The Court of Appeal ruling on the printing of presidential ballot papers should now put to rest a controversial matter that had threatened to derail the August 8 elections.
When the High Court stopped the award of the contract to the Dubai-based Al-Ghurair firm, concerns were raised that there was not enough time to start the tendering afresh, award the contract and have the ballot papers printed and delivered in time.
In principle, the Court of Appeal ruled that the grounds for cancelling the contract were not justifiable.
Significantly, the judges took cognisance of the time constraint, a demonstration the court was alive to the practical realities of the day.
Even so, they also made the argument that logistical limitations should never be used as an excuse for not doing the right thing.
The verdict now gives the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission the authority to get going with the urgent work.
The case had tied its hands, consumed time and energies and directed attention elsewhere.
Now, the IEBC must move with speed to get the papers printed and delivered.
The printing of presidential ballot papers is a matter of national interest.
It must be done through a transparent process.
Anything to the contrary creates suspicion and mistrust, undermining confidence in the electoral process.
The credibility of an election is determined by the entire process, from voter registration, procurement of electoral equipment and resources, to voting, results tallying and transmission.
Both at the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the case brought to the fore fundamental constitutional issues such as public participation and transparency in the management of public resources, which cannot be wished away.
We are aware that the ruling has become a subject of political contest.
Yet the matter that was being canvassed was legal and the verdict based on the evidence adduced before the court.
Reducing the matter to a political contest is being trivial and simplistic.
The IEBC must act with speed to get the ballot papers printed on time and importantly, ensure everything is done above board.