IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. (Photo: Boniface Okendo/Standard)
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has given reasons why it awarded the ballot printing tender to Al Ghurair two days ago.
“Having considered a number of available options, the commission resolved to award the tender for ballot papers to Al Ghurair Printing, a company based in Dubai,” said IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Mr Chebukati clarified that Al Ghurair was selected because it had the capacity of modern machines whereby 50 per cent of machine capacity has been allocated for production of ballot papers with adequate back-up.
He said the firm had a suitable emergency production, packaging and delivery plan as well as fully deployed experienced and qualified personnel.
“There are four direct flights daily by two major airlines to Kenya, which makes shipping easier. The company has a sufficient and stable financial base to fund its obligation, and has experience in African countries, part of Asia and the Middle East among others,” Chebukati said.
He added that the prices offered by Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC in previous contracts were competitive and within prevailing market rates, and the firm had a reputation of being efficient and reliable in terms of delivery.
But National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga claimed there were people at IEBC who were determined to award the tender to Al Ghurair through single-sourcing on grounds that it was the only bidder with capacity for the work. He termed IEBC’s decision “unacceptable”.
“We are concerned about the sacking of officials and the ordering of ballot papers. It seems as though only one company can manufacturer ballot papers in the world and we don’t want to believe that we must only buy the ballots from Al Ghurair. There is something sinister,” Raila told the media at his Capitol Hill offices on Wednesday.
Kibisu Kabatesi, a spokesperson for NASA co-principal and head of the national campaign team, Musalia Mudavadi, said the Opposition would go to court this week.
“We are moving to court this week to challenge the awarding of the tender to Al Ghurair. Our investigations have revealed that the firm is associated with key people in Jubilee Party,” said Mr Kabatesi.
While Chebukati said the commission, upon review of the law and in consultation with key stakeholders, resolved to utilise the direct procurement option in accordance with Section 103(2)(a) of the PPAD Act 2015 to award the tender, the Opposition refutes this.
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“We have never been invited to any of the tender meetings. We wouldn’t be lamenting if we were part of the discussions,” said Kabatesi, who is also a facilitator of the national campaign team.
Chebukati noted the electoral body projects the printing of about 120 million ballot papers together with elections results forms and poll registers.
“This requires adequate lead time to allow the printers to mobilise resources and put in place logistical measures for efficient delivery of ballot papers. At this point in time, we want to invite all Kenyans to focus on other priorities with respect to preparedness for the elections,” Chebukati said.
On the voters’ register, he said the verification exercise that began on May 9 had ended and the next step as provided for in law was to revise the register of voters.