By Stephen Makabila
The nine commissioners to preside over the transitional 2012 General Election were finally officially appointed by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday, following earlier recommendation by Parliament.
As they await their official swearing-in tomorrow, the team led by the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan carries the challenge of conducting an election billed to be one of the biggest in the world, going by the elective positions on the ballot.
Before their approval by Parliament and later appointment by the two principals, the commissioners first went through public interview before the Dr Ekuru Aukot-led Selection Panel and later the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) of Parliament chaired by Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohamed.
The Standard On Sunday brings you a brief on the men and women on the commission, their background, education and professional experience.
Ahmed Issack Hassan
Born on March 2, 1970, Issack is a lawyer and an advocate of the High Court for the last 17 years.
He holds a Bachelors degree in law from the University of Nairobi and a Post-Graduate diploma from the Kenya School of Law.
Before his current position, he had served as the chairman of the now defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) since May 2009.
Other positions he has held include Director of Water Resource Management Authority, commissioner, Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, and legal consultant to UNDP-Somalia on the Somalia constitution-making project.
Issack is a member of the Law Society of Kenya, East African Law Society, International Commission of Jurists (Kenya Chapter), Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya, and Association of Professional Societies of East Africa.
He has been an election observer for the State elections in Bombay, India, Namibia National Elections, and a member of the African Union observer group in Sweden general elections to parliamentary, municipal and county council assemblies in September last year.
He has a presidential award, Order of Elder of Burning Spear, among other honours.
Nzibo also served on the IIEC. He was born on November 27, 1951, and holds a PhD, Masters degrees in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow and Business Administration from Strayer College (Washington DC), and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nairobi.
Nzibo has worked as a lecturer at the University of Nairobi, and a Commissioner-General of the Kenya Revenue Authority.
He has also served as the country’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Czech and Slovak Republics, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and Iraq.
Nzibo has been an election observer in Mozambique in 2009 representing the Electoral Institute for Sustainability of Democracy and the Sudan last year as part of the Igad observer Mission.
Abdullahi M Sharawe
Mr Sharawe was born on March 6, 1950. He holds a Masters of Science degree (civil engineering) and a preparatory course from Odessa Civil Engineering Institute.
He served as a member of the defunct Interim Independent Boundary Review Commission, the chairman of the Public Service Commission, a member of the Judicial Service Commission and Permanent Secretary in several ministries.
He is a fellow member of the Institute of Engineers of Kenya among others and has two presidential awards – Elder of Burning Spear and Chief of Order of the Burning Spear.
Alawi holds a Masters degree in International Marine Lawfrom the IMO International Marine Law Institute.
Born on November 12, 1970, Alawi also holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi and a post-graduate diploma in legal practice from the Kenya School of Law.
Before his appointment, he worked with the Kenya Ports Authority as assistant corporation secretary (Litigation and Disputes) department where he had been since 1998 and also with Timamy and Co Advocates.
He is a member of LSK and the East African Law Society.
Born on October 11, 1958, Wangai holds a Masters degree in Business Administration-Finance from the University of Leicester and a bachelor of Commerce from the University of Nairobi.
Until her appointment, she was working as a managing director with the Country Images Consulting, as a chief executive, business and financial management consultant.
She has also worked with the Johnson Diversity East Africa Ltd as a finance director, Gailey and Roberts Ltd as a commercial director, and in the Brooke Bond Kenya.
She has been actively involved in the review of Chapter 12 on the Public Finance of the new Constitution explaining areas like devolution.
Letangule is pursuing a Master of Law degree, but is a holder of a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law.
Born on December 11, 1968, Letangule was before his appointment working with Letangule and Company Advocates as a Founding and Managing Partner, and previously with Arusei, Letangule and Company Advocates, and with the Jubilee Insurance Ltd as a legal officer and secretary to the board.
He is a member of the Law Society of Kenya, and has so far accomplished great achievements in several cases among them "the Ilchamus Case where he was the lead counsel in seeking to recognise the right of the Ilchamus to representation in the National Assembly of the Republic of Kenya under the new Constitution, which has become a point of reference for the right of representation by Indigenous people.
Lilian Bokeeye Mahiri-Zaja
Mahiri-Zaja holds a Master of Law, (Reading, UK), Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi and a diploma in Legal Education from the Kenya School of Law.
Born on December 8, 1964, Lilian is an Advocate of the High Court having been admitted to the Roll of Advocates in December 1989.
She is also a Commissioner of Oaths, 1984 and Certified Public Secretary, Institute for Public Secretaries of Kenya 2001.
Until her appointment, she was Deputy Legal Officer in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs.
She has also served as the deputy executive director of the Public Complaints Standing Committee, which is the first Ombudsman office in Kenya and as Principal State Counsel in the Registrar General’s Department, State Law office up to 2004.
Born on March 14, 1966, Mr Bwire holds a Master of Science in Finance from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow-Scotland, Bachelor of Science – Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University and Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers from the Chartered Institute of Bankers (London).
Until his appointment, he was working with Development Bank of Kenya-Head Office, as a Credit Manager where he was responsible for Credit Administration Function.
He has also worked as a Manager – credit Risk Analysis, Manager-Training and Development and as an Instructor Training School at the National Bank.
Kule Galma Godana
Born in 1961, Godana holds a Bachelor of Education and Counseling degree from the Kenya Methodist University and a Diploma in Educational Administration from Kenya Science Teachers’ College where she got a certificate in Educational Administration for Head Teachers.
Until her appointment, she was teaching at Meru Teachers’ College as the Head of Mathematics Department.
She was also the principal, Isiolo Girls and Moi Girls Secondary schools.
Godana was also a presiding officer during the General Elections in Saku constituency in 1997 and 2002.