Curiosity rises as IEBC biometric tender put off
Last updated on 31 Jul 2012 00:00
By MARTIN MUTUA
Kenya’s electoral body faces a race against time to put in place an electronic voter registration system after cancelling a Sh3.9 billion tender on the back of intense public scrutiny.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is boxed into a corner with elections just seven months away and the spectre of a return to the much-faulted manual voter registration, blamed for the rigging that marred the ill-fated 2007 polls.
The official explanation from the IEBC was that none of the four companies originally shortlisted to supply the biometric voter registration kits met the full requirements of the tender.
And tension at the IEBC’s offices in Nairobi was palpable with speculation that at least one official might have to carry the cross of the failed procurement.
Timelines for voter registration that had been set by the IEBC ahead of the March 4, 2013 elections are also likely to be affected since the commission had clearly set out when the process would be completed.
The Isaack Hassan-led team must now devise new strategies on timeliness that will enable it to meet its targets and still deliver a credible General Election.
Already civic education for the close to 12 million voters is yet to be undertaken and time is of the essence if the pitfalls that culminated in the 2007/8 post election violence are to be avoided.
The tendering process for the biometric kits sparked vicious boardroom wars within IEBC and forced the initial tendering committee chaired by Ms. Praxedes Tororey to throw in the towel.
Another committee was picked to carry on with the tendering process but the IEBC is now left with three options with which to move the process forward.