On 7th July 2017 three judges of the high court, Justices Joseph Mativo, Joel Ngugi and George Odunga squashed the tender awarded to Al Ghurair for the printing of presidential ballot papers. NASA had taken the case to the high court, arguing that Al Ghurair had connections to state house whose current occupant, President Uhuru Kenyatta, is also a contestant in the August 8th 2017 elections.
Although the high court did not squash the tender based on first four prayers from NASA, the prayer that the tender be squashed based on the fact that IEBC did not involve the public on the tendering process was upheld. The requirement that IEBC should involve the stakeholders and the public in the tendering process led IEBC to call a meeting with all presidential candidates to discuss the way forward in regards to the high court ruling. The meeting was held on Monday 10th July 2017.
During the meeting, it was learnt that IEBC had already filed an Appeal that among other things requested that the implementation of high court ruling be stopped until after a decision is arrived at by the court of Appeal. The revelation that the IEBC had appealed the high court ruling was not taken lightly by presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot who walked out of the meeting after he told IEBC that IEBC was wasting his time yet the commission was not genuinely interested to resolve the stalemate. This fact implies that IEBC will hold the so called public participation for the sake of public relations.
After the meeting, a letter written by NASA to the chair of IEBC was published on NASA’s Facebook Page. In the letter, we learn that NASA wouldn’t want to interfere with how IEBC arrives at who will print the presidential ballot papers, but urges IEBC not to award the tender to Al Ghurair.
The prayer by NASA now directed to IEBC is however likely to be ignored. This is because the high court did not find sufficient evidence that:
- Al Ghurair is linked to Uhuru Kenyatta
- That IEBC was biased in awarding the tender to Al Ghurair, and
- That Al Ghurair is not qualified to print the presidential ballot papers
Also the court ruled that it cannot interfere with IEBC on how to award the tender. With those in mind, it is easy to see that since Al Ghurair has been awarded the tender at every single turn as disputes and court cases are filed against it, IEBC has been determined to give the tender to Al Ghurair no matter what.
It is thus very obvious that the only firm IEBC has set to ward the tender to is Al Ghurair, and it could be possible that this is the case so that Jubilee is favored in the elections. Since it seems there is little NASA can now do to tilt the award to another firm, the only option left for the coalition is to think through all possible avenues of election rigging and stop them. If for example Jubilee will lay hands on excess presidential ballot papers,NASA must ensure that those excess ballot papers are not stuffed in the ballot boxes in the voting day. NASA must also be ready for the possibility that all technologies, ranging from voter verification to transmission, will fail on the voting day.
NASA must thus employ agents for every single polling station – vigilant agents. The problem NASA has is the desire to use volunteers, instead of hired labourers, to monitor the presidential elections in all polling stations. First, volunteers will be at no obligation to remain vigilant throughout the election day, especially in Jubilee stronghold polling stations. Secondly, Jubilee henchmen and women are likely to volunteer to NASA yet NASA doesn’t have the time and resources to vet each volunteer.
Then there is this thing that NASA did wrong; they requested that presidential results announced at constituency levels to be final – they ought to have requested that results announced at each polling station be final.