Azimio: We noticed two suspicious activities in IEBC election materials printing

Police officers verify Presidential ballot papers at JKIA. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition has written to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati over what it terms as two suspicious activities observed in the printing of electoral materials in Athens, Greece.

The coalition had sent two representatives, alongside other stakeholders, to supervise the printing of election materials for the presidential election.

In a letter by Azimio’s Chief Legal Adviser Paul Mwangi, (dated July 27) the coalition claims IEBC published the second book of Form 34As.

He adds that his efforts to raise the issues with IEBC representatives bore no fruit.

“I raised these issues today at the Airport when we attended the ceremony to receive the first batch of Presidential ballot papers,”

“Our team picked up that there were two books of Form 34As which were labelled as Book 1 of 2 and Book 2 of 2. The team sought a clarification from the Commissioners representing the Commission during the visit and the explanation given was that extra Form 34As were needed in each polling station because there was a need to give copies to election Observers, media and other stakeholders,” Mwangi’s letter read in part.

While receiving the first batch of 2022 Presidential ballot papers this morning, IEBC vice-chair Juliana Cherera assured Kenyans that there will be no excess ballot papers printed.

She said that was to avoid any foul play which extends to ballot-stuffing.

"However, the team takes note of the printer's concern, especially on the late court ruling that delayed the printing schedule. The company had planned the last delivery date would be on July 29, 2022. However, due to the court ruling delay, the final delivery date will be August 3,” she added.

The coalition has also claimed that it observed that no form 34Bs were being printed in Greece.

“The second disturbing issue our team discovered at the printing firm was that the Commission did not submit an order to the printer for Form 34B. When our team inquired about this, they were informed that Form 34B was not necessary and that it will "generate itself' when results from Form 34A are keyed in,” he added.

Despite the explanations given by the IEBC officials to the coalition’s representatives, they (Azimio coalition) have rejected them.

In his letter, Mwangi argues that the copies of form 34As printed have complete security features that satisfy electoral law requirements and regulations just like the original one.

“However, it is clear that Book 2 of 2 was never intended to be a copy of Book 1 of 2 because it has a separate and distinct serial numbering. Book 2 of 2 is not an intended continuation of the declaration in Book 1 of 2 but actually a separate and parallel result declaration form,” Mwangi said.

Moreover, Mwangi says Form 34Bs are always printed with similar security features as Form 34A and the rest of the election materials.

“There is, therefore, no room for the Commission to exercise any discretion in this matter. The Commission must print Form 34Bs on the same footing as it has printed Form 34A,”

Last week, a 14-member team flew to Athens, Greece to witness the printing of election materials.

The team included religious leaders, representatives of presidential candidates, civil society representatives, the office of the Registrar of Political Parties, the Political Parties Liaison Committee and the Media Council of Kenya.

However, the commission disclosed that two presidential candidates, Agano Party’s David Mwaure and his Roots party counterpart Prof George Wajackoyah, did not send their representatives.