Kenya counters vote-rigging with electronic register

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2012 11:14 AM
Kenya counters vote-rigging with electronic register

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya will switch to an electronic register of voters to curb ballot-rigging after ballot boxes at the 2007 elections were found to contain the votes of people who were dead, the electoral commission said.

The polls triggered fighting in which more than 1,220 people were killed after the opposition accused the incumbent president of stealing victory.

Isaack Hassan, chairman of the commission, said the new system would help reduce voting malpractices and speed the announcement of results during elections due by March next year at the latest.

"This system is actually tamper-proof," Hassan told a news conference. The east African country's next election will be the first under a new constitution.

Hassan said his commission will spend 14 billion shillings ($164.80 million) on the next elections, a minor portion of it paid for by aid agencies.

"The next elections are very critical for the life of this nation and we want them to go right. We can't afford anything to go wrong," said Aeneas Chuma, head of the United Nations Development Program in Kenya, which is managing the election funds contributed by aid agencies.

Uhuru Kenyatta, a presidential hopeful who quit as Kenya's finance minister Thursday, and three other Kenyans must face trial for crimes against humanity for encouraging post-election violence, ICC judges ruled Monday.

($1 = 84.9500 Kenyan shillings)

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by James Macharia and Robert Woodward)