Following an earlier statement by IEBC that there are 11,155 polling stations across the country without 3G/4G network coverage, Kenyans on Twitter including me demanded from IEBC to publish the entire list of all affected polling stations. The IEBC has since responded and provided this link.
The actual polling stations with poor network signal for transmitting results. May mean a relative delay https://t.co/ljs9YyvWFB
— IEBC (@IEBCKenya) August 6, 2017
Immediately I saw the link, I downloaded the IEBC list and checked at the polling stations I know of. One of the polling stations I checked is the Homabay Municipal Hall, then two local primaries schools right inside my rural village. As I had explained in this article, my rural primary school has the H+ 3G network, but according to the IEBC list, both the Homabay Municipal Hall and the two village primary schools do not have 3G/4G coverage.
I published the link from IEBC on my Facebook Timeline from where Fredrick Ombako picked it to check for polling stations listed from his Siaya County. Here is his observation:
I can confirm that my polling center is one of the centers that IEBC has listed as not having network coverage. In fact, it looks like the whole of Siaya County is listed as not having the connection.
The problem is, they listed only Telkom Kenya Limited and Airtel as the service providers. Here, we usually use Safaricom for Internet. Why didn’t IEBC engage Safaricom? Why use the two providers that don’t have the coverage?
Going through the list, you’ll notice that there are several polling stations where Telkom Kenya and Airtel were allocated to provide coverage. As we all know, the networks by Telkom Kenya and Airtel are very limited, as these two are very small telcos compared to Safaricom.
Now, the best IEBC could have done is to use Safaricom has the primary network provider, then use either Telkom Kenya or Airtel as the secondary provider depending on the availability of their networks in the specific polling station.
For example, according to IEBC List, there is no 3G/4G network coverage at Kome Primary school in Homabay county, yet the primary school has a strong Safaricom 3G network. The other strong network available for Kome primary school is Airtel network. If IEBC followed my reasoning above, then Kome Primary school could have been covered by 3G network. But since IEBC decided to allocate Telkom Kenya and Airtel to that primary school, networks that do have 3G coverage in that area, Kome primary school is now listed as a polling station without 3G/4G network coverage.
As you can see, the allocation of mobile network operators (MNOs) to offer coverage to polling stations/counties without considering whether that MNO has 3G/4G network coverage in the sole cause of the problem the IEBC is currently facing.
IEBC should therefore come out and explain the criteria they used to allocate coverage for the MNOs. These artificially created problems are the reasons many refuse to believe them when they say they will offer free, fair and credible elections.