NAIROBI, Kenya, July 9– The electoral agency will on Monday hold a meeting with all presidential candidates to seek their views on sourcing of ballot papers for the presidential election after the High Court nullified a tender issued to a Dubai-based company.
In nullifying the tender following a judicial review filled by the opposition National Super Alliance, the three judge-bench ruled that the law was not following in awarding the tender to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing company.
Presiding Judge Joel Ngugi directed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to commence a fresh procurement process and ensure adequate public participation in accordance with the law.
“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,” Justice Ngugi ruled.
On Saturday commission Chairperson Wafula Chebukati clarified that IEBC had appealed the decision mainly to get clarity on guidelines of public participation as outlined by the Court of Appeal, while insisting it is not anywhere in law.
“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.
The commission has given the public until Tuesday to submit memoranda on the matter ahead of a public forum to be held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre on Wednesday.
Chebukati underscored the need for clarity on the framework for public participation saying there were gray areas in law yet to be clarified.
“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,” he said.
“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.
The High Court bench made up of Justices Ngugi, Joseph Mativo and George Odunga however, steered clear of the ballot printing for the remaining five positions namely; senator, governor, member of national assembly, county woman representative and member of county assembly whose printing is said to be underway.
Prior to the ruling, IEBC had indicated that the printing for presidential ballot papers would commence on July 18.
As at June 30, the lawyer representing the Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing, Waweru Gatonye, indicated to the court during the hearing of the judicial review that up to 50 per cent of resources for the execution of the Sh 2.5 billion contract had already been mobilized with the remaining half set to have been acquired by the end of the first week of July.
The commission is faced with an uphill task of procuring the ballot papers, and have them delivered in the country within 30 days, a process that takes 45 days but Chebukati has assured that they beat the deadline in time for the August 8 General Election.