By Martin Mutua
Kenyans are now guaranteed their names will be in electronic voter register when they vote next year and it will not cost the Sh3.9 billion the electoral body had budgeted.
Not only will the offer by the Canadian Government to donate the equipment bring relief to Kenyans, but it will also raise the question why it was made to look so expensive and the procurement process that difficult and complicated in the first place.
It will also draw attention to the probable reasons internal rivalry and claims of corruption in and outside Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission led to the cancellation of the tenders for the Biometric Voter Register. But the President and Prime Minister reinstated the gadget.
What is even more intriguing, apart from the ease with which Canada will supply the kits, is the fact that whereas IEBC had wanted to buy 9,000 kits for the exercise, the Canadian Government has offered 6,000 more, bringing the total to15, 000.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) and Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed said this during a media briefing at Parliament Buildings, Thursday.
Abdikadir disclosed the ongoing talks between Kenya and Canada seemed to have sealed the deal.
He said the Canadian Government will procure the equipment through a concessionary loan to Kenya, and, therefore, IEBC will not spend a single coin on the equipment.
“This means IEBC can now use the initial Sh3.9 billion it had budgeted (for BVR) on other items for the process,” he added.
The move now ends the saga around the procurement of the BVR kits that has dominated the public debate for two months now.
Political intrigues, vested interests, and wheeler dealing and broking for various companies by individuals had threatened to stall the electronic voter registration, as groups fought to outdo each other in the award of tender.
Accusations and counter-accusations flew around the country over which company should be awarded or denied the tender. At one point IEBC team led by Isaack Hassan decided to do away with the hi-tech and more efficient process.