NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) sent mixed signals on Monday after it announced cancellation and soon after reinstated the procurement for Biometric Voter Registration kits following a row in the tendering process.
IEBC Chief Executive Officer James Oswago had announced the cancellation on Monday afternoon.
“This is to inform all the bidders who participated in the above tender that the procurement process has been terminated.”
However, the commission’s Procurement Manager Bernard Nyachio later pulled out the advertisement which was scheduled to be published on the local dailies on Tuesday.
This follows a controversy that emerged after the IEBC failed to award the tender for the Biometric Voter Registration kits to the lowest evaluated bidder.
The evaluation committee had recommended 4G Identity Solution Pvt Limited in time for voter registration to start this month but the process hangs in the balance following intrigues within the commission over the Sh3.9 billion tender.
The row over the purchase of the 9,750 Biometric Voter Registration kits has sent fresh fears of delays in the electoral process, with the IEBC bosses admitting registration of voters, which was to take off mid-next month will now be pushed to early September due to the delay in acquisition of the kit.
The Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) has also questioned the manner the tendering process was undertaken. Pressure has been mounting on IEBC to cancel the tenders in a bid to restore transparency in the procurement process.
On Sunday Civil Society Organisations under the banner of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice also called for the cancellation of the tender terming it as ‘flawed’.
The group said that the process failed to inspire public confidence and that a new process must be initiated.
Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa last Wednesday cautioned Kenyans against tainting the image of the IEBC and promised that it would resolve the tendering controversy.
IEBC plans to register 18 million voters electronically.