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Electoral agency’s preparations for August polls dealt another blow

Preparations for the August elections have been dealt a blow after the public procurement board annulled a decision by IEBC to cancel the tender for a new system to manage the polls.

The Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) was to become operational as from this month.

The Public Procurement Administrative Review Board’s decision against IEBC now means that all the poll agency’s major tenders involving multi-billion shillings, the one on ballot papers, auditing of the voters register and the digital platform tender, have met legal challenges; raising further questions on the credibility of the August elections. The decision also raises questions if the country will go to the polls on August 8 or not.

The recent order comes after one of the firms involved in the tender, the American firm Avante International Technology, appealed to the Tribunal.

The recent order comes after one of the firms involved in the tender, the American firm Avante International Technology, appealed to the Tribunal.

Last week on Thursday, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that the commission had cancelled the KIEMS tender, regretting “the delays in acquisition of this technology that ideally, according to international best practice, should be completed two years before a major electoral event”.

“The commission will put in place alternative measures to ensure that the integrated electronic technology provided for in Elections Laws (Amendment) Act 2016 is in place by the legal timelines and on time for the May 10th biometric voter verification process,” he said.

Other than being operational from this month, the Act also requires that the system is tested at least 60 days before the polls.
Election.

VOTER VERIFICATION PROCESS

“ In view of provisions of Sections 168 of the Act and for the avoidance of doubt, the procuring entity shall not act on the letter of termination dated 28/2/2017 and shall not re-advertise or in another way procure the services in question pending the hearing of the Request for Review,” the Tribunal noted in its ruling.

KIEMS is required to integrate biometric voter registration, electronic voter identification and electronic transmission of results as stipulated in the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act 2016, specifically Section 44.

READ: IEBC could be forced to restart election preparations – Chiloba

“This system is critical for the success of the 2017 General Elections. It is urgently required to be in place by March to be used for the voter verification process that shall commence on 10 May as per the law,” IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said in a statement issued on February 28 when he announced the cancellation.

The Tribunal’s decision against IEBC now means that all the poll agency’s major tenders involving multi-billion shillings, the one on ballot papers, auditing of the voters register and the digital platform tender, have met legal challenges raising further questions on the credibility of the next general election.

The decision also raises questions if the country will go to elections on August 8 or not.

TENDER TERMINATED

“We raised two concerns. First, IEBC had introduced an addendum requiring that if there were two partners biding together, then the lead partner must have a financial capability of at least Sh3 billion. This clause was not in the tender document and to us therefore it was introduced out of time,” Lawyer Nelson Havi, who is representing Avante, told Nation.

Secondly, Mr Havi further noted, IEBC had not read individual tenderers bid prices as it’s required by law.

On March 1, when the matter came up for hearing, the IEBC lawyer Nani Mungai, informed that Tribunal that there was no need to proceed with the matter basing it on the fact that the tender had been terminated.

Mr Mungai also admitted to the Tribunal that Avante had not been served with the letter of notification of termination of the tender by the IEBC Board.

“Having brought this very fundamental issue to the attention of the Board and the parties, the procuring entity (IEBC) cannot therefore rana away from it,” the Tribunal notes in its ruling.

Subsequently, the Tribunal ordered IEBC to make its submissions to file written responses by today 5 pm in a case that will make or break the next general elections.

On Sunday, Mr Mungai told Nation that IEBC will file its responses as ordered by Monday awaiting for the hearing of the matter scheduled for Tuesday.

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