Printing Ballot Papers – Is there a Scam?

DeepCogitation has the fortitude of appealing to an increasing number of well wishers who are providing insight to a number of national issues. In this regard we have received the following anonymous tip from a concerned and patriotic citizen.

The story following below outlines a possible explosive issue brewing over the printing of ballot papers. IEBC has only just recently squeezed through a near disaster with the fiasco of acquiring BVR kits. The acquisition of BVR kits was riddled with controversies from the tendering all the way through to award with many firms lodging protests as well as pointing accusing fingers at unclear and sometimes fraudulent practice. Finally with government intervention, the BVR kits were supplied and delivered albeit quite late, but also at nearly three times the initially quoted figures.

The efficacy of these units is yet to be tested in the 1st general elections and we can only hope that the IEBC has a plan B in place should these units fail.

But our attention is now drawn to a new story unraveling on the supply of ballot papers. The article below points to a flawed tender which has also been single sourced citing reasons such as time constraints. The problem however is that the company awarded this contract is said to be in financial trouble and struggling and it is feared that they will not be able to meet the tender on their own. As a result, they will be forced to sub contract to other companies. Due to their financial troubles, they cannot obtain relevant funding to print the ballots and are forced to sub contract to several companies. This introduces a huge security risk due to the numerous actors involved and could potentially compromise the elections as crooked people exploit the leaks.

Read the story below and judge for yourself

_______________________

A serious crisis relating to gross abuse of public office looms large in one corner of the seemingly bewitched Coalition Government.

This time round it is about the printing of the 2013 election stationery. Apparently, a company whose books are in the red and which is completely incapable of executing an eighth of the work given the time remaining between now and the impending elections is at the center of this emerging controversy.

It is not known who is behind Smith & Ouzman, the company that has won the tender, but he or she appears to be very, very powerful as the contract has been awarded with no regard for proper procurement procedure and with full knowledge that S&O are incapable of carrying out the work.

It is being whispered that for questioning the single-sourced Smith & Ouzman, a well-known civil rights activist recently had some of his teeth forcibly removed by ‘unknown’ assailants. He had questioned the BVR kits issue and also that of the ballot papers. Since by the time he was assaulted, the BVR story was already a fait accompli, could the assault have been to shut him up about the even more crucial matter of ballot papers?

The justification for IEBC to use the S&O for single-sourcing is so full of holes, that one could drive a large truck through some of them. This is especially so because S&O are a small company with financial problems. The good thing with the UK is the fact that all audited accounts are readily purchasable from credit reference bureaus off the internet (thus the financial information we have provided is easily verifiable – http://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ ). The company has survived by subcontracting work to other struggling printers (who are desperate for any work) and acting as commission agents. The companies approached or subcontracted by Smith and Ouzman include T.A.L.L Security Printing and A1 Security Printing. Financial statements for the past few years are easily obtainable and are appended to this document.

Some of these companies have no experience in printing ballot papers and ironically, they are also incapable of handling the volume of work and are thus in turn also looking for people to subcontract the work to! This is in spite of page 10 of the contract signed between S&O and IEBC specifically forbidding transfer or assignment. Page 12/13 also forbids giving of information regarding the specifications of the ballot papers to third parties.

Most worrying about this about-to-happen disaster is the possibility of the printing of extra ballot papers for the 2013 elections which is the perfect recipe for a second and uglier round of post-election holocaust. This is because Smith & Ouzman is hawking the tender to various companies in the UK and Europe since it does not have capacity.

It is well known in procurement rules (including those of PPOA) that security items cannot be subcontracted as there is then no way that the person who subcontracts the work (in this case Smith & Ouzman) can be held accountable for any misdeeds.

Imagine a bank giving out a tender to print cheques then the person who wins the tender goes to look for people on river road to print them. Imagine then, that the river road printer is suffering from serious financial problems (as we will show, the two companies S&O are planning to contract have no previous experience in printing and packaging election ballots and also, are in dire financial straits). Any crook or fraudster can approach the printer and offer money for him to make some extra cheques to be used for fraud purposes!

In the same way, anyone with some money can compromise the subcontracted ballot printer to print an extra run or two of ballot papers. They don’t even have to be stuffed in the ballot boxes on election day. Say we hear that ballots marked to favour Raila were found in a classroom in Nyanza? Or Kibera? Or others marked in favour of Uhuru were found in Thika. Or Dagoretti? It would call into question the whole election resulting in chaos.

Smith & Ouzman:

According to their website, Smith & Ouzman has a long and established reputation developed over 65 years of supplying election printing services such as ballot papers and poll cards for local government elections throughout the UK and worldwide.

In reality, Smith & Ouzman is a relatively small and financially unstable company that lacks capacity to do serious security printing jobs. They specialize at offering big cuts to election officials in countries in Africa in exchange for ballot paper contracts. As they don’t have the printing capacity to complete these jobs, they outsource to other printers who are not proper security printers.

All the years of accounts for Smith & Ouzman that are attached indicate losses other than the year ending 2011. The only reason Smith & Ouzman made a Profit & Increased their turnover in 2010-2011 was purely and simply the inflated contract from Uganda Electoral Commission to print Presidential Ballots – circa 20 million only. (Please refer to their audited accounts)

Uganda Electoral Commission can confirm that even with such a small volume of ballot papers compared to the requirement in Kenya (Uganda 20 million – 1 type only vs. Kenya 120 million – split into many different types) Smith & Ouzman did not print the Uganda Ballot Papers themselves.

They have misrepresented their capacity to do printing work to many countries election bodies including, more recently, the Electoral Commission of Uganda. When in 2011 the Uganda EC went to inspect the printing of ballot papers for their elections, they were shocked to be taken to the premises of another company, namely G.I. Solutions who specialise in printing direct marketing material! (http://www.gi-solutionsgroup.com)

As the papers were already being printed (and S&O also offered to increase the agreed bribe to Uganda officials), no scandal ensued.

The various accounts show S&O to be a financially weak company. This is certainly not the kind of company you give serious security work for two reasons:-

1. Their lack of financial capacity. Since they have been running losses for a number of years, it is possible that they could be put under receivership any time. If they had already been advanced money to print ballot papers, there is a very real possibility of loss of funds or delay of election papers.

2. Their casual handling of the security printing process. Right now, they have approached two UK companies, namely A1 and T.A.L.L. to print the ballots for them. These are two companies that are also in financial distress and are not mainstream security printers. (Please see attached financial summaries of the two companies that also clearly indicate financial distress.)

As Smith cannot give them advance payment for the job, they have sought out larger printers to print the work for them on credit pending payment.

As any serious security printing company would be unwilling to do this highly sensitive work as a subcontractor, these companies will definitely end up doing something foolish as they are also financially desperate and need the money. Too many subcontractors means that there is a higher probability of an enemy of Kenya getting hold of the specifications and printing their own ballots to ensure that the credibility of the election is destroyed.

In the 2007 elections in Kenya, Smith & Ouzman had been given, among others, civic election ballot papers to print. They ran around looking for financing (which is exactly what they are doing right now)and when they were unable to find any company willing to print the papers for them on credit, they gave up and informed the then ECK about their problems. ECK forced them to hand over the contract to a company called Kalamazoo.

We are reliably informed that although this story has been leaked to the mainstream media, there appears to be a reluctance by the main media to print or publish the article

The reason for this suppression is unclear but clearly this is a monstrous problem with disastrous results if the ballot papers are tampered with

The article in the Sunday Nation that first broke the story of the single-sourcing of ballot papers was so sanitised that it was obvious the writer or editor had deliberately toned it down as no serious questions about S&O were asked. It actually turned out to be a PR exercise to prepare the public for a good hoodwinking.

http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/IEBC-could-face-new-storm/-/1064/1617144/-/wr35xgz/-/index.html

As time has run out for going through a proper procurement review, it appears that the tender shall go ahead. This is a serious failing on the part of our system. It is like saying you have hired a man to dig your shamba and though you have realized he does not have capacity to dig it alone, you don’t have time to hire other more competent people before the rains are here.

An example of this flawed system is the tender for election kits awarded to Face Technologies of South Africa that was upheld on 9th December 2012 by PPOA but only due to time factor. It remains to be seen if Face Technologies, shall be able to supply the kits. (these kits are to be used for voter authentication on election day). If there are problems with voter authentication, then there shall automatically be allegations of rigging.

http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/index.php?articleID=2000072547&story_title=Kenya-New-tender-row-hits-IEBC-over-supply-of-voter-roll-equipment

Although we do not rule out complicity, it appears that someone, or some people, are twisting the arm of the Chairman and also the CEO of IEBC to agree to this deal, possibly for money or more likely, to have a route to cause chaos if the election does not go their way.

We must ask ourselves this question: why are so many serious matters taken so lightly in this country? How is due diligence on these companies done? Are the commissioners or whoever conducted due diligence on Smith & Ouzman properly trained to carry out this exercise? Shall they be held to account when problems occur, as the surely will?

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To conclude this story, we see a potential huge risk in printing these ballot papers in a process that can be easily compromised.

It is important for the government, citizens and all political parties to elevate vigilance and actively seek security and reinforcement that this process which marks a very crucial stage for the country is not given a false start

The stakes for this election are even far higher than 2007 which caused many hundreds of deaths and displaced over half a million people. A compromised election will clearly spell doom for the country.

We call on all the authorities to take a clear look a this issue and have it resolved quickly before it snowballs into a crisis.

_______________________________________

Blog-Admin thanks the anonymous informant for contributing this story which is published in its entirety.

Supporting documents will be uploaded by the end of the week.

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18 comments on “Printing Ballot Papers – Is there a Scam?

  1. Firms want ballot paper job stopped

    Two companies have gone to court seeking to reverse the electoral commission’s decision to unilaterally award the contract of printing ballot papers to a British firm.

    Kalamazoo Secure Solutions Ltd. and Ren-Form CC company argued that the commission breached procurement regulations by directly procuring the services of Smith and Ouzman Ltd. without a competitive bidding process.

    They want an order to quash the decision and want the electoral commission compelled to start a fresh process of procuring ballot papers and statutory result forms for the General Election.

    “The commission used direct procurement in a discriminatory manner by having an illogical bias towards Smith and Ouzman Ltd. resulting to differential treatment and denial of opportunity for the two companies,” swore the companies’ representative Lilly Njeru.

    The two companies argued that Smith and Ouzman Ltd. was a small firm with no financial capacity to print all the ballot papers and accused the commission of failing to consider their bids despite being the largest commercial printers of security documents.

    The petition is the second challenging the contract award. Aerovote Ltd. filed similar complains last week claiming that the electoral commission was discriminatory and disregarded the Public Procurement and Disposal regulations.

    http://elections.nation.co.ke/news/ballot-paper-job-stopped-/-/1631868/1667244/-/es2g70/-/index.html

  2. meanwhile back to our scandal prone IEBC we have this other report

    http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000074702&story_title=Kenya:QuestionsraisedaspoliceimpoundIEBCelectionmaterial

    ==
    Police officers in Nairobi on Tuesday evening impounded thousands of bags belonging to the Independent Elections and Boundary Commission (IEBC) that were being rebranded from a private house.

    The bags were part of a Sh80 million tender awarded to a private firm by the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for supply and delivery of election materials.
    ==

    am sure the story has been twisted a bit, but nevertheless exposes the potential dangers ahead

    IEBC is simply not paying attention to detail, and just like kivuitu by the time they wake, the country will once again be on fire.

    there a certain casual and lackadaisical manner in which IEBC is approaching very critical issues and its all beginning to look very bleak ahead.

  3. Voter fights ballot paper print deal

    Printing of ballot papers for the March 4 election could be delayed following a petition opposing a decision to award the tender to a British company.

    A voter, Mr Jimmy Mutinda, moved to court under a certificate of urgency claiming a Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) decision awarding the contract to Smith and Ouzman Ltd was discriminatory and flouted procurement rules.

    Through lawyer Joel Kihanga, Mr Mutinda accused the commission of ignoring other firms that had shown interest in the tender.

    “The contract was not clear on the numbers to be printed with or without a presidential run-off, leaving a loophole for the IEBC to pay for unused materials which could be subject to abuse,” he said. (Read: Ballot papers will be ready for poll: IEBC)

    More qualified firms

    Mr Mutinda said he is a representative of Aerovote Ltd, which also applied for the tender but was not contacted and only heard it had been awarded to another firm.

    He claimed Smith and Ouzman was unable to do the job and had approached printers in Britain and South Africa to sub-contract the work.

    “Awarding of the contract took into account irrelevant considerations and failed to recognise that more qualified firms had applied,” he said.

    He said the IEBC would not suffer any prejudice if the contract was cancelled as printing had not started because candidates for the various posts have not yet been nominated.

    Justice David Majanja certified the application urgent and directed him to serve the IEBC and representatives of Smith and Ouzman for an inter-parties hearing on Friday.

    http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Voter-fights-ballot-paper-print-deal/-/1064/1660966/-/lwqp52z/-/index.html

  4. Here is our IEBC boss in an interview about the forthcoming general elections.

    Poll plans on course, says IEBC boss

    null
    Stephen Mudiari | Nation IEBC chairman Issack Hassan during the interview with the Nation on January 03, 2013 at his Anniversary Towers office in Nairobi.

    Q. You have explained before that the IEBC chose direct procurement (single sourcing) of ballot papers as opposed to competitive bidding because of time constraints. Why wasn’t the procurement done on time?

    A. This is a question of planning the election process. I agree that we should have done the tendering last year. But there is so much to be done in the commission and the management came up with the proposal that given the time constraints we could not go through the whole process of tendering.

    Direct procurement is in the law and entities can fall back on it in case they need to but I want to say that the company that is making an issue out of this tender was not even in our shortlist of bidders at the pre-qualification stage of suppliers.

    The company just came out of the blue and wrote a long letter to the Public Procurement Oversight Authority and copied to us. The letter was neither a complaint nor a petition and therefore we could not respond to it.

    Q. Has the British firm Smith & Ouzman producing the ballot papers also sub-contracted other companies to help accomplish the task thereby creating security risks? Do they have capacity to produce the papers in time?

    A. In the award of the tender, Smith & Ouzman made it clear that within three weeks, when printing, packaging and shipping will be taking place, they are going to have two strategic partners. They didn’t hide it and it was agreeable with us.

    So by the time they were being awarded, it was already known to the commission that they were to have partners. The number of ballot papers they produce will dependent on the voter register and the possibility of a run-off.

    With 14.3 million voters registered and each using six ballot papers, we are going to purchase fewer than 100 million ballot papers.

    Q. Are there any risks of late delivery of the ballot papers?

    A. No, we don’t foresee any delay. Smith has assured us that there will be no delay. The company delivered ballot papers during the referendum on time and there was no delay.

    Q. How prepared is the IEBC in the event of a run-off?

    A. Money has already been allocated for the run-off by the Treasury and Parliament has approved it in the supplementary budget. We will recall the same officers — security and electoral — whom we employed and trained during the first round only that this time round, the contest will be for presidential elections. We will provide separate ballot boxes for the run-off and the ones used during the first round just in case there is a petition.

    Q. The country has about 70,000 police officers. How will that number cater for all the polling stations and leave enough for emergency?

    A. We had been assured by former Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere on the security capability of the police force to man the elections. Generally, we have an agreement with the police.

    During the elections, the Inspector General has been empowered to enlist other officers from the disciplined forces including prison warders, Kenya Forestry Services, National Youth Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, among others.

    Q. Do you have any provision for political hotspots, banditry and cattle rustling-prone areas?

    A. We do not have such provisions but the National Cohesion and Integration Commission has given us a report saying that 27 counties are hotspots. Apart from that issue and what is happening in Tana Delta, Baragoi and Garissa, we basically rely on information given to us by the security agencies.

    Q. How prepared are you to handle six-tier elections?

    A. After mock elections in Kajiado and Malindi, we have learnt how long it takes for a voter to complete the process. Of course it is a new election and I cannot predict with any degree of certainty. But we have made all the necessary preparations to have the elections done properly.

    http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Poll-plans-on-course-says-IEBC-boss-/-/1064/1657170/-/140b54k/-/index.html

    • EXCERPT FROM STAR: Yesterday, the Star established that officials of Smith & Ouzman will be visiting the country before next week to try and re-negotiate the contract to allow subcontracting [ostensibly plagued by serious security risks].

      http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-101171/ballot-papers-may-delay-poll

      About two weeks ago at a Coast resort in Ukunda, IEBC Chair Isaak Hassan said some very significant things which nevertheless attracted very little public attention. He openly tried to temper-down public expectations of the next elections through two curious statements.
      .
      1) “If things happen, they will happen by default, not by design,” the IEBC boss said.
      .
      2) “There’s so much to be done, too little time and very high expectation. We’re doing everything possible to ensure we have a free and fair credible election. But please understand that it will not be a perfect election. It will not be 100 per cent perfect. There will be some imperfections. We ask for your understanding and appreciation.”

      Those statements can be accessed in this Daily Nation Report:
      .
      http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/-/1064/1645980/-/ah99cr/-/index.html
      .
      You will also notice that Hassan also proclaimed (at the same forum) that he won’t announce the results if rigged. The obvious implication here is that Hassan’s announcement of a result after March 4th, 2013 should automatically tell the public that there was no rigging…thus take it or leave it!

      Fast forward to this date…two weeks later…and reread that Star article.
      Amidst real fears that ballot papers may not even arrive on time (due to capacity shortfalls of the contractor Smith & Ouzman – already enumerated here @ Deep Cogitation), chances are high that IEBC is walking into a huge security risk for open rigging. I suspect Hassan has already begun connecting the dots…hence already trying to absolve himself from future blame…resigning to the real possibility of announcing a flawed election after all!

      Hassan knows they already paid Sh 3 billion to a company lacking capacity to print 120 million ballot papers within a couple of weeks of concluding party nominations (January 18th – February 18th).

      Isaak Hassan already knows that Smith & Ousman is violating the contract terms he [IEBC] recently signed with them – not to sub-contract to third parties whatsoever (a measure that safeguards against ballot-copycat fraudsters).

      I guess it is now time for Hassan to duck away and instead send IEBC’s Secretariat Executive (Oswago) to start spinning yarn. Unfortunately, Oswago does not allay any anxiety.

      Most Kenyans should know that third party sub-contractors for ballot papers and result sheets (ala Form 16As) might just be the rigging platform for printing and stuffing rigged ballots. This is no longer a casual speculation anymore because Smith & Ouzman has actually [illegally] contacted two smaller British companies whom they don’t have control over —Tall Security Printing and A1 Security Printing— to print and supply some of the ballot papers and results sheets.
      .
      All these shenanigans are happening yet page 10 of the contract signed by the IEBC explicitly forbids Smith & Ouzman from sharing (sub-contracting) any or part of the contract. The company is heck not even supposed to give/share with third parties any information regarding specifications of the ballot papers. We might as well resign ourselves to the reality that River Road printers already have access to March 2013 ballot paper specifications…only waiting to execute a print-and-stuff-ballots operation. And Hassan has already started his public relations and buck-passing!
      .

      • @Job

        I think the buck here stops with IEBC chair Hassan for either not doing due diligence in finding a reputable company capable of handling all the ballot papers and ensuring that there isn’t any security breach or for intentionally hiring this grossly incapable company and by extension allowing such loopholes for rigging that the “dark forces” of impunity could use to mess up the coming election. If you are going to pay 3 billion KSH to anybody, the least you could do is a background on them to ensure they are up to task for the job, by gawd that is a lot of money from hard working Kenyans. Hassan needs to start talking……….

      • And akina Jebii Kilimo already claiming that IEBC sold a list of registered voters to URP. TNA members were simply transferred to URP without consent. Something funny is cooking. A kivuitu like situation is slowly developing

  5. what boggles the mind is that if they decided to single source, why didnt they go for the most dependable and reliable company to print these ballot papers instead of a financially crippled company

    ===

    on another note am a little skeptic./apprehensive about how elections will be carried out, specifically the timing consideration for the voting process

    http://www.iebc.or.ke/index.php/resources/downloads/item/voter-educations?category_id=6

    assume that BVR verification process takes about 2 minutes per person (i.e about 1 min 15 secs for trouble free verification and allow up to 8 minutes to correct some anomaly/glitch every 10th person)

    assuming IEBC is prepared for any eventuality, they then should have an alternate verification process (manual/semi manual/electronic) in case BVR fails or alongside for redundancy

    since you cannot have some voters verified through one process and others through a different process, then the two process must be followed (add another 3 minutes per person)

    then comes the voting process

    1. president (and running mate) – from a list of at least 8 sets (CORD, Jubilee, Pambazuko, Eagle, Karua, Kiyiapi, Kemunchu – not sure i got that right + perhaps one or two more)

    and then the chaos, there are at least 50 parties, and irrespective of coalitions, many of these are fielding candidates so we can expect 15 and up to 40 names on at least some of the ballot papers to chose from for

    2. for the county – governor (and deputy governor), senator, women’s rep

    3. constituency (national assembly) – MP

    4. Ward – councillor

    due to similarity in names, symbols, alliances etc, each voter will need at least 4 to 7 minutes to properly scrutinize the ballot papers, and then the exit process 1 minute

    assume 10 to 15 minutes per person. (rate of 4-6 persons per booth per hour, approx 80 total for the 6AM to 6PM period per booth) centers that have to process 1000 registered voters will need to have about 10 booths. doable, but its an area that I see could potentially generate lots of problems

    i see bottleneck / jams as the BVR or alternate verification process empties queues faster than the polling booths

    (maybe its just me, i hate the queues and try to hop in and out of queues as quickly as possible)

    • Two serious problems are afflicting the IEBC as it limps towards the historic elections. First of course, is its ceding of independence to the Executive – specifically State House, NSIS & Treasury!

      Second is sheer ineptitude and incompetence!
      .
      Since the botched BVR tendering, the IEBC has done little to enhance its credibility and trustworthiness as a dependable electoral institution. The fake reputation they crafted prior to 2012 is all washed up now. The trend is now becoming clear…limping from one crisis to another…exhibiting total lack of independence AND ineffectiveness.
      .
      IEBC failed to register majority of voters in hardship areas in the former North Eastern Province and places like Turkana. IEBC failed to register diaspora voters. IEBC disenfranchised many voters in insecurity prone areas and places where security operations are currently ongoing. IEBC’s lack of independence was further shown by Hassan’s refusal to register youth with pending slips for collecting IDs.
      .
      In the end, Hassan’s voter registration exercise produced a highly skewed process favouring his political masters yet seriously disenfranchising his own native constituency. He neither blinked nor cleared his throat amidst this conspicuous disparity.

      The nation will keenly watch what will happen when Hassan’s IEBC finally unleashes presiding officers (& deputies) and clerks into the 15,000 polling stations. This is precisely because there still remain unanswered questions about internal corruption, nepotism and favouritism during the recruitment process of IEBC regional election staffers.

      Isaak Hassan will be misguided if he assumes Kenyans have forgotten about these lingering questions. I hope he doesn’t wait for another Kriegler Commission to unearth such rot underneath his Chair. All eyes are watching the IEBC very keenly as countdown to elections ensues. The IEBC Chairmanship is a job requiring a tough, creative, and independent mind; not suited for wimpy and unassuming quislings.

      The sheer thought of Kivuitu’s staffers that ‘disappeared’ and turned off their cell phones in Central Province in 2007, and the Administration Police ‘polling agents’ sent to stuff ballots, calls for extreme vigilance. If it is the same level of outright vote theft, incompetence, corruption, and impunity we witnessed in 2007, then the 2013 elections will be doomed altogether.

      If Hassan thinks he can present APs in black IEBC uniforms at polling stations, he better get prepared to face grim consequences. Hassan must be well aware Kenyans will demand full accountability for the 2013 elections. In that regard, he must pay full attention to what the law says about those who bungle future elections.

      Ever since the Executive robbed IEBC of its independence, gagging and hashing of internal activities of the electoral body has been the order of the day. At one point during the BVR procurement crisis, Finance Minister Njeru Githae ordered the Justice Minister (Eugene) and IEBC Commissioners (including Chairman Isaak Hassan) to keep off commenting on IEBC procurement matters. That was quite in contradiction to the law which places such accountability directly within IEBC.

      When Treasury/NSIS involve themselves in IEBC procurement matters, it is almost guaranteed that some form of ‘eating’ occurs. It is obvious that meddling into these quasi autonomous bodies like IEBC is motivated by the Executive’s appetite for both corruption and vote manipulation (rigging). Most of these things occur prior to actual elections.

      What the BVR and ballot paper procurement fiascos have shown is that artificial crises and last minute rushes are deliberately engineered to allow for ‘quick interventions’ from the Executive. Kenyans are now quite familiar with these ploys and pretext for interference.

      The Kibaki mandarins long figured out that deliberate delays give them a chance to force single sourcing rather than open tendering (espoused as the first option under the Public Procurement law). Single sourcing gives them the best bet to have their palms greased. Thus, here we are again – in yet another single-sourcing deal engineered by the Executive.

      Such single-sourced (& shady) deals eliminate public scrutiny and opens room for price inflation under the guise of ‘last minute rescue’. This is a sure avenue for business favouritism and corruption. I will not rehash the scary details posted above about dangers of ‘River Road’ sub-contractors jumping into the ballot paper contract. IEBC is not convincing Kenyans they are serious about handling this sensitive task left in their hands.

      What is even more annoying is how inept IEBC is at making flimsy excuses. Their clumsiness is further displayed in their poor attempt to justify delays in open tendering…with a frivolous excuse that they couldn’t initiate open bidding before boundaries delimitation was complete. This is the hallmark of lack of ability. Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows that estimates and projections (open to subsequent amendments) have always been used to call for tender bids. Every day, companies call for bids on estimated quantities of products – subject to stipulated amendments to quantity to be supplied. It is therefore silly of the IEBC to argue that they didn’t know the exact number of polling stations and likely candidates by September 2012…and thus couldn’t call for open tenders.

      I particularly have no problem with Smith and Ouzman getting the contract. My beef is why they couldn’t go through open tendering that we could all scrutinize. These fellas need to be serious. Eating at this sensitive moment reveals the bold level of impunity pervading the Executive. Giving contract that is to further be sub-contracted might just yield some extra fake ballot papers. Is this the best IEBC could offer to allay anxiety of Kenyans mindful to 2007? It’s as if nothing was learnt from the last botched elections. Duh!

    • bvr glitches

      this article appears in todays paper

      this is the frightening reality about the glitches I expect will feature when using the BVR systems

      this can be attributed to various factors

      however even more confounding is why IEBC is not attempting to internally investigate this. i hope there is more detailed information on these kind of stories.

      i recommend strongly that the political parties set aside days where they have their supporters randomly survey/sample these kits.

      interestingly the article states that her fingerprints were “keyed in” not quite sure what that means

    • looks like kivuitu also has his misgivings (and shares the opinion i stated above) about how much time a voter will take in the booth with six ballot papers. wanting to make the right decision can be nerve racking. am not sure exactly what preparations IEBC have but i’ve stated elsewhere that they must budget between 6 and upto 20 minutes per person per booth. they must use worst case scenario to have as many booths possible otherwise there will be crippling bottlenecks between BVR authentication, manual verification, voting and exit

      • Have listened to presentations by the IEBC on this issue, and they have definitely considered the issues raised about how long a person will take in the booth. By their estimate, it will take a max of 10 minutes per person.

        There is a simulation exercise to be conducted this Sunday Feb 24, hope to hear feedback from all over.

  6. OBVIOUSLY YES, THERE IS A SCAM!

    We called out the IEBC at Jukwaa way back in 2011 and we predicted that they would do exactly what they are doing now – illegal single sourcing of ballot papers. They did it and got away with it – when they were called IIEC – for ballot papers for 2010 referendum and still want to do it again now.

    Independent bodies are not immune to the law. This is what Isaak Hassan and his corrupt commissioners need to be be told.

    Transparency and accountabibilty eliminates suspicions and since this is the most eagerly anticipated elections in our history, IEBC must be seen to be transparent and doing everything above board.

    It just goes to show how deep impunity is rooted at some of these institutions.

  7. OMG This is unbelievable. How can the IEBC handle something so important so carelessly. ” A small financially unstable company” handling ballot papers for what is possibly the most important election Kenya has had simce independence? Where is the money that was put aside for this election?

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