern but democracy is more important. In one
way or another people will always find ways to fight for their freedoms
especially in the age of Internet where people can see the benefits of a
democratic society. But instead of having people go to war or risk their
lives, why can't we just use Technology to lay bare the truth?

I think the subject of the discussion should be: How can we make e-voting
more secure and credible?
On implementing an e-voting system, we can look for inspiration from
M-Pesa. M-Pesa handled $52.6 billion worth of transactions in the past
financial year equivalent to 85% of Kenya's GDP. M-Pesa doesn't use HTTPS,
it's a service embedded in your mobile sim card. It is built on a
decentralized system where thousands of agents operate across Kenya. Users
deposit and withdraw from the agents. From their mobile phones they can
view their balance, send to other M-Pesa users etc etc..

Zacharia Mwangi,
Computer Science,Bsc., Strathmore  '17


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