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Political meddling in IEBC not good for embattled agency

By The Standard | Published Fri, September 8th 2017 at 00:00, Updated September 7th 2017 at 22:13 GMT +3
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati. Photo: Jenipher Wachie, Standard

In short shrift, the National Super Alliance (NASA) and Jubilee Party have rejected the six interim officials appointed by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati to oversee the October 17 repeat presidential election.

That the Jubilee ruling coalition and the Opposition NASA are, for once, in agreement only means they are digging further in for confrontations. In effect, this bodes ill for the country.

No doubt, IEBC is an independent institution that must be left alone to make its decisions without undue interference from Jubilee and NASA, their being stakeholders notwithstanding. As a constitutional body, IEBC does not owe its allegiance to the Executive but to the Kenyan people, who must hold it accountable.

The circumstances under which Mr Chebukati sought to make the changes may be known; whether he consulted before doing so is not immediately clear, but that is neither here nor there.

What counts at the moment is that IEBC must put its house in order. Time is not on its side, meaning IEBC cannot allow itself to be distracted lest it further dents its damaged image should it, for a second time, mismanage the election.

Principals of accountability demand that the buck stops with the man at the top, in this case, Chebukati.

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Yet management being pegged on a chain of command, the law allows the man at the top to demand responsibility from those below him, for it is not humanly possible that Chebukati would oversee each and every aspect of operations personally. The delegation of duty allows him to take action on his juniors when the need arises.

The electoral commission must put its act together. Buck passing will not get it out of the quagmire it finds itself in at the moment. We should all come to terms with the reality that reorganisation is inevitable.

Fresh blood may come with new ideas IEBC, as presently constituted, lacks. It is illogical to expect different results from doing the same thing over and over. An electoral agency capable of holding credible elections is critical to the country’s peace and stability.

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