Kenyans will not have ballot papers to cast for the Presidential election on August 8 if the orders of the High Court are implemented, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has told the Court.
During the hearing on Friday, Court of Appeal judges Festus Githinji, Otieno Odek, Jamilla Mohamed, Alnassir Visram and Roslyn Nambuye were told that if IEBC is to follow the orders of the lower court, it will require 50 days to have the much needed voting papers in the country.
Through lawyers Paul Muite, Kamau Karori and Milly Odari, the commission argued that it will require 23 days to have a fresh procurement documents and consider views by the political parties and an additional 21 days to have the printing done.
According to the commission, proof-reading and acceptance will require at least six days, of which the August 8 date will have already passed. “We will not have presidential ballot papers if we do not start printing on Tuesday as had been envisaged. We will need at least 50 days to have those papers in the country if the orders of the High Court are followed,” IEBC told the appellate court.
According to the commission, the National Super Alliance 9NASA) made a deliberate move to sue close to the election date in order to derail the whole process. “Why did NASA have to wait until June 22 knowing there was time constraint?” paused lawyer Kamau. IEBC said the orders of High Court judges Joel Ngugi, George Odunga and Joseph Onguto were confusing as they quashed the entire tender but went ahead to order that it should procure the presidential ballot papers.
According to IEBC, the High Court was in error by splitting the tender and then giving orders that touched all of it. The commission said it covered at least 90 percent of the public by engaging NASA and Jubilee as MPs for budget approval. Consequently, representatives of all the parties were to be taken to Dubai to oversee the printing process.
“If the election is not conducted on the intended day because the papers are not there, IEBC will be blamed and not the parties,” argued Muite.
At the same time, the Jubilee Party, through lawyers Fred Ngatia and Ahmednassir Abdullahi, and Attorney General Githu Muigai argued that the High Court judges never considered that IEBC ought to make an independent decision away from political influence.
“Participation cannot be equal to political parties directing IEBC on who and where to procure the papers,” the judges were told. In reply, NASA through its lawyers James Orengo, Jackson Awele and Paul Mwangi argued that the whole tendering process was shrouded with secrecy. “They resolved to pick Al Ghurair in May and gave the information to the public in June,” Orengo told the court. (Copyright: The Standard)
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