IEBC fails to convince Nasa, JP to back ballot papers deal

Jubilee Party and the opposition alliance Nasa on Tuesday rejected a deal by the electoral commission with a UN development agency to finance the purchase of presidential ballot papers for the repeat election.

This came as Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba said the proposal to bring on board the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to finance the cost of ballot papers was still at the discussion stage.

ILLEGAL

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale criticised the proposal, arguing that it is against the law on the management of public money and asked the Treasury to throw out the proposal.

“Kenya is not a banana republic. The only places where the UN can conduct elections are Haiti and Liberia,” Mr Duale said in the National Assembly.

Citing the Public Finance Management Act, Mr Duale added:

“Any election conducted with proceeds from the UN is illegal. This is just because he wants to satisfy the ego of someone who is power-hungry.”

AL GHURAIR
Mr Duale spoke as he initiated a special debate on the outcome of the presidential election discussed on the basis that it was a matter of national importance.

Speaking at his Capitol Hill office in Upper Hill, Nairobi, Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga opposed the proposal and warned IEBC against hiding under the UNDP to have Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing to print the ballot papers.

He was categorical that Nasa will not accept ballot papers printed by Al Ghurair firm.

“IEBC cannot hide under UNDP to help in sourcing for ballot papers. It is not a question of who will pay. We reject the offer,” Mr Odinga said.

TALKS
He said that claims by IEBC that it had a two-year contract with Al Ghurair was not binding, since the tender was single-sourced.

Contacted for further explanation about the UNDP deal, Mr Chiloba clarified that in the statement, which was released by the commission on Monday, chairman Wafula Chebukati stated that discussions on the financing aspect were still ongoing.

“We have the criteria governing such an exercise but we have not firmed up the discussion,” he said without giving a definite figure that the UNDP is prepared to spend on the ballot papers.

TREASURY
Mr Chebukati said UNDP had offered to procure the ballot papers.

The offer, he said, was informed by a financing agreement the UN agency has with commission.

“This assistance is meant to help restore public confidence and trust in the integrity of the ballot papers and results forms to be used in the fresh election as well as address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court,” he said.

The commission was awaiting communication from the National Treasury regarding the offer.

On Tuesday, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told the Nation that, with regard to the UNDP request: “We have not discussed it.”

— Reports by John Ngirachu, Silas Apollo, Walter Menya and Ibrahim Oruko

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