The Greek company, which won the contract to print ballot papers for Kenya’s Aug. 9 elections, began shipping them to Nairobi on Thursday despite presidential candidate Raila Odinga trying to align its officials with the rival coalition-led government by Vice President William Ruto.
Mr Odinga’s coalition – Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition – has sensationally claimed a conspiracy involving officials from Inform Lykos (Hellas) SA Holding and the Electoral Commission to rig the August 9 presidential election in favor of his opponent. His allies leaked letters earlier in the week between Senator Moses Wetang’ula, a senior member of the Vice President’s campaign team, and the Greek Embassy in Nair obi applied for an employee travel visa for a business trip months before the ballot printing contract was awarded. The Odinga campaign has also claimed private meetings between Mr. Wetang’ula and Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC).
Mr. Wetang’ula and Mr. Chebukati have denied any involvement in manipulating the tender for ballot printing in favor of the Greek company or a ballot filling plot.
Mr Chebukati, who is set to chair a second election to head the Electoral Commission, warned politicians against profiling Electoral Commission officials and attacking them credibility of the institution, barely a month before the elections.
Also read:IEBC begins to feel pressure from candidates
Both Mr. Wetang ‘ula and Mr. Chebukati are from Bungoma County in western Kenya.
The current standoff reflects acrimonious exchanges surrounding preparations for the last election in 2017, when Mr. Odinga also claimed that Dubai’s election printer, Al ghoo rair, have ties with the leadership of the ruling Jubilee Party.
The e Lectoral Body has been desperate to restore public confidence it lost after the Supreme Court annulled the results of the 2017 presidential election.< /p>
Read:IEBC asks candidates for confidence p>
The judges reserved their harshest criticism of the IEBC, blaming their botch in submitting the results and the counting of votes.
The IEBC is also no stranger to procurement scandals, with internal disputes over contracts being accepted having forced its former chief executive and three commissioners to resign in 2018.
Mr Chebukati is just one of three survivors from the team that ran the 2017 election after another commissioner fled to the United States after receiving death threats until the re-election on October 26, 2017. The recruiters The appointment of four new commissioners in September last year restored some semblance of order to the IEBC, but it was not enough to allay suspicions.
Moreover, questioning the latest g-Treaty ballot Mr Odinga has in recent weeks escalated his demand that the IEBC provide a manual electoral roll at polling stations to identify voters in the event of a failure of the backup biometric kit.
The electoral body originally said so would only use electronic voter identification, but seems to have softened its stance recently.