Kenya Electoral Body Fires Procurement Officer as Vote Nears

NAIROBI (Capital Markets in Africa) – Kenya’s electoral body fired its head of procurement as it seeks to source ballot papers less than two months before the country’s presidential elections.

The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission “has relieved the procurement director, Mr. Lawy Aura, of his duties,” the Nairobi-based body said on its Twitter account on Tuesday. “We are addressing the delayed sourcing of ballot papers.”

The dismissal comes a week after the body placed its director of information and technology, James Muhati, on 30 days compulsory leave after he “failed to cooperate in the provision of information requested from the department,” according to a statement issued May 27 by the commission.

Kenyan elections are fractious times for investors because of violence that engulfed the nation in three of the past five votes. In a disputed December 2007 vote, ethnic violence left 1,100 people dead and forced 350,000 more to flee their homes. The polls may “heighten political instability,” according to the International Monetary Fund, which cut its growth 2017 forecast for Kenya to 5.3 percent from an earlier 6 percent projection.

In April, the National Democratic Institute, a Washington-based advocacy group, expressed concern that inadequate measures are being put in place to deal with a potential outbreak of violence in the August vote. It said delays in installing new members of the IEBC hindered the body’s ability to organize the elections.

Election Concerns
“Any mishap two months before an election doesn’t instill confidence,” Ahmed Salim, an analyst with Dubai-based Teneo Strategy, said by phone on Tuesday. “This raises concerns about whether the IEBC is prepared to carry out elections. We were already going to have a contested election, but this lays a much more firmer foundation for that.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second, five-year term at the election, in which his main challenger will be opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Aura and IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba may have bungled a second attempt to procure ballot papers for the elections to benefit a company whose bid for the contract had previously been rejected, the Nairobi-based Standard newspaper reported June 4, citing a review of the commission’s tendering process.

Chiloba and the electoral body’s spokesman, Andrew Limo, didn’t respond to calls and mobile-phone messages when Bloomberg sought comment. Bloomberg wasn’t immediately able to find contact details for Aura.

Source: Bloomberg Business News


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