Sonko case to delay printing of ballot papers, warns IEBC

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (right). [Collins Kweyu, Standard

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has said it may have trouble delivering ballot papers for the Mombasa governorship election after a court issued orders stopping their printing.

Lawyer Edwin Mukele yesterday said that a printing company had warned that the orders would present a challenge to timely delivery of the voting materials.

“IEBC has received communication from the Greek company printing the ballot papers, and because of the interim orders they will face difficulty in presenting papers for the gubernatorial seat of Mombasa,” said Mr Mukele.

On Monday, justices Olga Sewe, Ann Ong’injo and Stephen Githinji stopped the IEBC from printing ballot papers of Abdulswamad Nassir (ODM), Omar Hassan (UDA), William Kingi (PAA), Awiti Bolo (Vibrant Democratic Party), Shafi Makazi (United Party of Independent Alliance (UPIA), Daniel Kitsao (Independent) and Said Abdalla (Usawa Kwa Wote Party).

The bench also stopped Wiper Democratic Party from fielding another candidate pending the hearing and determination of a petition filed by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who has sued the county returning officer and the electoral agency in his battle to be included on the ballot.

Mr Mukele asked the bench to stay their orders or review them and have parties to orally submit and dispense with the petition filed by Sonko against the IEBC’s Dispute Resolution Committee.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Moses Kipkogei said that any decision that may impede on the timely delivery of elections must be avoided. “The orders given yesterday (Monday) will jeopardise an election being undertaken in August. The Constitution provides only one day for elections and doesn’t confer any office or person to assign a different date.”

But Sonko’s lawyers led by John Khaminwa, Wilfred Nyamu, Jared Magolo and Derrick Odhiambo accused the electoral agency of “placing commercial interests before democracy” by seeking to rush the hearing on the basis that a firm will suffer losses.

Mr Nyamu said there was no gazette notice issued or published about printing of ballot papers.

Wiper Party lawyer Eunice Lumalas said that in 2017, the High Court canceled an entire tender process in a case involving NASA versus IEBC.

The bench allowed Sonko leave to file a supplementary affidavit and submission, and for the respondents to file responses for highlighting of submissions today.