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UAE’s Thuraya transforms the Kenyan elections for remote citizens

IEBC Staff using Thuraya SatSleeve during the elections; Credits: Thuraya

Thuraya has confirmed 100% transmission results for recent local elections in Kenya held in remote county assembly wards, enhancing the credibility of the electoral process. The success rate followed the deployment of satellite coverage, extensive training and support work provided in conjunction with Airtel Kenya.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the regulatory agency responsible for conducting and supervising referenda and elections in Kenya, needs to achieve full and immediate transmission of results. A delay in the confirmation of election results and declaration of winners prompts credibility concerns.

In October, the IEBC were facing a particularly difficult challenge. Four by-elections were being held in county assembly wards that had limited or no terrestrial coverage. In Mosiro, in the Rift Valley, and Kalokol, on the western shore of Lake Turkana, there is no GSM coverage at all.

A joint team from both Thuraya and Airtel created a 14-day support program. IEBC election officers were given comprehensive training, as well as a results simulation exercise and technical support on election day itself.

The results were comprehensive: operating with Thuraya SatSleeve and Samsung J2 smartphones, the IEBC reported 100% transmission results in both Mosiro and Kalokol. Transmission was successful, using a specially developed mobile app that can be downloaded from Google Play Store and which is compatible with smartphones.

Bilal El Hamoui, Chief Commercial Officer; Credits: Thuraya

Bilal Hamoui, Thuraya Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Thuraya is uniquely placed to transform how the electoral process works in remote regions across Africa. Only we can take smart applications and apply them through the ground breaking Thuraya SatSleeve device. We are delighted this investment in equipment, expertise and training has been such a success in Kenya. It’s a vote of confidence in Thuraya’s technology, which can connect anybody, anywhere; we’re looking forward to replicating this in future elections and in other locations.”

In the two wards with limited GSM coverage – Sala, in Tana River County, and Nyacheki, in the Gucha district – transmission of the results was achieved through the GSM operators network.

James Buyekane, ICT Director, and Lauranta Chepkwony, Network Engineer, at IEBC said: “The Commission are grateful to Thuraya and Airtel Kenya for the training and technical support provided during the by-elections, and the dedicated support they provided throughout the training period.”

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