2022 PREPARATIONS

Uhuru sets stage for recruitment of four IEBC commissioners

Recruitment comes months to the 2022 polls and BBI referendum

In Summary

• The four commissioners to be replaced include Roselyn Akombe, who resigned and fled to the US just a week to the repeat presidential election in October 2017.

•  The three other commissioners — vice chair Connie Nkatha-Maina, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat — resigned six months later

Roselyn Aombe during the vetting for the position of IEBC commissioner by the Parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs committee on January 10, 2017.
AKOMBE: Roselyn Aombe during the vetting for the position of IEBC commissioner by the Parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs committee on January 10, 2017.
Image: JACK OWUOR

President Uhuru Kenyatta has set the stage for the replacement of four IEBC commissioners who dramatically resigned after major fallout arising from the disputed 2017 polls.

Uhuru declared the four positions vacant 14 months to the general election, with the country also gearing for the Building Bridges Initiative referendum.

“I, Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, declare vacancies in the position of four members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,” Uhuru said in the notice dated April 14.

The four commissioners to be replaced include Roselyn Akombe, who resigned and fled to the US just a week to the controversial repeat presidential election in October 2017.

The three other commissioners vice chair Connie Nkatha-Maina, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat — resigned six months later.

The three bitterly blamed chairman Wafula Chebukati for leadership failure and unfairly pushing out then CEO Ezra Chiloba.

“For far too long and way too many times, the commission chair has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and gives direction when needed,” the trio said in a statement

Uhuru’s declaration of vacancies follows the enactment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The Bill establishes a selection panel whose mandate will be to advertise, interview and recruit commissioners for the purpose of appointment by the President.

The new law also sets the criteria for selection of IEBC commissioners and outlines the qualifications of members of the selection panel.

The President will have to appoint the panel consisting of members nominated by Public Service Commission, the Law Society of Kenya and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Until the assent, the IEBC Act had no mechanism to fill the vacant positions at the polls agency.

The commission has operated for nearly three years with only three commissioners  — chairman Chebukati, Abdi Guliye and Boya Mulu.

 The law provides that the IEBC should have seven commissioners.

Edited by EKibii