NASA’s Politics of Presidential Ballot Papers

On June 9, IEBC awarded the Ksh 2.5 billion tender to Dubai based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company based in Dubai. IEBC gave reasons for picking Al Ghurair which included, the firm’s reputation of having machine capacity of 50 percent that can handle the required backup to handle emergency production, packaging and delivery plan. The company has qualified personnel and the financial capacity to fund its obligation. The firm has reputable experience with clients in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The company’s prices are competitive and within the prevailing market rates. NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga opposed the award of the tender and said, the “owners of this firm hosted senior Jubilee officials in Dubai in February last year during which the ballot printing tender was discussed.”

Raila alleged that President Kenyatta’s family had ties with the owners of the Dubai based firm. “Officials of the firm were in Kenya in October 2016 as heads of the business delegation brought by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce during which they held further talks on this contract with Jubilee officials.

That’s how IEBC became hell bent on delivering the printing tender to Al Ghurair,” he said. Siaya Senator and NASA’s lawyer said, “we will not take this matter lightly. We will challenge it to the end and ensure due process is followed and Kenyans are given a free and fair election.” On July 7th, NASA got reprieve from High Court after the court ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) to re-advertise the presidential ballot paper tender.

The three judge bench made of George Odunga, Joel Ngugi and John Mativo ruled that IEBC had disregarded public participation in the awarding of the tender. IEBC’s defence was that there was limited time to the August 8th elections which did not allow adequate public participation. “If we allow public participation in the tendering process, which is not in the procurement law, it means organizations will have to seek public views even when they are procuring stationery like biros,” IEBC submitted to the court.

On 10th July IEBC filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal and argued, “the learned judges erred in fact when they found that there is still time available to the appellant to procure election material without any factual basis and disregarding the professional assessment of the appellant.” President Kenyatta accused NASA for using the judiciary to interfere with the August 8th elections.

They should stop playing with the minds of Kenyans. If they are not ready for the polls, let them step aside and allow those who want to participate to do so instead of trying to sabotage the process,” President Kenyatta said. Jubilee leadership further accused the chief justice and judges for practicing judicial activism, “where is the independence of the Judiciary, when judges who are relatives of those who have cases with us are appointed to preside over the cases?

Help us to understand what happens when appointed judges unapologetically show that they are biased?” DP Ruto said. Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju said that, “we are shocked and concerned that some judges handling the cases did not declare conflict of interest. We respect the judiciary but we have a right to critique them,” he said. Tuju claimed that, “Justice Odunga is related to James Orengo through marriage.

He did not declare this thus there is a conflict of interest. The younger sibling of Odunga’s wife is actually named James Orengo. Did Chief Justice Maraga know all this?” Tuju asked. NASA has maintained that it will continue to push for transparency in the tendering process of presidential ballot papers.

“It’s our view that the supply of presidential elections ballot papers should be awarded to a reputable international company with a long history of provision of similar services to modern democratic states,” read a statement from NASA.

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