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IEBC to conduct fresh procurement of presidential ballots

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WAFULA-CHEBUKATI IEBC to conduct fresh procurement of presidential ballots
Judges said they established that the commission had failed to conduct proper public participation while awarding the tender to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC. Photo/FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 8 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will comply with the High Court decision nullifying the procurement of presidential ballot papers from a Dubai-based firm.

Chairperson Wafula Chebukati said Saturday the commission will hold a meeting with all presidential candidates on Monday as well as invite members of the public to submit memoranda on Tuesday before holding a public hearing on Wednesday to facilitate fresh procurement.

“We have thirty days to the elections and we’re only appealing on the issue of the court saying we should have had more public participation. This is an issue that needs to be clarified and we expect the Court of Appeal to come up with guidelines,” Chebukati said during a briefing at the commission’s headquarters, a day after the High Court ordered the electoral commission to commence a fresh procurement process following a petition filed by Opposition coalition NASA.

In their ruling, the three judge-bench comprising of Justices Joel Ngugi, Joseph Mativo and George Odunga established that the commission had failed to conduct proper public participation while awarding the tender to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC.

“This court issues an order of mandamus compelling IEBC to commence de novo the procurement process for the award of the tender for printing of election materials for the presidential election scheduled for 8 August 2017 in accordance with the constitution, provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act and the relevant election laws so that to ensure free, fair and transparent polls are conducted on August 8,” presiding judged Joel Ngugi directed.

In his statement, Chebukati however clarified that the decision taken by the commission to appeal the High Court ruling was informed by the need to seek clarity on guidelines for public participation.

According to IEBC, the issue of public participation remained unclear with Chebukati saying there was no legislation defining the framework of public participation in public procurement.

“Yes, we’re complying with the High Court decision but we’re appealing to ensure that the framework for public participation is set out as expected,” the chairperson of the electoral agency told a news conference.

“There’s no legislation or policy which has been set by the Public Procurement Authority at the moment but that needs to be put in place so that we’re all on the same page as a country,” he added.

Chebukati however assured that the commission was up to task to deliver free, fair and credible polls while dismissing claims that its independence could be compromised.

He also announced that the commission’s ICT Director James Muhati who had been sent on compulsory leave in May had resumed work after his one month suspension lapsed.

Muhati had been accused of sabotage after he reportedly refused to cooperate in an ICT systems audit by otter government agencies.

During Muhati’s suspension, the Data Centre and Infrastructure Manager Chris Msando was appointed acting director.

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