In an internal memo drafted by head of IT, Dismas Ong’ondi, to deputy commission secretary (support services) Wilson Shollei, it said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was likely to face various challenges due to the little time it had to test the kits as well as the different technology from the new kits.
Ong’ondi noted that the three weeks from when the kits, supplied by a South African firm, arrived in Kenya before the election would not be enough time for the IEBC to test the kits supplied by a South African firm. The memo was dated December 6, three months before the election.
On the technical front, the devices were using different face technology from the ones initially proposed by the IEBC and would lead to higher costs as the commission would be necessitated to acquire a parallel system from which to support transmission of results via the mobile phones given to returning officers.
“This means that the commission will have to invest in a parallel technology for the results transmission,” the memo noted.
Technically the kits lacked the G3 mobile connectivity systems to enable them to use the supplied mobile phones to submit provisional results. Ongondi was of the view that the ‘e-poll books’, referring to the kits, would in a worst case scenario not work advising the commission to cancel the tender all together.
Apart from the questionable kits, the supplier said he would not be able to support the kits regionally resulting to a central support in Nairobi.
The South African firm also revealed the loading of voter data into the kits would be left to the IEBC and the IT chief said it left the commission with a problem because it was not clear what infrastructure would be needed for this.
This new information will put the IEBC chiefs to task with the chief executive James Oswago having blamed the failure of the kits on voting day due to forgotten passwords, inability of staff to decode inbuilt security and below par battery management by staff.
The failure of the electronic transmission also resulted in long delays as well as heightened tension even as the IEBC tackled legal hurdles as a result of some related failures at the supreme court starting today.
It is also likely that IEBC chiefs will have to answer questions relating to the procurement process in one of the country’s most costly elections, costing KSh17 billion (US$197.7 million) with below par display on the part of the IEBC.