IEBC to ODM: Our hands are tied over deputy governor post

Kisii County Deputy Governor nominee Elijah Obebo on this photo taken on 28/3/2024. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has advised ODM to obtain a court order directing the commission to appoint and gazette the Kisii Deputy Governor nominee.

IEBC Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Marjan Hussein Marjan in his response to ODM’s National Election Board Chair Catherine Mumma's letter says it is the electoral agency chairperson who gazettes notices.

“However, noting the absence of the chairperson of the commission, we wish to inform you that the commission is not in apposition to appoint through gazettement, the County Returning officer and subsequently to gazette the Deputy Governor approved by the county assembly,” reads the IEBC letter in part.

Last week, the Kisii county assembly vetted and approved the name of Elijah Obebo as the nominee for deputy governor.

This follows the successful impeachment of Dr Robert Monda by the Senate in March. The vetting and approval of Obebo was done despite a court order barring the nomination or appointment of a new deputy governor.

So far four cases have been filed regarding Monda’s impeachment. The latest case was filed by a resident Purity Kirera under a certificate of urgency at the Machakos Law Courts on April 2.

The order issued by Justice M Muigai on April 4, called for status quo to be maintained and suspension of Senate Order and gazettement pending hearing inter partes of the application.

She ordered that the matter be transferred and placed before Principal Judge Nairobi and to be mentioned with related matters on April 22, 2024, for direction on the hearing and determination of the matter.

Marjan’s letter dated April 2, 2024, says that the IEBC has to follow some procedures which include notification to the commission, clearance of the proposed nominee, issuance of nomination certificate, transmission of the approval to the commission, publication of the nominee as the deputy governor and oath of office.

The CEO says the office of the governor or the party is required to write to the commission forwarding the name of the nominee with full particulars.

“Upon receipt of the letter, the commission is required to appoint through a gazette Notice, the County Returning Officer to clear the proposed nominee according to the constitutional and statutory qualifications being the same as that of the Governor,” reads the letter in part.

The nominee is expected to appear before the County Returning Officer for clearance at a scheduled date whereupon he/she is expected to bring along all requisite constitutional and statutory qualification documents for the position.

“Should the Commission feel satisfied that the nominee is qualified, they will forward the name to the governor after the presentation of a nomination certificate. The governor shall forward the name to the county assembly to kick start the process of approval of the nominee in terms of the provision of section 32D of the County Government Act,” said IEBC boss.

Once approved by the assembly, the Speaker should write to the commission on the nominee, and upon receiving the same, the commission shall publish in the Kenya Gazette the appointment of the deputy governor.

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