IEBC is not handling the biometric registration kit issue professionally
Posted Thursday, October 18 2012 at 20:00
- The 5,000 voter registration machines expected today aren’t coming after all.
- Apparently, the equipment has not been paid for
I was so horrified to learn of the growing mess in the procurement of voter registration equipment by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that I threw away the column I had written in favour of fulminating over that very topic.
The 5,000 voter registration machines expected today aren’t coming after all. This was to be part of the 15,000 pieces required to capture and store biometric information for the purpose of identifying voters and preventing rigging.
Apparently, the equipment has not been paid for. According to the spin, the equipment was to be paid for through a government-to-government financing arrangement.
Talks on that are incomplete, it is intimated. Apparently, the IEBC paid 40 per cent of the cost of the equipment; it is the 60 per cent balance which is in question.
If they paid 40 per cent of the price, why then are they not getting what they have paid for, which is 6,000 pieces? Why have they taken delivery of only 196?
The last time I checked, IEBC had in its budget something like Sh4.1 billion shillings for biometric equipment. Why not write another cheque? What did you do with the money?
I also hear there are questions about a server for the transmission of the results, that the one that IEBC has might not be sufficient. When did they realise this?
Even the guy who is going to manage the transmission of those results, a Mr Nyimbi Odera, is employed by the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission, whom IEBC wants to borrow for six months.
What kind of expertise does Mr Odera have that IEBC is procuring at this late stage and why time-share such an important employee? Why not advertise the job and get someone permanently?
I feel the IEBC is not treating this critical election with sufficient seriousness, that it is engaged in an exercise of foot-dragging on the issue of biometric kit.
Does IEBC want this biometric equipment or not? If it does not, why not?
The nabobs at IEBC need to get this through their heads: Kenyans don’t want that kienyeji, smoke-signal technology of registering voters which has been used to rig elections.
They want, and have paid for, a biometric system. That’s the one you are going to use.
The bosses at IEBC are behaving in this irresponsible manner because they possibly believe that they are untouchable.
Ways must be explored to sack, as a matter of great public interest, those who are failing to deliver and replace them with people whose heads are screwed on right.
* * *
It’s been an interesting week, humbling in parts, infuriating in others. I have been attacked, vandalised, abused, chided, corrected, taught, misread, threatened, lauded, excoriated.
My friends from Kilifi were surprisingly evenly divided between the lot that thinks I should be strung up pronto and the group that thinks, yeah, you may have had a point there, but couldn’t you have found a gentler way of putting it?