IEBC awards Ksh 3B voter technology award to French Company
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has awarded the Ksh 3 billion tender for voter identification and transmission of results to French company, Safran Identity Limited, two days after cancelling that of South Africa’s Gemalto.
In a media briefing, IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati, said that the commission settled on Safran in the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System tender to ensure value for the 3.8 billion shillings the commission remains with.
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“The only technically evaluated bidder quoted a price of Ksh 5.2 billion against the available budget of Ksh 3.8 billion,” said Chebukati.
The poll boss further said that the decision was also reached considering remaining procurement processes, manufacturing, delivery, installation and commissioning would have meant IEBC would not meet all its timelines.
“The Commission has very limited time left to comply with the legal timelines in relation to deployment of ICTs in elections. Safran has undertaken to deliver the technology within the statutory timelines,” he said.
With more than 19 million voters being registered using current BVR system, the IEBC boss said that the voter identification and results transmission aspects will be combined with existing voters database.
“Safran is supporting the Commission to ensure that we have a credible and reliable biometric voters register to be used in the 2017 General Election. We are confident that using Safran at this point in time, there is guarantee for compatibility, timely delivery and accountability in the deployment of the new system.”
While assuring Kenyans of a free, fair and credible election, Chebukati emphasized the need to learn from past mistakes in reference to 2013 General Election.
“As a country, we have to learn from the mistakes of the 2013 elections and build on the strengths. It is for these reasons that the Commission has decided to engage Safran Identity & Security to ensure that statutory timelines are met, we have sufficient project management capacity and, the systems are fully compatible and integrated for the success of the elections.”
“Any other way will jeopardize preparations for the elections.”
This comes just a day after the South African firm, Gemalto, which had been awarded the Ksh3 billion IEBC tender challenged the Commission’s move to cancel their tender.
In a letter dated March 22, 2017 addressed to IEBC CEO, Ezra Chiloba, Gemalto Vice-President, Charles Mevaa, said that the firm could still deliver within set time frames.
“Gemalto SA has full capacity and commitment to work with the commission in order to mitigate the effects of litigation on the tender process and surmount the strict time frames,” read the letter in part.
In a letter to the South African company dated March 21, 2017 that had reached the tender valuation stage, IEBC, through the CEO Ezra Chiloba, cited budgetary and time constraints for the cancellation.
In its termination letter, the commission indicated that the law requires the technology to be in place by 10th of April this year and the commission should as such have had it by end of March for use on 10th May.
“The Commission has lost important lead times due to litigation over the tender,” said Chiloba.
Gemalto ,however, refuted this insisting that: “ We do have a track record of successful deliveries of large scale projects including election related solutions within challenging lead times”.
There have already been concerns on the voter verification process with political parties warning they were watching and only a free and fair process would be acceptable to Kenyans.
The opposition has, however, termed the move as an excuse to use a manual system during the General Election, warning that they will not accept a return of a manual system of voting and transmission of results by the IEBC.
The National Super Alliance led by ANC Deputy Party Leader Kipruto Arap Kirwa on Thursday said the cancellation of the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System is a threat to credible polls on the 8th of August.
In a statement Kirwa claims the move is part of a wider conspiracy to compromise credible elections.