The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has advertised a tender for the supply of referendum material despite an ongoing legal battle on the proposed Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum.

In an advertisement placed in local dailies on Wednesday 14th July, the commission calls for interested applicants to submit tender applications for supplying election material.

The tender serial number IEBC/OIT/002/21/2021/2022 asks for applications to supply and deliver ballot papers, voter registers, statutory election result declaration forms to be used at the polling station.

IEBC Officials during a past election/ Photo courtesy

The controversy lies in the part where it includes 'election and referendum result declaration forms to be sued at the constituency, county and national tallying centre' in what is described as a three-year contract.

The Court of Appeal has scheduled August 20th as the day it announces the verdict in an appeal where BBI Proponents faulted the High Court for declaring the constitutional change process as unconstitutional.

The judgement could be in favour of the proponents or the court could uphold the judgement made by the High Court.

It, therefore, begs the question as to why IEBC is tendering for a referendum that may ultimately not take place.

Human rights activist Boniface Mwangi, a key figure in the Linda Katiba Initiative that led the anti-BBI case at the High Court questioned whether IEBC had information on the verdict.

"What's does IEBC know that Kenya Judiciary and the rest of Kenyans don't know? How do you procure referendum tallying forms when the matter is in court? Or they just want to waste taxpayers cash by buying forms that won't be used?" he asked

Advocate and seasoned politician Martha Karua, who was involved in the BBI Appeal case, also took to Twitter to question IEBC on the tender.

"What is this?" She tweeted the electoral body

Kenyans on social media called for the commission to be found in contempt of court.

One expressed their opinion by forwarding the conspiracy theory that another scandal may be in the offing.

Other users also expressed concern that the IEBC Chairman may be under pressure to ensure the referendum is held.