We have seen an upsurge in information policy after the new commissioners of the Kenyan IEBC took office. Since January 2017, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has published 11 press releases and a number of other news – along with data that was useful and worth analyzing. To see what this data is good for, read our last post on the concentration of faulty voter data in certain wards and constituencies that is based on the data from one of the press releases.
But still, we at RoGGKenya.org as a service for media suggest an even wider opening for the public to access the data the IEBC has. After all, IEBC is not the owner of the data. It is the whole Kenyan citizenship that is entitled to scrutinize them.
Release the Constituency Voter Registration Data!
Example: The IEBC publishes its progress in voter registration on the basis of county data only. But the constituency and ward data are withheld though they are much more meaningful. With the more detailed data at hand, the media could at least partly probe if the many allegations of tribal and party-oriented biases in voter registration are just rumors and fake news or if they have have some truth to it – and what the truth really means. The way it is now, all sides can just spread allegations and rebuttals of these allegations, without any foundation in facts. This is very unfortunate – the rumors will not disappear, only because they cannot be proven by facts. So the IEBC should publish the more detailed data for everybody.
Show an Archive of the older Data!
It seems that the new commission has also relaunched the iebc.or.ke web site. But some of the data that were on the old site have disappeared in the process of the relaunch, for example the IEBC pdf file with the status of the voter registration procedures as of August 2016. These – and other – files should also be uploaded again and made available to the public. (BTW, if any of our colleagues has in earlier months downloaded such data, please make it available to all others – possibly by mailing it to us at RoGGKenya.org)
Take care of the published IEBC Data!
Another example is the comprehensive election timeline the old IEBC had published. We keep waiting for a substitute. Therefore we were delighted to see that at least a changed timeline for the nomination of candidates was put online this Friday, Feb 10, 2017. See screenshot.
Well, the link to the press release is there. But its file is gone and only 129 people were able to download it. We sincerely hope that the reason is purely technical and that there is no ill intention for whichever reason. And again, dear colleagues, please send us the file and its attachments if you are among the 129 who were able to download the file.