Five things to know about Smartmatic Company
Not much was known about Smartmatic Company in Kenya until it was contracted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to transmit the August 9, 2022 election results.
In the past few days, the firm has hogged news headlines for all controversial reasons amid concerns on how it has so far handled the election preparedness as Kenyans prepare to elect a new President.
So what are the five things you need to know about Smartmatic Company?
1.Early days – The firm was formed in the year 2000 by one Antonio Mugica, who serves as its current Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Mugica has shared the company’s vision, stating it aims to create technologies that will help improve societies around the world.
Besides Mugica, the firm’s global management team includes Roger Pinate (President), Andreas Rombola (President, global sales), and Andres Rombola (President Smartmatic Latam).
2. Dealings – Upon its formation in Florida, the firm embarked on securing software for banking and Internet of Things (IoT).
It appears to have specialized on the election related services and for years it has recorded and tabulated more than 6.5 billion votes with minimal security breaches.
“Smartmatic’s people around the world live our pledge to you, our customers, and to the deal of free and fair elections,” the company boasts in its manifesto.
It also vows to ensure remain impartial and independent, and provide the best services and products, harness the full power of technology and maintains the highest standards of transparency.
3. Outreach – Smartmatics has worked in over 30 countries across all continents.
These include USA, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Ecuador, Bolvia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Benin, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, Barbados, Curacao, Haiti, Bulgaria, Italy, Albania, Belgium, United Kingdom (UK), The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Estonia, Georgia and Armenia.
Other countries are; Oman, Kenya, Uganda, Singapore, Zambia, Australia, Taiwan and Philippines.
4. Controversies – In its 22 year existence, the firm stands accused of mismanaging polls in the USA and Philippines.
In the USA, it faced allegations of conducting an improper presidential election in November 3, 2020 in favour of former US President Donald Trump.
The firm denies these allegations and has sought legal redress.
5. DCI vs Smartmatic vs IEBC – The most recent controversy has been experienced in Kenya after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) accused the Kenya police of illegally arresting officials of the firm.
This after the National Police Service (NPS) announced it had arrested three Venezuelan nationals identified as Mr Jose Gregorio Camarco, Mr Joel Gustavo and Mr Salvador Javier who were found in possession of election materials in their personal luggage.
IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati later claimed the arrest would affect elections.
Mr Marjan Hussein Marjan, the Electoral body’s Chief Executive later confirmed the arrested were his employees.
This was disputed by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti who claims the trio had arrived in the country with expired passports and were not staff of the firm.