Establish new IEBC commission to avert crisis – clerics urge government
With the terms of a section of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners coming to an end this month while others recently resigned over the Bomas fiasco, clerics now want the government to promptly put in place a new autonomous commission to drive electoral matters going forward.
Current IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati will be going home this January after serving as the head of the electoral body since January 2017, a six-year tenure that has been filled with drama and controversy.
The coming to an end of his tenure alongside a few other commissioners coupled with resignation of a section of their colleagues puts the commission at the centre of political discussion with clerics now calling for immediate recruitment of new office bearers.
Speaking during the opening of the new Glory Outreach Assembly (GOA) church at Murera village in Juja, Kiambu county during the 2023 crossover event, priests led by Federation of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya Secretary General Bishop David Thagana rooted for a bipartisan commission that will not plunge the country back to the former pre and post-election mayhem.
Thagana called on the government to ensure that those given the positions are credible, competent and professional in nature to give Kenyan electorates the best on matters of elections.
"It is important that the government takes the issue of IEBC seriously and as a church, we will be keen to monitor what will happen, " Bishop Thagana said.
His sentiments were echoed by reverend Phyllis Wangechi Githaiga who regretted the past division of IEBC commissioners over political affiliation urging the government to only recruit persons with Kenya's interests at heart.
"It is incumbent upon the government to ensure that those given the mandate are credible people who will work independently and without bias," Wangechi stated.
On his part, Reverend Daniel Wambugu, while lauding the outgoing commissioners for overseeing a peaceful election, insisted on the need to have a balanced, independent team to oversee electoral matters for the country going forward.
When Kenyans went to the polls in August 2022, a section of IEBC commissioners declined to endorse the declaration of President William Ruto as the winner with some describing the vote tallying process as opaque.
The commissioners sent shockwaves across the country when they gave inconsistent positions on the credibility of the August presidential election.
Former Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya have been accused of gross misconduct and attempting to subvert the will of Kenyans by disagreeing with results.
On December 2, President Ruto suspended the commissioners and formed a tribunal to probe the officials following recommendations by the National Assembly.