, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is facing a major dilemma over how Mutula Kilonzo Junior’s name will be included on ballot papers for Friday’s Makueni poll.
The Wiper Democratic Movement has accused IEBC of planning to superimpose Mutula Jr’s details on already printed ballot papers as opposed to printing fresh ones that include his name, photo and the Wiper party symbol.
Wiper Chairman David Musila told Capital FM News that the party plans on Wednesday morning to seek the direction of the three-judge bench whose orders led to Mutula Jr’s nomination.
“Don’t you think it’s funny that they printed the ballot papers excluding Wiper before the High Court even issued a ruling on the matter?” he posed.
When asked to comment on the accusation by Capital FM News, IEBC Secretary James Oswago simply said, “either way his name will be on the ballot.”
The commission’s chairman Issack Hassan had in a television interview on Sunday expressed concern that they may not be able to print the ballot papers on time given the late inclusion of Mutula Jr as a candidate in the Makueni Senate race.
“They were ready from the printer’s side but the moment the court put an injunction they had to wait for the court to give a ruling and by the time the court gave the order it was too late for them to print all the papers with the name of the new candidate. So we are going to expect some problems there,” Hassan said in the course of Sunday’s interview.
Sunday was however not the first time IEBC had raised concerns over the time required to print the Makueni by-election ballot papers with the commission’s counsel Kimani Muhoro raising the worry time and again when they appeared before the High Court.
When Wiper first petitioned the High Court to allow it nominate a replacement candidate for Kethi Kilonzo, Justice Isaac Lenaola allowed the commission to proceed with preparations for the by-election but he did not issue a definitive order on the printing of ballot papers.
The question of the printing of ballot papers reared its head again when Muhoro attempted to impress upon Justice Richard Mwongo, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir that it would be ill-advised to give Wiper until this past Saturday to present their candidate for nomination.