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IEBC issues tenders for 2022 election materials

By Moses Nyamori | July 14th 2021
Agents and IEBC officials stay vigil next to Ballot Boxes at Bobasi Constituency at Nyamache Boys High School tallying centre on Thursday, August 10, 2017. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The electoral agency is procuring 100 electoral materials in readiness for 2022 general election and a possible referendum.

In an advert, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) invited international tender bids for a contract that will run three years to supply election and referendum declaration forms, ballot papers, registrar of voters among other electoral materials.

The commission will also advertise for local bids for by-elections next week, chairman Wafula Chebukati disclosed.

Already, there exist a court ruling halting preparations for the planned plebiscite, And Mr Chebukati explained that the international tender for ballot papers will run for three years and taking into account the strict timelines for the exercise, the winner will supply for the same.

Some of the materials in the Sh6.8 billion tender are for the 2022 General Election, which is a year away.

“IEBC invites sealed tenders for the supply and delivery of ballot papers, registrar of voters, statutory election result declaration forms to be used at the polling station, election and referendum result declaration forms to be used at the constituency, county and national tallying centre on a three-year framework contract,” states the advert.

It adds, “Tendering will be conducted under open international tendering method using a standardised tender document. Tendering is open to all qualified security printing firms.”

Firms seeking to supply the commission will have their tenders campaigned by a tender security in Kenya shillings or easily convertible currency equivalent to Sh20 million valid for 210 days from the date of opening the tender.

“Tender security should be in the form of a bank guarantee. All payments are made to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,” states IEBC.

A High Court bench comprising Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita had in May declared the planned referendum through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as illegal, null and void.

The ruling has since been challenged in the Court of Appeal, and the appellate court directed the IEBC not to engage in any preparations for a possible referendum until the matter is determined next month.

Yesterday, Chebukati explained that the three-year contract was basically for delivery of items for the General Election.

“All ongoing procurement are in preparations for the General Election. The winning company will have a three-year contract. We are procuring for 100 materials,” he said.

The commission boss said that in the event the court will rule in favour of pro-BBI, the commission will have at least 90 days to prepare.

However, former IEBC commissioner Thomas Letangule, faulted the decision to tender for the voter register to be printed by an international or external company. "To tender for voter register I think is not good because you are submitting it to a foreign company and the safety of the register may become compromised, any one can tamper with it," he warned.

Recently, Chebukati said money allocated to the commission was for the elections, suggesting that there was none for a referendum.

The commission was starved of funds since 2018 and has only been receiving recurrent expenditure. Fort instance, it is set to conduct two mass voter registrations targeting four million new voters, and since 2018 it has only registered 147,000. He attributed this to financial constraints.

BBI secretariat had last week told the IEBC to begin preparing for a possible referendum in the event that the Court of Appeal rules in favour of the process.

Secretariat co-chair Junet Mohammed said they expect the commission to be on standby. “If the Court of Appeal clears the Bill, IEBC has to prepare for a referendum. We don’t want to hear stories that they cannot conduct a referendum and a general election,” he said.

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