Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - A Kenyan non-profit company has launched a website which lets voters report irregularities at the polling stations of the US presidential elections being held today, 8 November.
"Ushahidi", which means "testimony" in Kiswahili, was born after the violence that hit Kenya following the elections of 27 December 2007, won by the then incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and challenged by opposition leader Raila Odinga. At least a thousand people were killed and millions were displaced due to clashes on ethnic grounds (see Fides 21/10/2008).
The philosophy behind the program developed by Ushahidi provides voters to report any irregularities or problems they may encounter at the polling stations, or to draw a map of the clashes by sending a message to the company's system. Ushahidi was also used in cases of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, to facilitate rescue operations. American voters for example, can flag up that ballot papers have run out or that disabled people have a hard time accessing the polling booth.
"My real hope is that on Wednesday we look at the report and that 99.9 percent of reports say: 'Everything went great!", said Nat Manning, President of Ushahidi to Deutsche Welle. Ushahidi has its headquarters in Nairobi with about 30 employees working in eight countries. A consolidated African reality born in the wake of a dramatic event but has become a reference point for the whole world. The next major test is the Kenyan presidential and legislative elections, which will hopefully take place peacefully (see Fides 30/05/2016 and 15/06/2016). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/11/2016)