Civil servants eyeing political seats face exit deadline

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.[Standard]

Several public servants are fretting over a requirement by the electoral body to exit office by February 9, 2022, if they harbour political interests in the forthcoming general election.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) requirement has thrown potential politicians into a spin as they seek interpretations from legal experts on whether they should retire three months before the set date or later.

Legal experts have been consulted by the incumbents, watching the steps of their rivals still holding public office. The aspirants eyeing positions of governors, members of Parliament, senators and members of county assembly and are public servants, are giving the incumbents a run for their money after embarking on early campaigns.

Two weeks ago, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati unveiled the 2022 election timelines, requiring civil servants seeking political offices to resign in February next year.

The law requires that public officers seeking elective seats, resign six months to a general election.

According to the IEBC's Election Operations plan, nominations for presidential candidates will take place between May 30 and June 10 next year.

From Mt Kenya region, Cabinet Secretaries Peter Munya, (Agriculture), Sicily Kariuki (Water), Chuka University Chancellor Erastus Njoka, Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu are among those eyeing political offices.

Tarda chairman Jamleck Kamau and a former Nairobi Metropolitan minister are seeking to succeed Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria.

Water Resource Regulatory Board (Wasreb) Chairman Joshua Irungu and Ms Mariam Mwangi of Laikipia County Assembly have launched campaigns to dislodge Governor Ndiritu Muriithi.

The seniors have been sneaking into counties for secret meetings while undermining the incumbents. Sources in various ministries, say there is apprehension as those exiting are put under scrutiny not to mess, especially through disrupting tender processes.

“We have blocked one of the seniors from sitting in a tender committee after it emerged he could sway the process in his favour, and plunge the entire office into chaos upon his exit,” said a source from a senior office.

Munya heads to Meru County eyeing to dislodge Governor Kiraitu Murungi, while Ms Kariuki has indicated intention to challenge Governor Francis Kimemia in Nyandarua. Prof Njoka is said to be eyeing Tharaka Nithi County and will face Governor Muthomi Njuki.

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