Court of Appeal Judges from left to right Jamila Mohammed,Anashir Visram,Erastus Githinji,Roselyn Nambuye and Otieno Odek who overturned High Court decision by three judge which terminated tender awarded to Al Ghurair company to print Presidential ballot papers at the Supreme court on Thursday,July 20 2017/PHOTO BY S. A. N.

Appellate Court has shut down the printing of presidential ballot papers fiasco between Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and opposition NASA.

IEBC recorded a landmark victory after the second highest court in the land five Court of Appeal judges unanimously quashed a High Court ruling on fresh procurement of presidential ballot papers and allowing printing by Dubai-based printing firm, Al Ghurair.

In their ruling, Justices Erastus Githinji, Roselyn Nambuye, Visram Alnasir, Jamilla Muhammed and Otieno Odek said that the Court erred in granting orders without regard to public participation and procurement timelines.

“The High Court exercise its discretion wrongly without regard to the constitutional timelines within which the general Election , Presidential election included must be held” court observed.

It is also found that the High Court erred in adjudging the timelines for procurement of the ballots to be operations opposed to statutory in nature .

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had appealed nullification of the tender.

High Court judges Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, and John Mativo had made a finding that the commission failed to engage in public participation while awarding the tender.

They had directed IEBC to start the process afresh and come up with a framework for ensuring public participation.

They said that the commission, as an independent body, should have engaged all presidential candidates in the decision leading to the choice of Al Ghurair printing  & Publishing through direct procurement.

They, however, declined to cancel the printing of the other ballots for the Member of County Assembly, Member of the National Assembly, senator and governor slots because there was no dispute concerning them.

In their ruling, the judges said the commission had failed to ensure public participation in awarding the tender to Al Ghurair as required by the law.

“It is necessary to ensure that election systems are free, fair and transparent. The systems should be secure and results announced promptly.

Appropriate structures should be put in place to avoid electoral malpractice,” they ruled. The judges also rejected an application by IEBC lawyers led by Fred Ngatia for a stay of execution pending appeal on Monday saying those aggrieved by the ruling can seek redress in the Court of Appeal.

They argued that it is not impossible for IEBC to start the process again in order to conduct free, fair and credible election.

The judges, however, dismissed claims by the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) that the firm met President Uhuru Kenyatta and could thus have influenced the award of the tender.

“We have not seen any evidence that there was a meeting between the President and the officials of Al-Ghurair, newspapers cuttings are insufficient to be used as evidence in a matter and therefore the allegations by Nasa that there was a meeting between president and Al-Ghurair is below threshold,” they said.

During the hearing the Dubai based firm denied links with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Al-Ghurai Printing and Publishing LLC through its managing director Ganapathy Lakshmanan says that as of now IEBC has received 50 percent of the required paper on 22 June this year adding that the electoral commission will further receive the outstanding papers by 1st week of July 2017.

“It is noteworthy that 80 percent of the governor elections ballots and 25 percent of women representatives are completed by the time of swearing this affidavit. The production process for the materials has therefore started in earnest,” says Ganapathy Lakshmanan

NASA lawyer Paul Mwangi has hinted at challenging the decision at the Supreme Court.