Mixed reactions greet ruling to nullify ballot tender

The National Super Alliance claimed victory over the High Court’s decision to nullify a tender for printing presidential ballot papers, hailing it as the greatest democratic gift on Saba Saba (July 7).

“We call upon IEBC to convene a meeting of all presidential candidates on the way forward, including helping it identify a credible printer capable of meeting our deadlines for the election,” Mr Odinga’s senior advisor Salim Lone said in a statement.

Nasa said that the ruling was an indictment on the IEBC that they said had “consistently been less transparent, less democratic and less consultative” than they expect of them.

“Coming on the heels of the previous landmark court decision that the results declared at polling stations were final and cannot be changed, this ruling also constitutes a serious rebuke of the IEBC,” Mr Lone said in a statement.

COURT OF APPEAL

The Nasa team also said that the statement was an indictment on the media, one he said had painted them as against an election on August 8.

A few hours after the verdict, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the electoral commission’s lawyers had been instructed to challenge the verdict at the Court of Appeal due to a number of issues emerging from the High Court decision.

“We regret this decision given the urgency to prepare for free, fair and credible elections in the next 30 days,” he said in a statement.

Mr Chebukati said the judgment was “very novel” due to judges’ observation that there was no public participation before the vote printing tender was awarded to Al Ghurair.

POLLS CREDIBILITY
He underscored the fact that the court dismissed most of the claims raised by the National Super Alliance and others opposed to the tender award, save for the claim on public inclusion.

Jubilee angrily reacted to the ruling accusing the courts of being in bed with their opponents, Nasa.

Speaking for the Jubilee Party, vice chairman David Murathe said the High court’s decision would not only open floodgates for post-election petitions but also bring the whole credibility of the process into question.

“We find that the import of the ruling is not just about the presidential ballot papers, the whole process of election is in jeopardy.

“It cannot be that the public participation was only lacking the award of the presidential ballot.

“In effect, the ruling nullifies the other five ballot papers as well and other election materials already purchased.

“If they think they will gang up to delay the polls, that will not happen. The elections must go on as planned,” Mr Murathe said.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
At the same time, Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju warned that the ruling could affect the date of the election, which he said was “cast in stone”.

“At the end of the day, we want to have an election on August 8. And does anyone have the power to change that? No.

“If someone can, then that is the only time they can do whatever tinkering they want to do with it,” Mr Tuju said, adding that it was “never a Jubilee’s problem”.

The vice president of the Law Society of Kenya Faith Waigwa said the court’s reference to public participation needed clarification.

The court needed to shed more light on public participation, she added.

Additional reporting by Justus Wanga.

TSC error costs teacher promotion

Candidates rattled as IEBC cracks whip on poll violence