Guinea’s political opposition is none-too-pleased with the current regime’s decision to outsource the management of May’s election to Waymark, a South African information technology firm. At first glance, these objections may seem flimsy, based more on xenophobia than legitimate fear of cronyism. But if you scratch beneath the surface a bit, you can get a sense of the very specific reasons why Guinean opposition leaders are skeptical of Waymark’s credentials:
Benin alleged in 2008 that the [Waymark] system it used was unreliable and the manner in which it secured the contract was questionable. [Waymark] was chucked out early in tendering for the Cameroonian election this year. In South Africa, Waymark was axed by the Department of Trade and Industry after it was accused of improperly securing an R11m contract to maintain information technology for the former Cipro (now the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission).
It was alleged that President Condé’s son, Mohamed Alpha Condé, worked for Waymark at one stage and introduced the company to the administration…It was reported that the Guinean finance department said Waymark’s contract work amounted to $3m, but the invoice was for $14m. And the United Nations website reveals that Waymark was removed from its list of approved service providers in September 2008.
There isn’t much hard evidence to back up some of the more explosive allegations against Waymark, but there is one notable negative about the company that anyone can check out for themselves: its laughably lackluster website. Tough to imagine trusting a shaky democracy to a company that can’t get basic HTML right.