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IEBC commissioner flees Kenya, resigns from New York

By Fredrick Obura | Published Wed, October 18th 2017 at 06:39, Updated October 18th 2017 at 13:14 GMT +3
IEBC Commissioner Roselyne Akombe who resigned on Wednesday October 18. She communicated the decision from the US a week to the October 26 repeat presidential  poll.

In summary

  • Kenya is set for repeat presidential election on October 26
  • Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga has withdrawn from the October race
  • IEBC commissioner Roselyn Akombe quits her job saying commission cannot conduct credible election as is constituted

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) staff Roselyne Akombe has resigned from her job, eight days before October 26 repeat presidential election.

In a statement, Akombe said the repeat presidential election as currently constituted cannot meet the basic expectations of free, fair and credible election.

“We need the Commission to be courageous and speak out, that this election as planned cannot meet the basic expectations of a CREDIBLE election. Not when the staff are getting last minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results," read part of the statement.

Akombe accused IEBC of becoming party to the current political crisis in the country and said her decision to quit the commission also borders on threats to her life.

“My decision to leave the IEBC will disappoint some of you, but it is not for lack of trying. I have tried the best I could do given the circumstances. Sometimes, you walk away, especially when potentially lives are at stake.,” she said.

“The Commission has become a party to the current crisis. The Commission is under siege. It has become increasingly difficult to continue attending plenary meetings where Commissioners come ready to vote along partisan lines and not to discuss the merit of issues before them.”

Akombe said her fellow commissioners recently rubbished her reports on safety and security concerns in regards to the preparation of October 26 general election in Nairobi, Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay Counties.

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The four counties form part of National Super Alliance coalition (Nasa) strongholds and have witnessed protests in the past weeks in demand of reforms at IEBC.  According to the commissioner's statement, staff seconded to the counties have expressed fear of their safety on the election date.

“I shared detailed reports from staff in four of the Counties most hit by the ongoing protests - Nairobi, Siaya, Kisumu, and Homa Bay - with the hope that this will bring sobriety to our decision making. Instead this was met with more extremist responses from most Commissioners, who are keen to have an election even if it is at the cost of the lives of our staff and voters.”

“It is unacceptable for any party to disrupt, attack and injure our staff in Mumias, Bungoma, Homabay, Siaya, and Kisumu as they have done. These acts must be condemned by all and action taken against the perpetrators.”

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