As it was widely expected, disagreements between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Super Alliance honcho Raila Odinga’s allies took centre stage, and almost paralysed a forum oganised by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on ballot papers.
The Monday, July 10 meeting was further thrown into disarray by revelations that the IEBC had moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge Friday’s ruling that terminated the award of the Sh2.5 billion printing tender.
The Jubilee side was represented by National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale and his Senate counterpart Kindiki Kithure, who insisted it was inappropriate for poll participants to discuss who gets the tender.
“We have no interest in who gets the job. We don’t care who gets it. Even Nasa can be given that tender if they so wish, but what we are engaged in could be prejudicial to the procurement law,” Kindiki warned.
This was in contrast to the Opposition who had sent a memorandum to the poll body in which the team suggested that the process of selection of the vendor involve participation by representatives of presidential candidates.
In the said memorandum by Odinga’s presidential secretariat Willis Otieno, Nasa argues that the Procurement Act allows for appointment of an ad hoc committee, as well as inclusion of the technical expertise from outside.
“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,” reads part of the letter by Nasa.
Adding: “Al Ghurair Company should not be considered as a supplier of presidential election ballot papers and declaration forms.”
Siaya Senator James Orengo who led the Nasa side in the talks, had refused to publicly discuss the contents of the memorandum at the Hilton Hotel, triggering a protest from Jubilee that Nasa was seeking an underhand deal.
Commission boss Wafula Chebukati had to intervene severally as temper flared freely.
Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuro Aukot asked Chebukati to make sure that the meeting does not degenerate into a Jubilee-Nasa contest.
“This meeting needs prayers,” presidential candidate Abduba Dida interjected at some point. “There are meetings I usually refer to as shameful and this is one of them.” He observed.
The meeting was necessitated following a Friday, July 7 High Court ruling by a three-judge bench which cancelled the tender for the printing of presidential ballot papers.
Aukot warned IEBC not to use yesterday’s meeting for public relations purposes on learning that the poll agency had filed an appeal on the ruling. “If you are appealing [the ruling], let’s not waste each other’s time … Let’s go battle this in court,” he said.