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Political intrigues, finances, staff turnover blight IEBC

By Eric Wainaina
Thursday, November 19th, 2020
Wafula Chebukati. Photo/File
In summary

Political interference, lack of security of tenure for commissioners and staff, inadequate and delayed financing as well as late enactment of electoral related laws have been cited as main challenges that have been hindering the electoral body from delivering credible elections.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati lamented that since independence, the body has constantly suffered from political interference and lack of trust leading to staff changes after every elections.

And now, Chebukati has warned that the nation is on the verge of making a similar mistake through Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) by allowing political parties to pick IEBC commissioners.

He also warned that reconstituting the commission before the next general elections as outlined in the BBI report will pose serious problems.

This, he said, is because the reconstituted team will be ill-prepared to run a general election having not been part of the 2022 election planning.

Worse still, the new team will comprise commissioners  who owe allegiance to political parties that “sponsored” them, Chebukati warned.

“The nomination of commissioners by political parties, as recommended by the BBI Report, in a country with negative ethnicity and highly competitive politics and where most parties hardly last beyond a 5-year electoral cycle, will grossly undermine the independence of the commission,” Chebukati said.

Political parties, he said, are loyalty-based institutions and are unlikely to have non-partisan individuals in its membership and therefore, “the actions of such political appointees may be motivated by political or party interests” contrary to Article 88 of the Constitution.

Should the report which is a product of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s March 9, 2018 pass, the Head of State will immediately constitute a five-member vetting panel to pick a new team to be chaired by someone qualified to be a Supreme Court Judge in a process to happen within 14 days.

This could mean Chebukati and the two other remaining two commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu exit before 2022. 

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