6 February 2013

Kenya: IEBC Says Presidential Ballot Papers Are Ready

Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica
Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of state for African affairs

The ballot papers will be in the country in time for the General Election, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has said.

Chief Electoral Officer James Oswago yesterday told journalists that Smith and Ouzman the British security firm contracted to print the papers had completed the first batch that consists of presidential ballot papers.

According to Oswago, the printer has started printing those of senators, governors and women representative positions and will then conclude with ballot papers for county assembly representatives.

The commission has also begun distributing ballot boxes across the country ahead of the March polls. IEBC is waiting on about 47,000 boxes that are due to arrive in the country possibly this week for distribution to county election offices.

"The Commission is prepared for elections. We have procured the materials and we know the arrival date for the ballot papers as well as the flights which we will let the media know of also in due course," Oswago said on the sidelines of the national training workshop for election security arrangement project for Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and police officers.

Oswago said the ballot papers will be airlifted by up to seven chartered cargo flights. "The printer is on course according to the schedule we gave them and so we are. What is left is securing the political environment," Oswago said, alluding to dealing with political campaigns.

Smith and Ouzman had acquired about 700 tonnes of raw materials consisting of special paper containing the IEBC water mark for the printing of ballot papers.

There eight presidential candidates who have been cleared by the IEBC to contest the presidency, namely Prime Minister Raila Odinga of ODM, deputy PMs Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi of TNA and UDF respectively, James ole Kiyiapi of Restore and Build Kenya, Narc Kenya's Martha Karua, KNC's Peter Kenneth and Mohammed Abduba Dida of Alliance for Real Change.

Each of the six elective posts will have a ballot paper with distinct colour in a move to minimize confusion among voters. IEBC published samples of the ballot papers showing that the presidential ballot papers will be white and contain a passport photograph and name of the presidential candidate.

The running mate on the other hand will only have his or her name on the ballot adjacent to the presidential candidate. The ballot papers for governors will be blue, those of Senators will be yellow and green for MPs.

Women representative ballot papers will be purple while county assembly Ward representative ballot papers will be beige. The voter will also be able to read the common instructions on the ballot papers on proper handling of the papers.

The British printer also supplied ballot papers to ECK for the 2007 polls, the 2005 and 2010 constitution referendum and all by-elections since 2007. It is also the same firm that does security printing works for the Kenya National Examination Council.

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