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iebpicDAILY NATION By ISAAC ONGIRI

Monday June 13, 2016

The electoral commission is set to upgrade its system of transmitting results to ensure efficiency during the 2017 polls.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba on Saturday said the polls body wants to put in place a system that ensures fast transmission of results.

Last week, the commission invited bids for the upgrade of its results management system and the data centre.

“We have not changed the system we used in 2013. We are looking at a version that features an improvement, which will guarantee speed, reliability and continuity,” he said.

He added that the project, which is estimated to cost Sh250 million, will include the improvement of the current data centre to ensure the voter register and election results are secure and readily available for retrieval - in case of petitions.

“It (the project) also includes an extension of our network to regions and constituencies. The flow of information from the field to the headquarters and the other way round will be more efficient,” he said in a statement.

The official said the IEBC will install an information and communications technology service desk that will enable the commission to quickly track and respond to complaints that arise during the vote counting period.

Mr Chiloba said the Sh250 million is not part of the Sh19 billion the National Treasury allocated to the commission in the Budget presented on Wednesday.

He said the allocation had shown that the government was ready to support activities of the commission.

“The government has demonstrated that it can invest resources in the commission that manages elections. This is what we have been lacking in the past,” the CEO said.

He mentioned that the priority areas include the recruitment of 30 clerks to conduct voter registration at a cost of Sh3.2 billion for 30 days in February next year.

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The transportation of kits, voter registration assistants (VRAs) and monitoring will cost Sh952 million.

A total of Sh1 billion will be paid in wages for the VRAs, clerks and ICT assistants.

The commission is also proposing Sh350 million for the mobilisation of voters, while diaspora voter registration will cost Sh120 million.

Electoral technology support will consume Sh200 million.

The commission is proposing an expenditure of Sh150 million for the training of various registration officials.

The election technology, including the replacement of obsolete electronic voter identification system equipment, will cost Sh3.5 billion.

The IEBC is planning to buy 106,000 new ballot boxes to replace damaged ones. The boxes will cost Sh265 million, while non-strategic election materials will cost Sh920 million.

In the last polls, the commission’s attempt to procure crucial election equipment was marked by some challenges after officials differed over procurement issues, delaying the exercise.

Last week, the commission advertised for four major bids related to the IT Department.

One of them is for the maintenance of the IEBC data centre and the disaster recovery centre. The opposition has been keen on the commission’s preparations for the polls.

“We will not accept a monopolised procurement for the results transmission system, which was given to one company in the last General Election,” Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said.

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