IEBC must act wisely to save face
That Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan and CEO James Oswago have differed over Biometric Voter Registration kit tender should worry the electorate.
It’s really unfortunate this had to happen at a time preparation for General Election are moving into high gear.
After working so hard to regain Kenyans’ confidence, following erosion of the same by the defunct ECK, it is sad IEBC is throwing in the towel.
Following the aftermath of the disputed 2007 elections, there was need for a credible polls body that would take the country away from the miasma of ethnic hatred and violence.
When ECK was wound up, as part of the peace agreement of 2008, Interim Independent Electoral Commission was created and mandated to oversee electoral matters until last year when IEBC replaced it.
Through its grueling efforts, IEBC, though gradually, started to gain credence with Kenyans. Many thought the ignominy suffered by ECK and the bloodshed our country plunged into had been consigned to oblivion.
Lately, however, IEBC has been involved in issues that could undermine its hard-earned credibility. For instance, its request for more than Sh40 billion to conduct elections appalled many.
Though the need to hold free, fair and transparent elections could not be downplayed, it was mind-boggling where such an amount would come from. Of course the Treasury could not avail it and the poll body had no choice but to slash its budget.
IEBC is embroiled in a BVR tendering row, which threatens to undo the gains so far. It is suspicious how the tender was first awarded to an Indian company with dubious credibility only for it to be cancelled and given to Symphony, a company with equally dented credentials.
Despite Symphony admitting its incapacity to supply BVR kit without depending on its German partner, and even after claims it had been blacklisted in 1994 for shoddy performance, IEBC overlooked all this and awarded the tender. Anyone can smell a rat.