IEBC receives first batch of ballot papers

Saturday October 21 2017

IEBC Vice Chair Consolata Nkatha Maina

IEBC Vice Chair Consolata Nkatha Maina inspects some of the ballot papers that arrived from Dubai at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on October 21, 2017 ahead of October 26 repeat polls. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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In Dubai

The last batch of ballot papers will arrive in Nairobi hours to the election scheduled for Thursday, giving the electoral commission the hard task of ensuring they get to polling stations on time.

On Saturday, the Dubai company that produced the printed materials for the election was finishing the packaging of the last batch for dispatch to the Dubai International Airport.

The first batch of 43 pallets destined for the 10 counties farthest from Nairobi, plus one for the Diaspora, landed in Nairobi on Saturday night.

Materials for the other 22 counties – 183 pallets -will arrive at 5 pm on Monday morning and the last for 15 counties – 165 pallets- on Tuesday at 10 am.

Prof Abdi Guliye, the commissioner leading the team monitoring the work in Dubai, said the delay in printing came about as the commission had to wait for the decision of the High Court in the case filed by Dr Ekuru Aukot to be included on the ballot.

AL GHURAIR

As a result, the commission has also had to work with Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing to have the materials produced in such a way that the materials destined for counties farthest from the capital get priority.

“The preparations are such that the constituency’s ballot papers are arranged properly. Within the constituency, the ballot paper packs are arranged per polling station. It makes it easier because the pallets are arranged in such a way that you have a lorry that goes along a route,” said Prof Guliye.

The commission had already suffered the cost of having the 45,000 Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) kits reconfigured  and the Results Transmission System set to send results of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.

BALLOT PAPERS

After the court opened the door for Dr Aukot and other candidates to be on the ballot, the IEBC had the kits reconfigured to send only the images of the Forms 34A and no text.

Having to print other ballot papers would have been costly.

The commissioner was optimistic that despite the possible disruptions in parts of the country, there would still be an election.

“We have noticed the threats to our staff during the training phase. It’s really uncalled for. If certain quarters don’t want to participate, they shouldn’t stop others. The public is at liberty to turn up or not,” said Prof Guliye.

He added: “As a commission, it’s our mandate to provide ballot papers  and we ask people to turn up and express their wish.”