Silicon Savannah my Foot and We Cant Even Print Voting Ballot Papers in Kenya

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50 years after the independence, the so called leading ICT destination in Africa, still can not do tech simple things like  printing voting ballot papers locally. I have looked at those voting papers and I don’t see why they had to be printed in London!  Here is the story on Nation:

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) confirmed on Saturday that the ballot papers were delivered from London on Friday night, but declined to divulge further information on where they are being kept.

“They arrived last night (Friday). They were brought by six Boeing 707 flights which we had hired,” IEBC chief executive James Oswago told the Sunday Nation

Mr Oswago said ballot papers for other contestants such as governors, senators, MPs and women’s representatives would be delivered by next week with the county representative ballot papers due in on February 26.

Before we I throw in the ICT Master Plan and the Silicon Savannah blah blah blah, let us think about the cost of printing all the general elections voting papers in London and hiring six Boeing 707 flights  to deliver the Presidential ballot papers alone. By the way,  I am not an expert on this but I thought that Boeing 707…was being used in 1958 to 1979 . Anyway Iebc will need more Boeing whatever to deliver the other ballot papers.  For practical illustration I am going to use the cost of hiring Boeing 747-400 per hour

1,153,331.05 Cost of hiring one Boeing 747-400  per hour

The flight time between London to Nairobi -9 Hours

1,153,331.05*9 Hours *6 =Ksh.62279876.7

Assuming that the trips of bringing in the ballot papers for each of the six electoral positions, will require six Boeing flights and we are talking about Ksh.373,679,260.2.

For  a country which inspires to create a certain number of local based IT companies within a given period of time, this project alone would have helped us scale one start-up to the top. Take the cost of the contract awarded to British firm Smith & Ouzman Ksh.3 Billion, add Ksh. 373,679,260.2 being used for the transport and you get what I am talking about. I don’t want to hear “no capacity nonsense” …printing the ballot papers in Kenya given that money can be done even by one individual

Remember there is “Do IT in Kenya” campaign which has been going on for sometime. One of the main point of do it in Kenya is “International and local ICT positioning of the Country” . Now a country that can’t do a simple printing of ballot papers….?

During the Presidential debate many candidates talked about the wastage in the Government and this is one practical example . I know there are politics involved in these things but up to when?

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Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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