IEBC should print its voting papers abroad

In Summary

• The IEBC has released a tender for ballot papers and voting materials for the 2022 elections

• Some of the required security specifications are technically very advanced such as UV logos and an anti-copy feature

An officials unpacks election materials.
An officials unpacks election materials.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has put out a tender for voting materials for the presidential, parliamentary and county elections in 2022 (see P6).

Government should always try to buy Kenyan. But with voting materials, it is better to buy from a foreign supplier.

The IEBC tender, downloadable from their website, indicates some of the technical parameters including an IEBC logo only visible under UV light; micro text; serialised number codes; watermarks; and a security feature where the word 'Copy' appears if the papers are photocopied.

Local printers in Kenya cannot deliver most of these security features. Even the banknotes from the De La Rue factory in Nairobi don't match the latest features from foreign security printers.

So, sadly, it is safer to use foreign security printers.

Foreign printers also have no vested interest in manipulating election results by printing extra ballot papers. They just want to make their normal profit while protecting their reputation.

So the IEBC should resist any pressure to dilute the technical specifications for its printed material to allow Kenyan printers to participate. This could imperil the result of the elections and potentially destabilise Kenya.

Quote of the day: “When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?” 

John Ball
The English rebel was hanged on July 15, 1381