Nasa, Jubilee ready to face off in ballot tender case

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By MAUREEN KAKAH
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By ABIUD OCHIENG
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By BARACK ODUOR
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Nasa and Jubilee Party will face off on Tuesday next week over the controversial ballot papers printing tender.

Nasa is opposed to the tender awarded to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC, while Jubilee Party supports the tender and has accused the opposition coalition of trying to disrupt the General Election set for August 8.

IEBC awarded the Dubai firm tender to print ballot papers for six elective positions.

INTEGRITY QUESTIONS
Nasa claims there is publicly available information of an association between Al Ghurair’s directors and shareholders and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The coalition in court papers claims that other integrity questions surrounding the firm’s dealings in similar assignments in other countries makes it unfit for the vital task of printing election materials including ballot papers to be used for general election in a free and democratic society such as Kenya.

Nasa has sued the IEBC and Al Ghurair.

JUDGES APPOINTED
Today, High Court Judge George Odunga directed that Jubilee Party, Attorney General Githu Muigai, Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot and voter Samuel Waweru be enjoined in the case.

Last evening, Chief Justice David Maraga complied with a High Court request that he names a bench of not less than three judges to hear the case.

“I direct that this matter be heard by High Court judges Joel Ngugi, George Odunga and John Mativo.

“Given the urgency of this matter, their Lordships are hereby authorised to sit beyond working hours, if necessary,” the CJ said in his directions.

CANCEL TENDER
Justice Odunga had also directed all the parties to file and exchange their court papers ahead of the hearing.

Nasa through lawyer Jackson Awele wants the High Court to grant orders nullifying the award of the tender to Al Ghurair and an order compelling IEBC to reconsider the award, taking into account the views of the relevant stakeholders in the said elections in its decision.

IEBC through lawyer Kamau Karoli said that Nasa is wrongly seeking to curtail its mandate to procure election materials.

PROCESS UNDER WAY
The contract for the supply of the election materials including ballot papers was entered into on June 10.

The artwork for the ballot papers has been submitted to the printers and the ballot proofs generated.

Printing of the actual ballot papers has commenced.

“The orders sought cannot be issued because preparations for elections are at such an advanced stage that to make the orders sought will make it impossible for the elections to be conducted on August 8,” Mr Karoli said.

CREDIBILITY
The enjoined voter through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui also opposed the suit filed by Nasa, saying the opposition should have raised the present issues in a suit it had earlier filed.

He termed the present case “an afterthought meant to derail IEBC”.

However, Mr Aukot through lawyer Elias Mutuma said that IEBC has admitted that it had awarded Al Ghurair a direct tender through single sourcing.

“Mr Aukot has reason to believe that the contract was in breach of the Constitution and is marred by secrecy and if the status quo is maintained the forthcoming elections will lose credibility, verifiability and transparency,” Mr Mutuma argued.

All the parties however agree that the matter raises weighty issues touching on the Constitution that should be heard and determined urgently.

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