The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has awarded the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) contract to Safran Identity and Security.
In a statement, IEBC said that it picked Safran for two reasons – that is legal and operational timelines and for standardisation, compatibility and project management.
“The Commission has very limited time left to comply with the legal timelines in relation to deployment of ICTs in elections. In addition, adequate time is required for purposes of configuration, testing, training and deployment for purposes of voter verification exercise required by 10 May, 2017. Safran has undertaken to deliver the technology within the statutory timelines,” said IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.
“So far, over 19 million voters have been registered using a stand-alone system provided by Safran Identity & Security. The Commission has a preventive and maintenance contract for the BVR system with Safran for the next three years. During the register preparation, Safran is supporting the Commission to ensure that we have a credible and reliable biometric voters register to be used in the 2017 General Election.”
The IEBC boss added that the elections body is confident that using Safran guarantees compatibility, timely delivery and accountability in the deployment of the new system, nothing that in the 2013 election, the systems used were sourced from different vendors with this leading serious implications on Election Day as there was no sufficient time for the integration of the new systems with the existing ones.
The award of the contract brings to an end a process that has been faced by a number of hurdles along the way.
IEBC advertised for the tender for the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) on 16th December of 2016. However, the process was stopped due to an order issued by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board on 29th December, 2016 following an application by one of the bidders.
The order was lifted on 17th January 2017 after 10 companies submitted their bids for the contract. Out of the bidders, Gemalto qualified for technical evaluation.
As the evaluation was going on, another order stopping the procurement process was issued by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board on 22nd February 2017 2 following an application by another bidder.
This application was again dismissed on 9th March 2017, and on 17th March, 2017, the Commission concluded the financial evaluation as ordered by the Review Board.
After conclusion of the financial evaluation, the only technically evaluated bidder (Gemalto) quoted a price of Kshs 5.2 billion against the available budget of Kshs 3.8 billion.
According to the IEBC, considering outstanding processes of tender procurement, manufacturing, delivery, installation and commissioning, it was not going to be possible for the body to meet its operational and legal timelines.
“Over 19 million voters have already been registered using the current BVR system. The next priority is to ensure that components of voter identification and results transmission are integrated with the existing voter registration database. In view of the above, IEBC decided to terminate the tender,” noted the IEBC chair in the statement.
“In so doing, the Commission took into consideration its statutory obligation in preparing for elections, procurement procedures, value for money and timelines to guarantee delivery of a free, fair and credible election on August 8th 2017. Since its termination, the Commission has taken steps to directly procure the required Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS) from Safran Identity and Security (previously Morpho).”
With its headquarters in France, Safran is an international high-technology firm with three core business units – Aerospace, Defence and Security.