It was supposed to be the most modern election in African history. Biometric identification kits with electronic thumb pads, registration rolls on laptops at every polling station, and an SMS-relayed, real-time transmission of the results to the National Tallying Center in Nairobi.
Ambitious? Of course. Only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.
But Kenyans pride themselves on leapfrogging when it comes to adapting technology. A country without copper landlines, Kenya developed the world's most popular software for mobile money transfer. A native Kenyan platform for organizing and disseminating online citizen journalism has been deployed in more than 30 countries. Kenya may not have enough paved roads, but the country is constructing a $10-billion "Silicon Savannah" aimed at becoming the continental magnet for IT startups.