Chebukati hints possible crisis after commissioners resign


Chebukati hints possible crisis after commissioners resign
FILE PHOTO: IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati has accused the three commissioners of failing the test of leadership in a time of crisis.
  • Chebukati was also keen to note that the internal audit that is at the centre of the row is proceeding in earnest hinting at a possible crisis since there is currently no law providing for the replacement of commissioners.
  •  Trouble started when Chebukati, in an unexpected turn of events, presented a surprise audit report in a commission plenary meeting recommending Chiloba be sent on a three month compulsory leave over what he termed as queries in procurement at the ICT department.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati has accused the three commissioners of failing the test of leadership in a time of crisis.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, Chebukati said that the commissioners had every opportunity to raise their grievances internally but failed to do so.

Chebukati’s response came just hours after Monday’s dramatic resignation of three commissioners; led by Vice Chair Consolata Nkatha, Commissioners Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya accusing the poll body chair of failed leadership.

The IEBC boss however said that the commissioners chose to quit after losing a vote in the plenary meeting that suspended CEO Ezra Chiloba.

Chebukati was also keen to note that the internal audit that is at the centre of the row is proceeding in earnest hinting at a possible crisis since there is currently no law providing for the replacement of commissioners.

Trouble started when Chebukati, in an unexpected turn of events, presented a surprise audit report in a commission plenary meeting recommending Chiloba be sent on a three month compulsory leave over what he termed as queries in procurement at the ICT department.

Commissioners Nkatha and Kurgat walked out in protest, saying Chiloba had not been given a fair hearing. At the time, commissioner Mwachanya was away in Dubai on official duty.

“The removal of a CEO is a weighty matter and is one that should not have been introduced as a by the way. At the same time, the commission had affixed dates for its meetings of April 6th should have taken place on April 12th when all commissioners were in the country,” said Mwachanya

Chiloba, sought to have his compulsory leave rescinded through the Labour and Employment Relations Court, albeit unsuccessfully.

“The events related to the purported vote have greatly shaken our already feeble confidence in the chair, given this severe deterioration of confidence we find our position as commissioners under his leadership no longer tenable,” said Mwachanya

What started out as a seven member commission, with a secretary, now has only three left.

Days to the October repeat presidential poll, Roselyn Akombe resigned in a huff after fleeing to the US, citing political interference in the commission claims that have now been repeated by the resigning commissioners.

But with the commission requiring a quorum of five, it now effectively stands unable to transact any business.

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Story By Jacque Maribe
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