Preparation for the elections suffered a setback after the High Court nullified a Sh2.5 billion contract for ballot papers.
Justice George Odunga ruled that the contract that Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) awarded to Al Ghuraiar Printing and Publishing Company for supply and delivery of ballot papers, election results declaration forms and poll registers was riddled with suspicion and was illegal and unconstitutional.
“The commission cannot be allowed to hide under the pretext of public interest and time constraints in preparing for the elections to engage in acts of illegality, ” ruled Odunga.
Justice Odunga said that the court would not authorise an illegal process, and that the fact that the public stood to lose funds already paid as commitment fees was not enough to allow the contract to proceed.
He directed IEBC to restart the tender process for ballot papers within the next seven days.
The decision was a victory for the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) which had filed the petition challenging IEBC’s decision to award the contract to the Dubai-based company.
Justice Odunga ruled that IEBC was not properly constituted at the time it awarded the contract on November 30, given that an amendment to electoral laws had already come into force.
“There was already a vacancy for commissioners including the chairman by the time the contract was signed. An empty office cannot make decisions since they ceased to be commissioners on October 14 last year when the new laws came into being,” ruled Odunga.