24 September 2012

Kenya: Contract for Supply of BVR Kits Finally Signed

Photo: Capital FM
The BVR kits are expected to prevent the occurrence of double registration (file photo).

The Kenyan government has signed a contract with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), for the supply of 15,000 Biometric Voter Registration kits.

The contract was signed in Nairobi by Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua, CCC's Director David Olsen and IEBC's Chief Executive Officer James Oswago.

According to a statement from the IEBC, the kits will be delivered in October 2012 ahead of an anticipated voter registration exercise targeting 18 million Kenyans.

It is hoped that the kits will ensure that the registration process is quick and seamless.

Monday's signing was witnessed by the outgoing Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya David Collins, the Chief Legal Officer at the Ministry of Justice John Tuta, IEBC Commissioners and members of the secretariat.

A government-to-government agreement between Kenya and Canada was made in August this year for the supply of the BVR kits, which are seen as a key step in ensuring that the upcoming general elections are tamper proof as far as double registration is concerned.

Kenya settled on the BVR kits from Canada at a crucial high-level meeting on August 6 that was convened to salvage a dire situation occasioned by a failed tendering process for the equipment by the IEBC.

After cancelling the BVR tender, the IEBC intended to use the Optical Mark Reader - which was utilised in the 2010 referendum - to register voters.

The meeting between President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and IEBC officials that opted to secure the BVR kits also agreed that amendments would be made to the Elections Act, to reduce the period for closure of the voters' register from 90 days to 45 days before the elections.

After the government-to-government agreement was made, Kenya gave a letter of commitment to the supplier, Morpho Canada Inc., to enable them prepare the equipment as soon as they were identified.

The Canadian Government's International Contracting and Procurement Agency gave a written undertaking on the integrity and commercial standing of the firm supplying the BVR kits.

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