Azimio takes on IEBC over post-election expenditure

Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi (third-left). He demanded that Wafula Chebukati, Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu proceed on terminal leave. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Azimio allied MPs are calling for an independent audit on the electoral commission to establish its expenditure after the elections.

Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi demanded that Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission  (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu proceed on terminal leave. 

The legislators Tuesday claimed that after the elections, the leadership of IEBC was involved in questionable activities that undermine its capacity to ever reform and deliver credible polls.

They said that at a time everyone else is being told to cut costs, IEBC appeared to be on a spending spree with tens of millions of taxpayer’s money being spent.

“IEBC staff are globe-trotting on trips whose value to taxpayers remains unknown. Between the months of September and November alone, millions of shillings have been gobbled up by select groups within the commission,” stated Wandayi.

“Mr Chebukati and the outgoing commissioners should begin a process of handing over their offices in line with the IEBC Act in order to preserve what little integrity remains of the commission,” he added.

The Azimio parliamentary group also claimed that for over three weeks, CEO Hussein Marjan and Chebukati have been away, travelling to South Africa, Malaysia, Dubai, the US and Angola.

“Several directors, including those for finance, legal affairs, ICT, and Deputy CEO Support services have had long stays in Dubai supposedly for training for God knows what. The foreign trips that are awarded selectively are running alongside selective and illegal promotions, again favouring those who ensured that elections went in a particular direction,” they said.

The lawmakers claimed the international trips are being used to earn per diem .

Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera alleged a plot by IEBC to issue a ballot printing tender for the upcoming December and January by-elections to Inform Lykos- the same company that supplied the election ballot papers.

“In moving to print papers abroad, IEBC is defying its own policy that ballots for by-elections shall be printed locally to create jobs for Kenyan youth. The matter has not been discussed at the plenary by the commissioners,” observed Nabwera.

The Azimio lieutenants want all decisions that have been made without the participation of the plenary to be rescinded, including the printing of ballot papers for by-elections and illegal promotions.

They asked Marjan to produce the framework contract between IEBC and the Greek printing firm, Inform Lykos, including the duration of the contract, the individual corporate and country contractual obligations, and the liability costs in case the contract is breached by either of the parties involved.

The demands by Azimio allied MPs come at a time when four other commissioners vice chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Justus Abonyo, Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi are this week expected to appear before Parliament following petitions to oust them. The four boycotted the announcement of presidential election results.

They will face the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee following petitions presented by Republican Liberty Party, Rev Dennis Thumbi, Geoffrey Langat and Steve Owuor over alleged violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct and incompetence.

The committee will conduct hearings starting Thursday.

It also comes against the backdrop of a push by Kenya Kwanza to alter the membership of the selection panel that picks IEBC commissioners.

A Bill by Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah proposes to reduce Parliament’s say on the subject.