Elections 2017

Chebukati, commissioners vow to stay put

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati at a past press conference. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]

The quagmire at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissions (IEBC) seems to have no end in sight.

This is after Commission Chair Wafula Chebukati and Prof Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu, the two remaining commissioners vowed to stay put and urged Parliament to fill the vacant slots in the commission after the purported resignation of three commissioners – Consolata Nkatha, Prof Kibiwott Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya – earlier this week.

In a press briefing on Friday, the three maintained that they stand with the decision to send CEO Ezra Chiloba on a three-month compulsory leave to pave way for investigations.

“From the onset, the commission reiterates that the matter at hand is squarely an issue of financial audit and accountability as anchored in the law. Part of post-election review process, and a matter of great interest to the stakeholders, is how significant sums of public money have been expended by the commission,” Chebukati said.

Earlier in the week, Nkatha, Prof Kurgat and Mwachanya called a press conference and announced that they had resigned.

But according to the IEBC Act, a commissioner can resign by writing to the appointing authority, that is the President and it is not clear whether they did that.

Friday’s statement came hours after a scheduled meeting between the trio and the Senate’s Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and Human Rights was cancelled. “We were on our way to the said meeting when they sent a message that the meeting had been postponed.

The communication from the Senate did not give reasons for the meeting’s postponement but said a new date will be communicated,” Chebukati said while flanked by Prof Guliye and Molu. Chebukati said that the CEO will continue to enjoy his full benefits during his absence. “If found culpable by the audit, he will be subjected to disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the right to fair hearing.”

He said this was not the first time the commission was sending officers on compulsory leave.