President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday talked of an opposition plot to delay this year’s General Election by contesting the award of a tender to print ballots to a Dubai-based company.
While on a tour of Kericho, they said the Opposition’s ultimate plan was to delay the elections and force Jubilee into a coalition government before elections were held.
“This will not happen,” the two who held a series of roadside rallies at Kipsitet, Fort Tenan, Londiani, Chepsion, Kericho Town, Kapsoit, Sosiot, Sigowet, Roret, Cheborge, Litein and Kapkatet, said.
The county, a Jubilee stronghold, has almost 250,000 voters.
On Wednesday, the Opposition had questioned the award of the tender to print and supply ballots to the Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing company, whose chief executive Aziz Al Ghurair is allegedly a close friend of the Kenyatta family.
National Super Alliance co-principal Musalia Mudavadi said Mr Muhoho Kenyatta, the President’s brother, was the local agent of the firm awarded the Sh2.5 billion tender.
“We want President Kenyatta to come clean on his and his family’s links with the firm and state his interest in the contract. The interest, in our view, is clear; the President and his Jubilee team are looking for a company that can supply extra ballots secretly as was the case in 2013,” said the Amani National Congress leader.
The President dismissed the statement on Thursday.
Mr Kenyatta said he would not allow the election to be delayed, “even for a second”, pointing out that Kenyans should be allowed to exercise their right to elect leaders of their choice.
The President said his administration had given in to many opposition demands, including reforming the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and was wondering why Nasa did not have faith in the commission’s ability to oversee credible elections.
“They wanted commissioners out. We agreed even though we did not support the move. Now they are contesting the award of the tender to print ballot papers. It appears these people are not ready for the elections,” said Mr Kenyatta.
“We are ready even if they want Mudavadi to oversee it. Enough is enough. We know the games they are playing.”
Mr Ruto said Jubilee was not interested in the tender as long as the elections went on as planned.
He told opposition leaders to nominate a company to supply the papers.
“We will have no problem with that as long as there is an election in August. Let them go ahead and tell us which firm they prefer to print the papers,” he said.
“Their tactic of engineering election delays will not work. There will be no coalition arrangement or acquiring power through the back door. It is Kenyans who will elect their leaders.”
The President also denied reports that Jubilee was raiding public coffers to run its campaigns, saying the business of the government must continue.
“The government has a right to listen to people’s shortcomings and show them the work done,” he said.
“The Opposition has been saying that we have not done much. Why are they jittery whenever we launch projects?”
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto used the rallies to market their record and make promises to residents, among them compensation of internally displaced people, access to subsidised fertiliser, construction of roads and hospitals, a sugar mill in Kipsitet, waiver of loans for sugarcane, coffee and tea farmers, among others.
The President said IDPs’ cheques would be delivered by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter.
Mr Kenyatta and his deputy take their campaigns to Bomet on Friday, the home of Governor Isaac Ruto