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IEBC Crisis: Three commissioners resign from agency

By Hillary Orinde | April 16th 2018 at 10:14:05 GMT +0300

Commissioners Paul Kurgat, Margaret Mwachanya and Connie Maina. They resigned from IEBC citing lack of confidence in its leadership. [Courtesy]

Three of the six IEBC commissioners have resigned from the troubled electoral agency.

Vice chair Connie Nkatha Maina, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat faulted the chair Wafula Chebukati’s ability to lead the commission in their resignation poress conference.

“For far too long and way too many times, the commission chair has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and gives direction when needed,” the trio said in a statement.

They added: “Instead under Chebukati’s leadership, the commission boardroom has become a venue for peddling misinformation, grounds for brewing mistrust and a space for scrambling and chasing individual glory and credit”.

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Whilst they maintained they had no faith in Chebukati, they insisted the nullified August elections were properly done.

“The institution has continued to be dysfunctional with arbitrary decision making, leaking of internal documents to serve personal goals and pursuing of personal interests. All of which are against the laid down laws that govern the conduct of the commission leadership and staff,” they said.

Sharp divisions had become synonymous with the agency since the nullification of the August 8 presidential election.

However, the recent decision by a section of the commissioners to send CEO Ezra Chiloba on compulsory leave to allow an audit of the 2017 election financial processes was the last straw to break the agency's back.

Insiders say Chebukati was backed by commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu which he scanned and sent to Chiloba’s email. He did not copy any commissioners.

Chiloba accused Chebukati of engaging in a witch-hunt and went to court to compel IEBC to reinstate him as the chief executive officer.

Hitherto, Employment and Labour Relations Court denied his request.

The current IEBC commissioners were sworn into office in January 2017 and was reduced to six when Roselyn Akombe resigned before the repeat presidential polls.

The fallout now leaves it with chair Wafula Chebukati, Prof. Abdi Yakub Guliye, Boya Molu, and suspended CEO Ezra Chiloba.

Where it began

After the opposition rejected the 2017 presidential poll results and the Supreme Court upheld its position in a petition filed by NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, Chebukati fired a show-cause memo to Chiloba.

On September 7, 201, Standard Digital reported that Chebukati had raised issues about the “mismanagement” of the August 8 presidential election.

 In the leaked memo, he wanted Chiloba to explain why he had contradicted the position adopted by the commission and what had happened to printed forms that were meant to have approved security features and names of candidates printed in accordance with ballot proofs and as verified by teams the commission had sent to Dubai. This aspect happened to be one of the grounds for the nullification of the poll.

He was also required to explain whether printing and scanning machines supplied by Messer MFI were fit for the purpose as contracted; where they were provided and why they failed to work.

The memo also questioned why the Sh848 million satellite phones bought by the commission were not used to relay data from polling stations as it was supposed to be which was a ground in the Raila petition.

In spite of the memo the commission was split in the middle with commissioners disowning it with DP William Ruto also throwing his weight behind Chiloba.

Chiloba would take leave two weeks to the October 27 repeat presidential election saying he needed time to be with his family, especially their baby.

He resumed duty February only to walk into another storm.

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