However, the breakthrough did not come easy: It took the intervention of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga after IEBC chose the manual system that is partly blamed for the mess and manipulation of 2007 election results.
It was also the recommendation of Justice Johann Krigler Commission that the country had to drop the unreliable manual system for the electronic version if it was to avoid the suspicions and bloodshed of the last elections. This was the same message US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton brought when she came to Kenya a fortnight ago.
The cancellation of BVR tender triggered public outrage with some presidential aspirants – Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Mrime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua, Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and Raila – criticising the decision.
It was against the backdrop of the outrage that Kibaki and Raila met Hassan’s team last week. The cost-saving and less complicated process of soliciting the kits from other governments was agreed upon at the meeting.
The Government was then tasked to negotiate with other governments to circumvent the bureaucratic State procurement rules to fast track the acquisition.
Hassan had told the meeting his commission preferred the BVR system, but had been bogged down by “cumbersome procurement laws and procedures, political and vendor rivalry”.
The onus is now on the IEBC to declare its roadmap for the March 4, elections to stem rising tension and speculation.
Whereas the IEBC has indicated that voter registration is scheduled to start next month, when other processes such as civic education begin is not clear.
Hassan had conceded that there was widespread disapproval of manual registration of voters. Pressure from political leadership, Parliament, the Executive, and civil society, he said, made them to review the earlier decision.
The pace was equally set by the Cabinet a fortnight ago when under the chairmanship of the President drew its weight behind the BVR system. This, they argued, would ensure a credible election through a process firewalled against manipulation.
Clinton first met President Kibaki, then Raila, House Speaker Kenneth Marende, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, and IEBC commissioners. In the meeting with Marende, Mrs Clinton is said to have impressed upon the Speaker that the electronic voting system was the way to go.