No doubt the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is working under a different and technologically advanced environment than its predecessor. The 2013 IEBC, though not working in the stone age, the Kenyan market was less infiltrated with smartphone. People owning advanced smartphones were less and far in between; those smartphones were not as advanced as today’s smartphones.
These days someone with a good camera on their smartphone could easily start a photo/video journalism career. Kenya is one of the top target markets in Africa for OEMs like Samsung, iPhone, Huawei, and Tecno among others. Needless to say, Kenyans are into selfies, more than they were a little less than half a decade ago.
So it will come as no surprise if you find some Kenyans take a selfie with their marked ballot papers at hand, and sharing it on social media. The IEBC has preempted such a scenario and has come out to issue a warning to the public.
Unless you are a journalist give explicit permission by the IEBC to cover the August 8th polls, you are not allowed to take pictures while inside the polling station. This announcement was made by the IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati.
“Voting is supposed to be secret. It is illegal to show everyone or post on any social media group who you have voted for,” warned Chebukati.
It does not take a rocket scientist to see why it is inappropriate for people to take selfies showing their face and a marked ballot paper in their hand. If allowed, it opens room for crooked politicians, to bribe the voter and demand photographic evidence to prove they voted for them before getting paid.
As it is currently, voting is by secret, and although politicians do bribe voters, they have no evidence that the electorate will vote for them. For all you know, a voter might take the bribe with no hesitation but at the booth vote for your opponent without thinking twice.
This move by IEBC is in line with its mandate to protect the right of a voter to a secret ballot, as stipulated in the Kenyan Constitution.