A little-known IT company was awarded a Sh151.5 million contract by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) to provide crucial software for the gadgets used in the recently concluded Population and Housing Census data.
Juniper Intakes Limited whose directors are listed as Emmah Waitherero Njue, Paul Kibuthu Mugereki and Edward Gitogo beat two other Kenyan firms for the plum contract for the provision of a unified mobile device management (MDM) software to support the 164,700 mobile devices used for the August 24 population count.
The firm was picked after being the lowest responsive bidder, according to tender details.
It beat Dignity Traders and Coseke Kenya Limited.
The government had earlier said transmission of the upcoming Population and Housing Census data would be done through a special, secure network to ward off the risk of unauthorised access to people’s private information.
ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru said last month the census data system was locally assembled to give the State control over the gathering and transmission of the information.
“Only the authorised people have access to that data. We are not relying on a foreign entity for the security of the data. The devices were assembled here and we created our software here,” Mr Mucheru had said. The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Moi University supplied the over 160,000 tablets and the software to conduct the census at a cost of Sh3 billion, Mr Mucheru had said.
The census data is critical for informing economic policy, healthcare and representation. Globally, census data has often been at risk of getting leaked or manipulated. Use of local telecommunication companies’ networks and technology supplied by foreign firms was part of the sticking points in the disputed 2017 presidential poll.