The Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) advertisment on a tender for the supply of election materials, including referendum results declaration form has raised a controversy.
The announcement indicated that IEBC is preparing to hold the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum even though the Appellate Court has not ruled on the legitimacy of the initiative.
The electoral agency invited international tender bids for a contract that will run three years.
“IEBC invites sealed tenders for the supply and delivery of ballot papers, registrar of voters, statutory election result declaration forms to be used at the polling station, election and referendum result declaration forms to be used at the constituency, county and national tallying centre on a three-year framework contract,” states the advert.
All tenders must be accompanied by a tender security in Kenyan currency or easily convertible currency equivalent to Sh20 million valid for 210 days from the date of opening the tender.
Tender security should be in the form of a bank guarantee and all payments are to be made to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
The agency stated that the process will be conducted under open international tendering method using a standardized tender document.
“Tendering will be conducted under open international tendering method using a standardised tender document. Tendering is open to all qualified security printing firms,” stated the agency.
A High Court bench comprising Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita had in May declared the planned referendum through the BBI as illegal, null and void.
The ruling has since been challenged in the Court of Appeal, and the appellate court directed the IEBC not to engage in any preparations for a possible referendum until the matter is determined next month.
However, the commission said that the tender is part of its preparedness for next year’s General Election.
Lawyer Ian Mwiti, who represented Dr. Jack Mwimali, the 14th respondent in the BBI case at the Court of Appeal said that the advertisement indicates that the commission is pre-empting the judgement of the court.
According to him, the commission is preparing ground for an outcome that is favourable to the proponents of Constitution change.
However, secretariat co-chair Junet Mohammed said they expect the commission to be on standby.
“If the Court of Appeal clears the Bill, IEBC has to prepare for a referendum. We don’t want to hear stories that they cannot conduct a referendum and a general election,” he said.