The tussle over the printing of ballots for this year’s General Election by Al Ghurair is exactly what happened in Zambia before the incumbent narrowly won with 50.32%
At the centre of the controversy was the Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing, which was recently awarded a Sh2.5 billion tender by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to print 130 million ballots.
Zambia’s opposition questioned why the Electoral Commission of Zambia awarded Al Ghurair the contract over the South African company Ren-Form Printing, which, until then had been printing ballots for the ECZ.
Following a challenge by Ren-Form, the Zambia Public Procurement Authority cancelled the tender and ordered it to be re-advertised, but Al Ghurair won it again. Zambia’s electoral commission said the company met its specifications on security features on the ballots, but the Opposition smelled a rat.
Following opposition protests, officers from Zambia’s electoral body offered to sponsor one agent from each presidential candidate to witness the printing of the ballots to allay any suspicions.
In the wake of Nasa’s protests against IEBC’s move to award the contract to Al Ghurair, the IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba and the commission’s chairman Wafula Chebukati have made a similar offer to NASA.