Ex-commissioners among those shortlisted for IEBC jobs

IEBC's selection panel for Commissioners during a press conference.[Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission-IEBC has shortlisted 36 candidates for the positions of four commissioners.

The list is, however, dominated by former commissioners seeking to reclaim their lucrative titles at the electoral body.

The list is led by Roseline Odhiambo-Odede, who was the vice-chair of the judges and magistrates vetting board.

Odede was among five candidates that were shortlisted by IEBC’s selection panel in 2016 for the position of chairperson.

However, the current chairperson Wafula Chebukati won the race succeeding Issac Hassan.

Four-time Commissioner Murshid Abdalla, who narrowly lost the race for Data Commissioner to another former IEBC staffer Immaculate Kassait, last year is also on the list.

Murshid was a commissioner at the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), which had replaced the disgraced Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) in 2009.

He later became a member of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission of Kenya under the chairmanship of Andrew Ligale.

However, when IIEC was transiting to IEBC in 2011, Abdalla was shortlisted as one of the finalists along with his former boss at IIEC Issack Hassan and lawyer Koki Muli.

The latter, Kenya’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York since 2013, is also in the race.

Abdalla was a commissioner of the Poverty Eradication Commission in 2008 before he contested for the Chair of the Commission on Administrative Justice (Ombudsman), but lost to now Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo.

When the National Police Service Commission was set up in 2012, he reclaimed his Commissioner role, serving with chair Johnstone Kavuludi until they retired a few years ago.

Florence Jaoko-Simbiri who served in the original Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) succeeding the inaugural chair Maina Kiai in 2007 is also on the list.

At the time, it was perhaps the only high-profile commission of its kind and a forerunner of the other commissions which proliferated with the 2007 post-election period reforms.

In 2012, Jaoko left the commission and went to teach at the University of Nairobi while also taking up international assignments on the side.

Commissioner Kagwiria Mbogori, another former chair of KNCHR (2014-2018) has also made it to the list of shortlisted candidates.

Sellestine Anna Mbii-Kiuluku first tasted a commissioner role in 2012 when she was appointed in the inaugural Salaries and Remuneration Commissioner (SRC) chaired by Sarah Serem.

She later served as Director of Human Resources at the IEBC before her contract expired and she opted not to renew it.

If she sails through, she will bounce back as a commissioner.

Prof Joseph Gitile Naituli is immediate former Commissioner of NCIC whose term ended in 2019.

Gitile was listed as applicant 332 of the four IEBC slots. He is candidate 15 on the list of those invited for the interviews.

He’s angling to reclaim the title he lost two years ago after his term at NCIC ended.

Irene Keino resigned as the Vice-Chair of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in 2015 after president Uhuru Kenyatta formed a tribunal to investigate her suitability.

“For the avoidance of doubt, public service should always complement public interest. So even if certain events cause one personal pain and anguish, the cardinal principle of the greater good should prevail,” she said in a statement at the time.

The investigations have never been concluded and report tabled.

Another former commissioner is Irene Cherop Masit who was with the IIERBC team of Ligale that drew up the current electoral boundaries. 

Cherop wants to be back to not only become a full commissioner but also redraw the boundaries as is required by law.

Justice Maithya Munyithya served as a member of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board that operated like a Commission in the aftermath of the 2010 constitution passage.

In 2016, Munyithya was among the pool of 748 Kenyans who applied to become commissioners at IEBC but was not shortlisted. 

Sellestine Anna Mbii-Kiuliku served as a commissioner in the Salaries and Remuneration Commission representing the Judicial Service Commission.

She was among the team that on October 7, 2012, declared a hefty exit package that MPs had awarded themselves illegal and indicated that it would move to court to block it.

Prior to her appointment as a commissioner, Sellestine worked as the Director - Human Resources and Administration at IEBC.

County Election Manager Ruth Kulundu, Director of communications and events Tabitha Mutemi and former Commission ICT director Dismas Ong’ondi, who currently work for the commission, wanted to scale higher but did not make it.

Others who have made it to the list include the Law Society of Kenya Vice-President Harriet Igonanga Chiggai.

Others are Abdalla Mohamed, Dr Abdirizak Arale, Anne Mwikali, Caroline Njeri Ng’ang’a, Dr Catherine Muchiru Kamindo, Cecillia Ngoyoni, Con Omore Osendo, Dr Dinah Jeruto Kipkebut, Felix Useru Nyauchi, Francis Wanderi, Dr Joseph Kang’ethe Ng’anga, Juliana Whonge, Julius Kiplagat Rotich, Justus Abonyo Ng’ang’a and Amb Koki Muli Grignon.

Amb Lucy Jebet Chelimo, Prof Maurice Amutabi, Prof Michael Napo Lokuruka, Naisiae Tobiko, Prof Richard Okoth Oduor, Dr Rose Mumbua Musyoka, Col Saeed Khamees Saeed, Dr Salim Ndemo, Simeon Pkiyach Pkatey Muket, Timothy Tipila Ole Naeku and Zippy Nzisa Musyimi also made it to the list.

"Now, therefore, the selection panel for the appointment of commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission hereby publishes names of applicants shortlisted for the position of Member of IEBC as well as the dates for the psychometric and the respective oral interview dates,” read part of the notice advertised in newspapers.

The panel said the shortlisted applicants will have to undertake a psychometric test on June 30, 2021, before the start of oral interviews which will run between July 7, 2021, and July 22, 2021.

The panel said members of the public are invited to avail, in writing, by memoranda, any information of interest with respect to the suitability of any of the shortlisted applicants