Kenya should investigate the use of blockchain technology to reduce election costs while also improving security and transparency. According to Justus Abonyo, a candidate for the country’s electoral commission, who claims that blockchain will reduce election costs by more than 90%.
Kenya has been one of Africa’s most enthusiastic adopters of digital currencies, surpassing South Africa to become the continent’s second-largest digital currency market after Nigeria. On the other side, blockchain adoption isn’t as widespread. Although startups are using it to alter transportation, land registration, and agriculture, it has failed to gain traction in the country’s economy.
However, Abonyo believes that the East African country’s electoral system should incorporate blockchain technology.
Abonyo, nominated to serve on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as a commissioner, was addressing at a panel hearing assessing the applicants. One of the immediate benefits of blockchain voting, according to him, is the reduction in election costs.
Aside from cost savings, blockchain would help the country move toward computerized voting. Kenya now uses paper ballots exclusively, except for individuals living overseas, whose votes are counted electronically. Although the government has stated its intention to integrate electronic voting, no real steps have been taken.
According to the local newspaper The Star, Abonyo argued that blockchain voting would improve security and transparency. Kenya is preparing for a general election in 2022, and the country is already divided along political and ethnic lines.
Kenyan elections have always been a contentious issue. Only one election has been held in the last three decades without substantial electoral intervention and vote fraud charges, and that was in 2002. These allegations peaked in 2007 when post-election violence erupted after one party believed the election had been manipulated, killing over 1,000 people and displacing over 350,000 others.