Accepted paper:

Does technology curb electoral rigging? Evidence from Kenya


Alexander Makulilo (University of Dar es Salaam)

Paper short abstract:

Electoral rigging in Africa is widespread leading to violence and political instability. Nonetheless, countries are adopting digital technology in ensuring free and fair elections. Using Kenya as a case, the paper argues that ruling regimes often manipulate technology to aiding fraud.

Paper long abstract:

Electoral rigging, either perceived or actual, is endemic in Africa. Empirical evidence shows that instances of electoral rigging are widespread leading to violence and political instability. As an attempt to curb rigging, African countries are increasingly adopting the use of digital technology in managing elections. It is often argued that the introduction of biometric voter registration and biometric voter identification on an election day increases accuracy and integrity of the ballot hence free and fair election. Contrary to this expectation, ruling regimes in Africa have often manipulated technology to aiding fraud and rigging. With technology, regimes, unlike in the past where they used blatant and crude strategies in rigging elections, in recent times the process is made 'scientifically' and sometimes disregarded by election observers. Using the two landmark Kenya's Supreme Court cases of 2013 and 2017, the paper holds that the failure of technology in curbing electoral rigging is largely premeditated.

panel Pol05
Technology and democracy in Africa