Kenya’s appeals court on Thursday quashed a ruling cancelling a contract to print presidential ballot papers, a victory for the electoral commission less than three weeks before general elections. The decision comes two weeks after the high court ordered the electoral commission to start a tender process from scratch, arguing a lack of transparency in the awarding of the printing contract to a Dubai-based firm. The pending court case raised tensions in the lead-up to what is set to be a close battle between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga on August 8, with observers on high alert for possible violence. However, the five-judge bench at the appeals court quashed the ruling.
It said Odinga’s opposition coalition NASA had failed to prove that there were links between the Dubai-based firm and Kenyatta.
In addition, “the trial court erred when it imposed requirement for public participation”, said the judges.
August’s elections come a decade after politically-motivated ethnic violence left over 1 100 people dead following a disputed vote in 2007 between Odinga and former president Mwai Kibaki.