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First batch of presidential ballots due in the country Saturday

A voter casts their ballot in the August 8 poll/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 – The first batch of ballot papers for the October 26 fresh presidential election will be delivered to the country on Saturday.

More ballot papers are expected early next week, ahead of the Thursday presidential election boycotted by National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga who has accused the electoral commission of failing to undertake crucial reforms to ensure a level playing field before the fresh poll.

According to Commissioner Abdi Guliye who is overseeing the printing process in Dubai, the first consignment will include ballot papers for eight far-flung counties most of which are located in the Northeastern part of the country.

The Commission also made a decision to include United Democratic Party candidate Cyrus Jirongo in the August 8 presidential election after he contested his exclusion from the election.

“It is easier from an operational point of view to include him now rather than being given an order to include him when you’ve already printed the ballot papers,” Commissioner Guliye explained.

Other than Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee Party), other candidates on the ballot are Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance), Alliance for Real Change leader Abduba Dida and independent presidential candidates Michael Wainaina, Joseph Nyagah and Japheth Kaluyu.

Odinga has however insisted that he is out of the race citing among other concerns, failure by IEBC to carry out critical reforms including the award of ballot printing tender to a printer other than Al Ghurair.

IEBC, however, explained to Odinga in a formal response to his demands that it could not have been possible to drop Al Ghurair given strict timelines the commission finds itself working in after the Supreme Court ruling on September 1 that nullified the re-election of President Kenyatta.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto insist the election must take place, with or without Odinga’s participation.

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