By PNA / Xinhua and U.S. News Agency / Asian
The Kenyan government has finally finalized agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) for the supply of 15,000 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits to enable the East African nation to hold credible polls in 2013.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae said on Tuesday that the move will enable 15,000 BVR kits will be delivered in three phases and each batch will have 5,000 kits and this will be airlifted to save time.
Githae assured Kenyans that the forthcoming polls will be held on schedule as the Treasury will provide all the necessary support requires to ensure the success of the exercise.
“Treat as rumor mongering anybody suggesting that there is anybody who wants to change the date of elections. Treasury will provide all the necessary funding to IEBC and all the other organs required,” he said.
Githae said the deal was finalized on Monday and reiterated that the government wants free, fair and credible elections to avoid a repeat of 2007 elections which was largely blamed on the electoral commission.
The electoral commission says it has put measures in place to vet its officials who will be handling elections at the voting areas to reduce incidences of fraud that contributed the dispute in the presidential vote in the previous election.
For instance, results from the polling stations will now be transmitted electronically to the final votes announcement center unlike before when they were done manually and therefore exposed to fraud en route to the headquarters.
The delay in delivering the BVR has led to the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) to amend its timetable several times making the voter registration exercise that was supposed to be carried out in September and October moved to November.
The Treasury has reportedly paid 28.23 million U.S. dollars to Safron Morpho without the consent of the Attorney General but delayed to release 44.5 million dollars balance after questions were raised on grave legal loopholes on the procurement process allegedly prompting the government to single handedly procure the machines.
The agreement for sale and purchase of BVR hardware and software between the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and Treasury/IEBC was signed on Sept. 24 and the Attorney General acted expeditiously on this issue.
IEBC said it was committed to conducting a free, fair, transparent and credible general election which is due on March 4, 2013.
“The Commission is working harmoniously with the office of the Attorney General and the Treasury to fast track the issue of the facility agreement. We believe in dialogue and this is what defines our relationship and engagement with all our esteemed partners,” IEBC chairman Isack Hassan said in a statement.
The electoral commission said it will also invest heavily in logistical equipment like generators to ensure that opportunities for ballot stuffing are eliminated.
Kenya gave a letter of commitment to the supplier, Morpho Canada to enable them prepare the equipment as soon as they were identified by CCC, the Canadian government’s international contracting and procurement agency.
IEBC targets to register 18 million voters within the stipulated timeline for voter registration and the Commission said it has put in place measures to ensure that the exercise is conducted in a faster and efficient manner by use of the BVR system.
Kenyan political parties are currently positioning themselves for the first-ever election since the passing of a new Kenyan constitution in 2010.
The new constitution was created as a tool to avoid a repeat of the violence that was also blamed on the lack of a transparent political structure and credible state institutions, including the courts.