Dilly-dallying over kit will delay elections
Posted Monday, July 30 2012 at 18:48
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on Monday cancelled an announcement on scrapping of the controversial tender for electronic voter registration equipment.
That was just the latest illustration of how the procurement is increasingly becoming a circus and a source of unending acrimony.
In the circumstances, starting afresh might be the logical thing to do. There was no reason to go through the rigmarole of conducting due diligence when serious doubts had been expressed about some bidders.
Accusations have been flying all over, including allegations from a losing bidder of extortion by government officials.
Some bidders have waged propaganda war to force a fresh tender. No concrete evidence, though, was adduced to justify claims of corruption.
Inevitably, politicians got sucked into the row.
In particular, there were concerns that some people were hell-bent on influencing the procurement process so they could manipulate the electoral process.
Second, there were fears that the controversy was likely to delay the procurement, and in turn, affect activities that should be undertaken before the elections, such as voter registration.
Third, the delay would ultimately have a bearing on the election date in the sense that without proper preparation, voting would not take place as scheduled in March next year.
In a nutshell, the controversy had a potentially negative impact on the elections. Yet, having gone through the chaos of 2007/8 triggered by a dispute over the election results, the least one expected was a row over the process.
But every cloud has a silver lining. The commission has a perfect chance to do the right thing. Let it advertise afresh and secure the best procurement experts to manage the transaction with speed.