IEBC picks Al-Ghurair again to print October 17 presidential ballot papers

A presidential paper sample.

The IEBC on Tuesday added impetus to the controversy surrounding the management of the impending presidential poll with the release of a document indicating it intends to award the multi-million ballot paper printing contract to the controversial Dubai-based Al-Ghurair company.

The message, which heightened NASA coalition’s opposition to the repeat poll, was communicated to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga, in a nine-page Memo.

“Given that the commission already has a framework agreement with Al-Ghurair, we intend to proceed with printing with the company,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said in the document.

Raila’s NASA coalition is opposed to the Dubai firm’s participation in any aspect of the impending election, arguing it has ties with Uhuru and his Jubilee Party – a claim the president denies.

NASA also blames Al-Ghurair for the many irregularities in the August 8 General Election, many of which arose from use of questionable documents such as Forms 34A, and Bs that were found to be bearing doubtful identity and security features.

Chebukati, however, attempted to allay the opposition’s fears with an assurance that the commission would add additional security features to ensure the integrity of the ballot papers and other election material.

“We will install a tracking system with end to end visibility to monitor and track movement of the presidential ballot papers during the entire freight from the printer, to the warehouse, the constituency and the polling stations,” Chebukati said.

The IEBC document was presented to Raila and Deputy President William Ruto during an aborted meeting with the IEBC at the poll agency’s Anniversary Towers headquarters. NASA protested what it termed an “ambush” with the document and Jubilee’s failure to show up on time and walked away from the meeting.

Chebukati, in the agenda document, also rubbished NASA’s clamour for the sacking of IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba and his replacement with a seven-member special project team to be headed by Chiloba’s deputy, Marjan Hussein Marjan.

Chebukati had on Monday said the Special Projects team would have a specific purpose of delivering the October 17 poll, but with the continued help of the existing structure in the secretariat, including Chiloba as the chief executive.

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