The electoral commission has accused the National Super Alliance (Nasa) of relying on alarmist and unproven claims contained in newspaper reports to oppose the award of the ballot paper printing contract to the Dubai-based firm Al Ghurair.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) told High Court judges hearing the Nasa suit that the opposition had failed to produce evidence to support claims that the government will interfere with the electoral process if the contract awarded to Al Ghurair is allowed to proceed.
Nasa, through lawyer Jackson Awele, has opposed the tender, alleging associations between the firm’s directors and shareholders with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
But the IEBC is defending its decision to award the contract to Al Ghurair, citing the option for direct procurement under the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.
“The decision to go for direct procurement was informed by the fact that there are a few days left to the constitutionally set August 8 date for conducting the General Election, and which is not subject to change,” says Kamau Karori, the IEBC’s lawyer, in court papers.
In arriving at its decision, the commission says it also considered Al Ghurair’s capacity to deliver, track record in printing ballot papers as well as reputation in handling sensitive security materials.
“The firm has been supplying ballot papers and other election materials for all the by-elections held in Kenya since 2014. During that period, none of the candidates or even political parties raised any concerns,” says the IEBC.