NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has said it will revert to manual voter registration should the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits not be in the country by November 5.
Chairman Isaack Hassan issued the cautionary statement on Thursday as the government finally signed letters of credit with the French company that is to supply the kits.
“Is there a plan B? Yes, there’s a plan B. We’ll go back to our manual register. We have a register of 12.4 million people. We will update that one. But that’s the worst case scenario and I’m hoping we don’t have to get there,” said Hassan.
He was speaking at the signing of a loan agreement between the government of Kenya and Standard Chartered Bank, London. The government received a loan of 65 million Euros (Sh7.2 billion) to enable it to have the BVR kits in the country by the November 5.
The IEBC boss said the latest the kits should be in the country is November 5, but preferably October 30 to better facilitate the training of clerks on their use.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae attributed the delay in the procurement of the kits to Standard Chartered’s legal counsel saying they delivered the documents requiring the Attorney General’s approval late.
The Treasury and the Attorney General’s office had earlier in the week traded accusations over who was to blame for the delay in delivery of the BVR kits.
Standard Chartered, Kenya CEO Richard Etemesi however denied any transgression saying, “deals of this kind are normally negotiated for between three and six months. This was done in a month.”
The loan was acquired at an interest rate of five percent and the government has up to 10 years to pay it back.
The number of BVR kits being increased to 15,000 from 9,000 and IEBC changing the specifications of the kits was another reason for the delay, Githae said.
The loan ensures the BVR kits are paid for in full changing the original plans to make payments on the remaining 60 percent of the cost of the kits at a later date.
The kits will also be flown into the country to save time.