Cancel Sh2.5 billion ballot printing tender, ODM tells IEBC

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From left: Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission vice chair Lilian Mahiri-Zaja, Vice CEO Betty Suguna, Chairman Isaac Hassan and CEO Ezra Chiloba launch election operation plan 2015-2017 at Intercontinental hotel in Nairobi on January 14, 2016. PHOTO | JAMES EKWAM |

ODM has demanded that the electoral agency halts the Sh2.5 billion tender award for printing of ballot papers to a Dubai-based company.

The Orange party demanded that the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission immediately suspends the tender award to Al Ghurair printing firm.

It wants the tendering process initiated in a transparent and properly secured manner to avert suspicion of any underhand dealings that risk the credibility of the 2017 polls.

At the same time, ODM alleged that it was aware of State sponsored mercenaries being recruited to join the ICT department at the IEBC secretariat to aid election results manipulation in next year’s polls.

 

In a statement signed by Party Director of Elections Junet Mohammed, ODM questioned why IEBC was in a hurry to procure 130 million ballot papers, election declaration forms and poll registers, “for an election only expected a year later.”

The party said it is surprised that IEBC has already started procuring ballot papers before the voter registration exercise is completed and the actual number of registered voters published.

According to the contract terms, the Dubai company is to supply and deliver the ballot papers within 21 days after the window for political parties to nominate their candidates for various elective positions closes on May 8, next year – three months to the August 8.

The Dubai printer was the only one out of the nine bidders who went past the technical evaluation stage and was thus picked automatically.

The other eight firms that placed their bids for the lucrative tender are Ellams Products Ltd (Kenya), Manipal Technologies (India), Paarl Media (South Africa), Kl-hitech (India), Eabaltijas (Lativia), Digital Printing Supply (Italy), Tall Security Printing (UK) and United Printing and Publishing (UK).

The Orange party wondered why outgoing IEBC commissioners are being involved in the procurement process saying they are discredited for bungling the last general election.

The party also hit out at the electoral agency accusing it of resorting to single sourcing for a company “with serious local links” in such a sensitive procurement exercise.

“Did the commission undertake credible due diligence on Al Gurair in view of the fact that this is high security tender that should be free from any form of infiltration and fears?” said Junet.

The party demanded full disclosure of the directors of the company awarded the tender including names of the local agents.

The party said it was not ready to participate in a choreographed elections with predetermined outcome designed for the survival of Jubilee which they said is facing a possible election disaster due to a long story of being surrounded by lieutenants with long hands.

Junet said: “Ballot boxes are produced against an estimated number of voters-with the voter register still open and an compulsory audit still on course which may even result in fresh voter registration –how did the commission estimate the number of voters?”

The Suna East MP said ODM will continue pushing for transparent, verifiable elections that will deliver the true feeling of the people of Kenya on the ballot.

He said ODM is keenly watching the procurement of technology equipment and results transmission facility saying any pre-planned deals geared towards aiding poll rigging or conspiracies on the acquisition of the gadgets will not be accepted.

“We urge the IEBC to ensure consultations in every step they are undertaking so to ensure stakeholders are well briefed on everything surrounding the 2017 elections plans,” he said.

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