I will be taking a severe pay cut if named IEBC chair – ex-Mombasa Mayor

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Selection Panel has commenced the process of recruiting a chairperson of the electoral body to take over from the outgoing Ahmed Issack Hassan.

Former Mombasa Mayor, Taib Ali Taib was the first to appear before the Bernedette Musundi-led panel.

Taib was taken to task on integrity and bribery issues, an area that was highly pointed out by the Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) when calling for the dismissal of the current commissioners.

Taib was, however, categorical in his response saying that he would like to leave a legacy as a person who transformed and ran a corruption-free electoral body adding that integrity is his most valuable virtues.

He termed the IEBC boss job as the most important in the country noting that it is directly linked to the security and stability of the nation.

“I don’t know of any other job in this republic of ours, the positive outcome of which is the direct safety of my family than the chair of IEBC,” said Taib.

“The IEBC has the potential for both a safe, peaceful and secure election and the continuance or the change of the persons in power, and it is capable of horrendous violence that can rip our country apart.”

The former Mombasa Mayor told the panel that he is taking a ‘drastic and severe’ pay cut by accepting to be the chair of IEBC.

He disclosed to the panel that he is a successful businessman and a lawyer and taking the IEBC job will not allow him undertake any other job.

Taib, however, recognized the responsibility that comes with the IEBC chairmanship saying it entails balancing polarized side of the country as well as managing tensions, tempers and emotions propagated by political players.

“We must ensure that we win their support, if not support, at least they understand, if not their understanding, at least their realization that we are a free, fair arbiter,” he added.

He insisted on the need of having competent people audit the commission and implement measures to clean up the polls body.

Ali Taib faced a daunting task before the panel to clear himself from negligence accusations brought forward by a client he represented in court back in 1991.

Mohammed Baishe brought to the attention of the Selection Panel that Taib failed to follow up on Ksh 229,730 awarded by court as damages after successful completion of assault case against the state.

Taib, in his defence, narrated how he faced obstacles in compelling the government to pay the damages and difficulties keeping contact with Mr Baishe, who lives in Lamu Island.

He told the panel that the case is still on and is set for another hearing in February 2017 giving assurance to inform Mr Baishe on the proceedings.

Taib said he would, when given the chance, reach out to the outgoing commissioners to find out on important initiative running in the commission that need to be completed noting that the parliamentary select committee did not adversely mention the character and actions of the current commissioners in recommending for their dismissal.

The selection panel is set to interview ten candidates who have expressed interests in the IEBC chair job in two days; Monday, December 19 to Tuesday, December 20, 2016.

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Story By Moses Ngugi
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