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Kenya: Electoral Agency to Reuse 2017 Poll Materials in 2022

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The electoral agency wants an audit of its voter registration system and servers in what is the first step in actualising its plan to reuse 2017 materials in the 2022 polls.

In a tender document, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wednesday said the audit will “entail preventive and curative maintenance for the server infrastructure” to check what needs to be corrected in its biometric voter registration (BVR) system.

“The service provider will be required to carry out a complete investigation and diagnosis of the BVR servers’ infrastructure and storage hardware and submit a status report,” said the tender document.

The IEBC bought the Sh4 billion Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) for voter registration, identification, results transmission and candidates’ management plan. It did not pay for the voter registration option but instead used the BVR kits procured in 2013.

“The voter registration software was not procured because the commission had already used the old laptop-based BVR kits (now obsolete) by the time it was procuring Kiems,” IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati told the Nation in a previous interview.

In order to upgrade the Kiems kits to enable the voter registration functionality, Mr Chebukati said budgetary allocation would be required. On Wednesday, he said the tender was to ensure voter registration continues.

“These tenders are meant to assist the commission in managing its operations, including continuous voter registration. These systems require security, maintenance and support,” said Mr Chebukati in a text response.

IEBC Corporate Communications Manager Tabitha Mutemi said the tender was nothing out of the ordinary.

“These tender documents are basically for maintenance of equipment and database as an ongoing concern for any organisation. These are just everyday normal operations for any institution,” said Ms Mutemi, insisting that election materials involved much more than the “maintenance and repairs of ICT equipment”.

The Kiems hardware needs regular updates. If this is not done, the country might be forced to buy similar materials for 2022, with Mr Chebukati saying “the back-end and front-end to these (Kiems) systems can be reused if they are properly maintained”.

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