Former commissioners show up at IEBC offices

From left: Former IEBC commissioners Paul Kurgat, Margaret Mwachana and Consolata Maina when they announced their resignation. (File, Standard)
There was drama at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) headquarters in Nairobi yesterday after two former commissioners showed up, months after their dramatic resignation.

The former IEBC vice chair Connie Maina and Commissioner Margaret Mwachanya returned in the afternoon, ostensibly to “see” their former chairman Wafula Chebukati, sparking speculation as to their mission.

The two were ushered into an office on the 6th floor of the commission’s Anniversary Towers offices.

For the better part of the day, they dodged the Press who camped outside the IEBC offices after word went around that they had come to reclaim their positions.

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They resigned in April following disagreements with the chair over an internal audit on big spending at the commission.

Two weeks ago, a court refused to recognise their exit saying no evidence had been made available to show that they formally resigned from the commission. Consequently, Judge Wilfrida Okwany failed to affirm that the commission lacked requisite quorum to conduct its affairs.

“It is indeed true that the two lady ex-commissioners are here but I cannot tell you over what. Who knows, maybe they came to clear or visit their friends here,” a senior commission official told the Saturday Standard.

It is understood that Chebukati, who was holed in his office for the time the former commissioners were around, refused to see them. Shortly thereafter, the chairman released a statement upstaging them once again.

Hardly coincidental, the IEBC chairman announced that the internal audit on procurement of goods and services for the 2017 elections, which occasioned the fall-out, had been completed. “The report confirms the concerns raised by plenary prior to commissioning of audit. The report will inform internal actions the commission will take in terms of dealing with the issues raised,” stated Chebukati, in reference to a matter that saw the commission suspend Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba.

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In the terse statement, the chairman said the report will be shared with the relevant agencies for action.

Since the fallout, Chebukati has been operating with only two commissioners, Prof Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu, and have successfully handled by-elections.

Efforts to get comments from the two on their mission and if they have been receiving their monthly salary since they left office in April were futile as they did not pick calls nor answered text messages.

The government has remained non-committal in dealing with the IEBC crisis in the absence of a law on replacement of the commissioners and the composition of the selection panel.

The commission has another vacancy after commissioner Roselyne Akombe resigned and fled to the US after the August 8, 2017 poll.

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IEBCConnie MainaWafula Chebukati