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KENYA: IEBC chair Chebukati’s security withdrawn, pressure piles up for him to resign

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IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati with Commissioners Ayub Guliye, Consolata Nkatha (resigned) and Paul Kurgat (resigned) addressing the Press at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi. [Photo by Moses Omusula/Standard]

IEBC Chair Chebukati’s security withdrawn in unexplained move

NAIROBI (STANDARD MEDIA) – The Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) has protested the unexplained withdrawal of security seconded to its Chairman and two commissioners.

The commission said Chairman Wafula Chebukati and commissioners Ayub Guliye and Boya Molu woke up Tuesday morning and realized their security had been withdrawn.

ALSO READ: IEBC paralysed by resignation of three commissioners

They tried to seek explanation from relevant authorities in vain.

“Consequently, the Commission has written to the Inspector General of police seeking for an understanding of the circumstances leading to this action,” said IEBC spokesman Andrew Limo.

Limo added the withdrawal of security is likely to expose the chairman and the commissioners to security risks and the action undermines their effectiveness in executing the work of the commission.

“The provision of security to the chairman and members of the commission during their tenure is within their contract of service and that this obligation ceases only when the contract expires,” added Limo.

This comes a day after three other commissioners resigned in a surprise move. The commissioners Connie Maina, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya faulted Chebukati’s leadership as the agency’s Chair.

ALSO READ: Chiloba on the spot over Sh250m false payments

Their move to resign has attracted calls from a section of political class on those remaining to also follow suit. This is seen as part of efforts to cripple planned political changes in the country ahead of 2022.

A convergence of various interests has fueled the crisis that led to the resignation of the three members of the country’s’ electoral agency.

The exit of three commissioners is being attributed to forces both external and internal.

The interests include external influence by political forces, commercial interest fueled by fight for tenders and claims of scuttling a proposed referendum.

Many are seeing the hand of powerful individuals in government in the developments, while those in government link the crisis to internal wars fueled by commercial interests and fight for lucrative tenders.

Some observers also see the forces of individuals hell-bent to scuttle a planned referendum as fueling the wrangles with the aim of crippling the commission, given that there is a lacuna on how to replace commissioners who have left.

Pressure piles on Chebukati to leave office

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen (PHOTO: FILE)

Pressure is piling on Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati to leave office.

This follows Monday resignation of three officials from the commission in a surprise move.

ALSO READ: IEBC to replace some of its senior managers

Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen said Chebukati and the two remaining commissioners should resign within a week or a tribunal would be formed to investigate them.

“My call for IEBC Commissioners to resign is informed by recent wrangles linked to the fight for tenders plus control and manipulation of IEBC staff,” Murkomen said on Twitter.

The resignations of the three commissioners leave only two and the chairman at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) which last week sent its chief executive on three months’ compulsory leave pending an audit on procurement matters.

“The events related to the purported vote (to suspend the CEO) have greatly shaken our already feeble confidence in the chair,” IEBC Vice Chairwoman Consolata Nkatha Maina and commissioners Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat said in a statement, adding that not all of the six commissioners were present, as required, when the vote happened.

Chiloba accused Chebukati of engaging in a witch-hunt and went to court to compel IEBC to reinstate him as the chief executive officer.

ALSO READ: Fix IEBC to avoid being the laughing stock during elections

Hitherto, Employment and Labour Relations Court denied his request. The current IEBC commissioners were sworn into office in January 2017 and was reduced to six when Roselyn Akombe resigned before the repeat presidential polls.

The fallout now leaves it with chair Wafula Chebukati, Prof. Abdi Yakub Guliye, Boya Molu, and suspended CEO Ezra Chiloba.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said he had learned of the commissioners’ resignation from news reports and would respond after he is formally informed.

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: April 17, 2018 at 12:48PM

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