Team told Kibaki, Raila pushed for failed polls kits

Former president Mwai Kibaki and prime minister Raila Odinga pressured the electoral agency to procure electronic voter registration kits for the last general election despite warnings that the equipment could fail.

James Oswago, the former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)hief executive, told the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee that the two leaders summoned the commission to Harambee House and directed them to go ahead with the tender for procurement of 15,000 biometric voter registration kits from a Canadian company.

“We could not go against their decision despite knowing it would not work due to time constraints,” he said, adding that IEBC had reservations due to limited time for acquisition, training staff and rolling out the equipment.

“The government offered to help us procure through a government to government deal with the Canadian government,” Mr Oswago said.

He added they were shocked to learn that the government was going to pay for the kits despite the fact that the Canadian government had made it look like a donation.

He alleged that the State paid the Canadian Commercial Corporation Sh100 million as fees to lobby for international financing on its behalf for the purchase of the machines. The committee is looking into the failure of the kits.

Mr Oswago said IEBC chairman Issack Hassan should shoulder the blame.