Petitioner contests IEBC's Kiems kit tender award to dutch firm

Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) kit. [David Gichuru, Standard]

A petitioner has moved to court to challenge the electoral agency's award of the multi-billion shilling Kenya Integrated, Elections Management System (KIEMS) to a firm based in The Netherlands.

Mr Stephen Mirambo noted that the award of the tender for supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintenance of the KIEMS and hardware equipment and accessories to Smartmatic company was unconstitutional, unlawful and irregular for breaching the Constitution.   

In a petition filed at the High Court on Monday, Mirambo noted that the declaration that the tendering process for the entire Tender proceeding No. IEBC /OIT/001/21/2020/2021 and No. IEBC /OIT/001/21/2021/2022 dated 14th April 2021 and 22nd September 2021, respectively offended the Articles 10, 81, 86 and 227 of the Constitution and the public procurement and elections laws.

Mirambo called for nullification of the entire tender proceeding and a fresh process.

The tender wars at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) threaten to derail tight election timelines it must beat to ensure a fair and credible General Election.

Disgruntled parties who bid and missed out on the tenders are set to formally lodge appeals at the courts this coming week further denying the agency time to prepare.

The tender wars puts the Wafula Chebukati-led commission in a precarious situation, months to the election and reflects back to 2017 where the ballot tender was cancelled by courts a month to election.

Inadvertently, the court battles will force IEBC to conduct an expensive election as they maybe forced to do direct procurement to beat deadlines.

Both the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS) and ballot papers printing are two integral components of the election and the delay in procuring of the two could affect the quality of the August 9, 2022 General Election.

Kiems kit tender include the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintenance of software and hardware equipment and accessories for the running of the election and a winner of tender would need time to prepare and ensure there are no gaps.

Sources have indicated that the courts are expected to consolidate all IEBC cases from all aggrieved vendors for inter parties hearing this Friday.

The firms are challenging the award of supply of KIEMS kits to Smartmatic and ballot printing tender to Greek firm Inform P Lykos Holdings. 

Already, the tender on printing of ballot papers is being fought at the Court of Appeal where one of the disgruntled suppliers challenged the award.

Inform P Lykos Holdings had been picked from a pool of 12 firms that had bid for supply of 138 ballot papers for 23 million voters in six elective positions.

A three-year open international tender would also see the firm provide election result declaration forms to be used at the constituency, county and national tallying centre.

Inform P Lykos Holdings beat firms such as Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC, United Printing and Publishing LLC and Masar Printing and Publishing and Kenya’s Ellams Products Limited and Africa Infrastructure Development Company.

Others are United Kingdom’s Go Inspire Solutions and TALL Security Print Limited, UNIPINT, a division of Inside data (South) PTY LTD, Aerovote Security Print and Electoral Supplies (Ghana), Seshaasai Business Forms PVT Ltd (India) and Kwanginsa Company Ltd (South Korea).

Already, self-styled public litigant Okiya Omtatah has moved to court to challenge the award of ballot printing papers to the Greek firm.

The petitioner Risk Africa Innovatis Limited, challenging the Smartmatic awarded KIEMS tender argue that the data migration was not budgeted for at the time the tender was floated.

Also the Risk Africa Innovatis Limited claim the procurement was not done with fully constituted commission as there were only three members at the time they tender was procured.

The petitioners also question the integrity of the Smartmatic saying the company left other jurisdictions under a cloud including Philippines, Venezuela, Uganda, Nigeria and US.