The 2022 general elections are barely a year away and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC has started to make early preparations to avoid the last-minute rush. The electoral body over the week started tendering for electoral material by placing tender adverts for interested parties and companies to submit their bids.
Kenyans however raised questions when they saw an advert from the electoral body seeking to procure referendum results declaration forms. While the invitation to tender for ballot papers, among other poll materials, is a routine undertaking coming a year to the next elections, the reference to referendum stuff has raised eyebrows given the pending Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) appeal.
According to the order of the High Court, the IEBC was barred from making any move regarding the referendum until the appeal at the Court of Appeal is heard and determined. With the order still in place and that the appeal has not been determined, questions have been raised on why the IEBC went ahead to tender for referendum materials.
On a paid-up advert in the Daily Newspaper, the IEBC invited firms to bid for the printing and delivery of referendum results declaration forms for the constituency, and national tallying centers. This new development has angered the BBI critics who have accused the commission of trying to pre-determine the outcome of the appeal. This has forced a section of BBI critics to move to court seeking to compel the electoral body to obey court orders.
“We read mischief in the advert. The description of the items being tendered suggests that the commission is violating the orders it had sought in court. There is already a court order stopping the commission from taking any action in preparation for a referendum. But the commission has ignored it. It has gone ahead and advertised the tender,” lawyer Mr Mwiti said.
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