Dubai Company may print ballot papers for repeat election

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Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing -based in Dubai, will most likely supply ballot papers for the fresh presidential elections set for October 17, despite earlier objections by the Opposition.

According to a sources at the electoral commission said the firm signed a three-year contract with IEBC and would print ballot papers for a rematch between President Kenyatta and Nasa’s Raila Odinga.

The tender (ballot papers printing), was awarded to the firm in the run-up to the August poll despite strong objections from NASA which claimed that the firm had some relations with President Kenyatta.

Sticking to Al Ghurair may also have been informed by the strict timeline the commission finds itself in after the Supreme Court ruling on September 1 that nullified the re-election of President Kenyatta.

“Maybe they can listen to the stakeholders on the objection of the firm and also since the October poll is a special case but let’s wait and see what will come from the Naivasha meeting,” sources added.

On Sunday, the IEBC commissioners and managers started a three-day retreat at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha to resolve internal divisions arising after the Supreme Court ruling.

Sources at the hotel confirmed 30 tentative bookings for the team for three days, starting Sunday but the commission was itself tight-lipped about the agenda of the retreat which ends Tuesday, with the secretariat claiming that only commissioners will be in attendance.

The electoral body was expected at the hotel beginning Sunday afternoon until Tuesday evening.

IEBC communications Chief Andrew Limo said the meeting was aimed at giving the commissioners an opportunity to unwind after days of internal wrangling following the Supreme Court judgment that put the commission on the spot.

He said he was not aware of the specific agenda but “it is a retreat for the commissioners to enjoy their quiet time. In fact I am in Nairobi, it is just the commissioners who are there.”

The media was locked out of the hotel on Sunday with guards at the gate saying they had strict instructions to block journalists.

A senior IEBC official said he was not aware where the commissioners were supposed to lodge, adding: “It is a retreat which is supposed to be a private affair.”

The official, however, said the commissioners would make their position known after deliberating the emerging issues, indicating that they were unlikely to issue their statement in Naivasha but in Nairobi.

The IEBC has also released a revised timetable leading up to the October 17 election.

According to the timetable, the commission has set aside seven days, starting Sunday, to hire 40,883 presiding officers and their deputies.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said those to be recruited will be drawn from the existing database of applicants excluding those that may have committed irregularities during the August 8 election.

The timetable further provides that both President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga have eight days to sign and submit their code of conduct to the commission, while voter education will start on September 18 until October 15, two days before the poll.

IEBC has further set aside 24 days, from September 21 to October 14, to train staff on the use of Kenya Integrated Election Management systems (Kiems).

Mr Chebukati said they had submitted to the National Treasury a draft budget to be given funds.