Somaliland: World’s Guinea Pig for Use of IRS Scanner Technology to Stem Voter Fraud


As International Observers Look Forward to Positive Electoral Process Conclusion while protests ensue in Burao and east Hargeisa
Somaliland 1st in World to Use IRS Scanner Technology to Stem Voter Fraud

By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- Somaliland has become the the world’s guinea pig for iris-recognition technology at a presidential poll,
The yet to be recognized country became the first in the world to use the scanners, which is the world’s most sophisticated voting register during presidential elections held on 13th November 2017
Quoting the National elections spokesperson Saeed Ali Muse, reports that Somaliland’s implementation of iris recognition devices follow incidents involving duplication of voters and other alleged fraud and logistic problems dating back to the 2008 elections.
As a result, Somaliland sought out international experts in the biometrics field and started preparing for the election since 2015. Biometric expert at the Notre Dame University, Professor Kevin Bowyer, was contacted to help determine the best of the various face, finger and iris recognition technologies. The latter was pegged as being superior.
The eyes of registered voters were scanned to verify their identity before they are cleared to vote. Also, social media was blocked during the voting process.
Support for technological advancement on the continent is reflected by the African Union’s inclusion of the Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa Strategy.
Ghana, Kenya and Angola all use the fingerprint biometric to identify registered voters.
Success of of Somaliland as guinea pig in the technology is reflected by the fact that rampant double and sometimes triple voting experienced in past elections was completely absent in the just concluded poll.
According to the 60 strong international election observers mission which covered over 350 polling stations nationwide hopes were high that the implementation of the voter registration system will address issues that have marred previous elections,
In its second post election report the EOM congratulated the Somaliland people on a peaceful poll while looking forward to a positive conclusion to the electoral process
Read: International Observers Look Forward to Positive Electoral Process Conclusion
In the meantime the security forces have been placed on high alert following sporadic violence starting in Burao town and extending to the eastern parts of the capital Hargeisa.
The reported violence is related to rumours of vote rigging by the ruling Kulmiye party thence violent protests by Wadani supporters that were only calmed in both towns by prompt police action and calls by Abdirahman Irro the Wadani party presidential candidate.
This violence is more related to the procrastination emanating from within NEC which has failed to released results on the 16th November as promised and subsequent postponement to first the 17th and later on the 26th November.
And as the electoral body procrastinate for one reason or another the entire country is gripped by speculation in which Wadani and Kulmiye parties supporters claim victory.
While the tallying process is completely in camera leaked information from within the electoral body indicate squabbles as to the final results of the 13th November exercise as well as rumored rigging.
What one fails to understand the cast votes as per registered voters issued with cards is slightly over 700,000 of which counting was made at each individual polling station with subsequent tallying at district, regional and national levels, is what is keeping NEC from releasing results thence negate tensions
Whether allegations of rigging are true or not the first post election report by the international elections observer mission indicate that a few anomalies were noted among them underage voters, interference by security personnel, recount dispute leading to entire scrapping of votes cast in Badan district among a few
Read International Observers congratulate Somalilanders on Peaceful conclusion of elections
But until NEC releases its final tally and losers congregate the winner then the tensions will not only remain but exacerbate Allah Forbid