It has been clear for many months that the IEBC’s procurement of BVR kits was irregular. It is now quite clear that even after Kenyan civil society called the IEBC on the carpet on that problem, the IEBC engaged in clear misconduct in buying the “poll book” system. When they were caught, the procurement was allowed to go through because of the limited amount of time before the election. The “poll book” book system largely failed and on election day polling stations used a wholly manual system–a printout on paper.
See the details on the fraudulent bidding here from the today’s Standard: “Minutes reveal how IEBC bought faulty gadgets”:
A review of the tendering procedure by the public procurement regulator found out the tender to supply poll books was awarded to the South African firm, which participated in the Anglo Leasing scandal, on September 29 last year, three weeks before the technical evaluation among the shortlisted bidders.
In other words, the bidding was a sham, because the “winner”, which never could produce a working system, was selected in advance, before the evaluation of which systems worked–and thus the working systems never had a real rather than a pretend opportunity to be selected over the non-working system.
Getting down into details, the failure of this key procurement left a situation in which much of the presumed value of the Biometric Voter Registration was lost because there was no ability to use any automated voter list at the polls. The use of the paper print out opens a big window for fraud because one would have to obtain and verify each of the individual print outs from more than 33,000 polling stations to know whether what was used on paper matched up with the central voter registration list in Nairobi (leaving aside the fact that the IEBC never finalized and published a uniform voter registration list as required, which makes the issue doubly important).
I have no way to know whether the IEBC was simply corrupt in its procurement practices resulting unintentionally in the failure of the poll book system, or whether there was some deliberate intent within the IEBC to avoid the application of the electronic system.
Assuming for the sake of argument that no one at the IEBC deliberately wanted to undermine the intended voting systems, it remains quite clear that the IEBC engaged in conduct that clearly violated the public trust in preparing for the election. So how can we simply trust the same body on the vote tally itself?