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July 18, 2018

Chebukati can't lead IEBC, vague statements unacceptable - Duale

IEBC Chairman Wafuka Chebukati faces the Senate Standing Committee on Legal Affairs over on the audit report of the register of voters, March 14,2018. /HEZRON NJOROGE
IEBC Chairman Wafuka Chebukati faces the Senate Standing Committee on Legal Affairs over on the audit report of the register of voters, March 14,2018. /HEZRON NJOROGE

The IEBC owes Kenyans an explanation on the exit of three commissioners, lawmaker Aden Duale has said, and criticised Chairman Wafula Chebukati's leadership.

The National Assembly Majority said the commission should not issue vague statements as the commissioners did not give Kenyans enough reasons for their decisions.

 Vice chair Consolata Nkatha, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya announced they had resigned on Monday, saying Chairman Wafula Chebukati had failed as a leader.

More on this: Three IEBC commissioners resign, say Chebukati a bad leader

But in an interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday, Duale said: "The reasons they gave were very vague. They owe Kenyans an explanation and should make full disclosure on the same. Chebukati as the leader of the commission has failed."

Duale, who is also the Garissa Town MP, however said Kenyans should handle the issue soberly instead of panicking.

"This is the best chance for them to give an explanation before the elections, to fix the problem once and for all," he said, amid speculation about what the problem with Kenya's election management system could be.

Read: Are Kenya's electoral agencies cursed? A look at events since the ECK

Also read: IEBC is cursed, Chebukati must also resign - Orengo

Duale said that in the repeat elections and all subsequent events, Chebukati proved he cannot create synergy among the commissioners.

"The buck stops with the Chairman. In my opinion, he has failed to have a united Secretariat and bring them on board," he said.

"Chebukati has no moral standing to be in office. Three have resigned. It is upon the leadership of this country and Parliament to find out how the remaining two commissioners should exit."

Chebukati said he will not resign despite the disparaging of his leadership by his three colleagues.

But as he put on a brave face, the die was cast, as political opinion converged on the need to clean out the stables and restructure the commission.

More on this: I will not resign, Chebukati says after three quit

Duale said what concerns the country is how to amend the law or begin the process or recruiting a fresh commission ahead of the 2022 polls.

"Parliament is ready and duly constituted. There is a relevant committee that deals with the IEBC in terms of budget allocation and daily operations. The infrastructure is in place," he said.

The Majority leader further said the Legislature has time to make sure Kenya gets a fresh commission, a process that he noted must be organised and transparent.

"We should not say that from where we sit, so and so must go. Both sides now agree that both the Secretariat and the commissioners have failed in their mandates," he said.

Duale said the commission cannot function with lack a quorum.

"Chebukati cannot give directions. He cannot have a plenary and the Constitution does not anticipate such a scenario," he  said.

Chebukati said two out of the three IEBC commissioners who resigned supported the decision to send CEO Ezra Chiloba on compulsory leave, contrary to their claims.

In a statement on Monday evening, he dismissed claims by the commissioners that they were not consulted before the decision was made.

He said Nkatha and Kurgat were at a plenary meeting on April 6 that unanimously resolved to send Chiloba home.

More on this: Ex IEBC commissioners supported Chiloba's compulsory leave - Chebukati

With Roselyn Akombe having quit days before the October 26 repeat presidential election and Chiloba suspended, the Chairman is now bereft of a quorum to run the affairs of the commission.

He was left with only two commissioners: Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu. 

By their resignation, the three effectively rendered those remaining useless, as the commission lacks the quorum to function.

The courts have previously ruled in the case of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission that a commission is not legally constituted without commissioners.  

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