NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 28 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has dismissed claims that printing of presidential ballot papers commenced way ahead of the July 20 Court of Appeal ruling on sourcing of election materials for the presidential election.
IEBC Communications Manager Andrew Limo termed the claims by Thirdway Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot as false and insincere.
Limo said in a statement released Friday, shortly after Aukot’s claims, that contrary to the assertions by the Thirdway leader, the Commission had not commenced the printing process until the court had issued a ruling on the matter.
“Owing to the constraints of time, the Commission instructed Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC to start printing ballot papers immediately the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal by the IEBC,” Limo stated.
“It is worth noting that the representatives of presidential candidates, who travelled to Dubai to participate in the monitoring of the printing, arrived there three days after our instructions,” he added.
Aukot had told the press that 95 per cent of the printing had been concluded by the time observers representing various presidential candidates arrived at the Dubai-based printer on July 27.
“About 95 per cent of the printing work for the presidential ballot papers had been completed and packed in various pallets ready for export to Nairobi,” Aukot claimed.
Limo, however, argued in the statement that being a party to the Court of Appeal proceedings, Aukot’s party had an undisclosed conflict of interest explaining why “the rest of the team (observers) in Dubai has a completely opposite view of Thirdway Alliance.”
He further stated that the Commission had nothing to hide, assuring that they will remain steadfast in pursuit of free and fair elections.
Thirdway also questioned the criteria used by the poll agency in arriving at the rationale of printing one per cent in access of the required 19.6 ballot papers whose minting was concluded Thursday night.
The party also sought assurances the tracking of movement of the ballot while on transit as well as tallying pallets of the election materials for the 290 constituencies.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati had earlier in the day assured that systems had been put in place to ensure all ballot papers are accounted for in his State of Election Preparedness Address at the National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya.
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Commissioner Roselyn Akombe who together with her counterpart Paul Kurgat oversaw the printing process which commenced on July 20, stated on Monday that mechanisms to guard against misuse of ballot papers had been put in place.
“We’ve made it clear to all our officers that we shall be doing ballot count at three-hour intervals and that must be consistent with the voter turnout reported by the KIEMS gadgets,” she said at a forum on election preparedness convened by Mkenya Daima under the auspices of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).
The first consignment of presidential ballot papers will arrive in the country on Monday, the final batch set to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on August 1.