IEBC meets presidential candidates

IEBC Commissioners led by Chairman Wafula Chebukati flanked by IEBC commissioner Paul Kurgat and IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba brief the media on the statement on court ruling that nullified the contract for printing of presidential ballot papers on 8th JULY 2017 PHOTO DAVID GICHURU

A clash is brewing among presidential candidates over ballot printing even as they meet the electoral agency this afternoon.

On Sunday, sharp differences emerged as one of the candidates said he would root for local printing, while another camp said the political environment was poisoned and the poll materials could not be printed in the country.

Good faith

And the Opposition said the electoral commission should decide whether it wants to negotiate with parties in good faith or it still wants to continue the fight in court.

National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga will attend the meeting convened by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) today.

Salim Lone, the Opposition leader’s communications consultant confirmed that Raila will attend the meeting.

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Electoral agency chairman Wafula Chebukati has called for a consultative meeting with all the eight presidential candidates, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, to chart the way forward following the High Court’s ruling on the procurement of ballot papers.

Mr Odinga and Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance) have vowed not to allow Dubai firm, Al Ghurair, to print the presidential ballot papers citing integrity concerns.

IEBC sent out invitations to President Kenyatta, Odinga (NASA), Mr Aukot and Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party) to discuss a way forward on the poll materials.

Other candidates to attend the meeting are Michael Wainaina (independent), Joseph Nyagah (independent), Mohamed Abduba Dida (Alliance for Real Change) and Japheth Kavinga (independent).

“The commission wishes to invite all presidential candidates for a meeting to be held on July 10, 2017. The agenda of the meeting will focus on the procurement of ballot papers for presidential elections in light of limited time available for preparations ahead of the August 8 General Election,” said the commission, through a letter sent to all the candidates yesterday afternoon.

The commission said it will be engaging the candidates with an open mind in a bid to unlock the stalemate that threatens to scuttle the polls.

“We expect practicable suggestions from them having in mind the limited time left before the polls,” said IEBC Communication Manager Andrew Limo.

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But ODM director of elections Junet Mohammed questioned why IEBC was inviting parties for talks yet it was still pursuing the matter in court.

“IEBC should decide whether it wants to meet parties to discuss the way forward or they still want to try their luck in court through an appeal. IEBC officials cannot have their cake and eat it ,” Junet said.

The agency has signaled it would move to the Court of Appeal to seek interpretation on what public participation means.

This happened as a coalition of civil society groups, Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, told the commission to take full charge of the electoral process as a means of ensuring public confidence.

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