IEBC on the spot over ethnic composition of poll officers

Raila Odinga’s chief agent Saitabao ole Kanchory. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya wants the ongoing recruitment of electoral officials stopped over claims the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's ethnic composition is unconstitutional.

In a letter to the IEBC, Raila Odinga’s chief agent Saitabao ole Kanchory said one community occupies 19 per cent of the IEBC county returning officer jobs.

Mr Kanchory said the same community has 17 per cent of the constituency returning officer positions and wants some of them recalled or redeployed to other regions.

He alleges that the “ethnic imbalance is skewed and strategic”.

“It is obvious from the foregoing that there has been a well-calculated, deliberate and strategic ethnic mobilisation of your personnel in favour of one of the presidential candidates in this election," read the letter.

Mr Kanchory said the situation violates principles of national unity, inclusiveness and equality.

“The Constitutional and Statutory dictate that appointments and employment to commissions and independent offices must reflect regional and ethnic balance and capture the true face of Kenya,” he said, adding that presiding officers, their deputies and polling clerks should be hired afresh.

He further faults a previous explanation fronted by the IEBC during a consultative forum with presidential candidates on why many returning officers came from a single community.

IEBC commissioner, Prof Abdi Guliye, said IEBC staff were recruited from within their counties to ensure all communities were represented. Prof Guliye warned politicians against politicising the IEBC by profiling its employees.

Mr Kanchory also took issue with the IEBC plans to add 290 constituency deputy returning officers.