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Economy

IEBC urges patience over ballot stalemate

MR WAFULA CHEBUKATI, THE IEBC CHAIR. FILE PHOTO | NMG
MR WAFULA CHEBUKATI, THE IEBC CHAIR. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

The electoral body has appealed for patience, even as it moved to the appellate court to contest last Friday’s judgment which nullified the presidential ballot printing tender awarded to Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman, Wafula Chebukati, yesterday met presidential aspirants and promised further engagement before making procurement decisions.

“This was purely a consultative meeting. We shall retreat and come up with a consultative decision that takes into account all your views. We shall come out and tell the country the way forward as far as this matter is concerned,” he said.

READ: Court orders new tender for presidential ballot
As the consultative meeting was going on, IEBC lawyers were in court to appeal the Friday decision that has compelled the agency to subject its tendering process to public participation.
The IEBC is seeking an order to stop the implementation of the High Court judgment until its appeal is heard and determined.

Judges Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, and John Mativo said the commission had failed to engage the public while awarding the tender to Al Ghurair. They directed the IEBC to start the process afresh and come up with a framework for ensuring public participation.

The IEBC has also invited the public to submit views on the matter by Tuesday.

“By the said finding, the judges were in effect directing IEBC to usurp Parliament’s role of legislating,” the IEBC states in its court papers.

The presidential aspirants who attended yesterday’s consultative meeting questioned its sincerity in discussing a matter in court.

“If you have already appealed this decision, then you need to save us time because what we are doing here is pure PR,” said Thirdway Alliance presidential aspirant Ekuru Aukot before walking out of the meeting.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking re-election on the Jubilee Party ticket, and Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga sent their representatives while Independent candidate Joseph Nyagah was absent. Mr Chebukati faulted Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga for failing to show up for the meeting, saying their agents would be locked out of the next meeting.

Earlier, the consultative forum turned into an arena for verbal exchanges among participants.

In its court papers, the IEBC said the High Court judges erred when they ignored the constitutional function and autonomy of the IEBC to set operational programmes, including the timetable for procurement of election materials.

The electoral commission said the judges also erred in determining that there was still time available to the IEBC to procure the election material while disregarding its professional assessment.
The IEBC said the judgment had also split the tender in contravention of the law. Only the tender for presidential ballot papers was nullified, with the printing of election materials for the other six elective positions expected to go on.

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