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Kenya court cancels presidential ballot printing contract

FILE PHOTO: Kenyatta and running mate Ruto unveil their manifesto in Nairobi recently. Court has cancelled printing of ballot papers after it was alleged company given job had links to Kenyatta.

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP |  A Kenyan court on Friday cancelled a contract to print presidential ballot papers for next month’s elections after the opposition claimed the winning company had links to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The election commission had awarded the $24 million contract to Dubai-based Al Ghurair.

A panel of three High Court judges said the process had lacked transparency and ordered a re-tendering which lawyers for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) intend to challenge, saying it could delay national polls due on August 8.

The company is still permitted to print ballot papers for parliamentary, county and other elections being held on the same day.

But with polling day just a month away, “There is absolutely no time available to engage in such an exercise,” argued lawyer Kamau Karuri.

Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati warned, “The judgement has far-reaching implications on the elections.”

The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) hailed the ruling as a victory, calling it “a democratic gift to Kenyans”.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga is due to challenge Kenyatta for second time running.

August’s elections come a decade after politically motivated ethnic violence left over 1,100 people dead following a disputed vote in 2007.

Kenyatta and Odinga previously went head-to-head in the last election in 2013, with Kenyatta winning with a knife-edge 50.07 percent of the vote.

 

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