Five hopefuls for the position of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairperson on Monday made their case for their appointment.
The first candidate to be interviewed, former Mombasa Mayor Taib Ali Taib, said he would ensure that the law is followed when it comes to matters of election offences. He said that Kenya has an abundance of laws but implementation is the issue.
“We shall implement the law to the letter and we will build up capacity, on the condition that we do it not to prejudice any party,” Mr Taib said.
Mr Taib said that the aftermath of the 2007 General Election was the most stressful time he has encountered. He said that the financial aspect of the job did not appeal to him but rather the ability to ensure the security of his family.
“I do not know of any job in this republic of ours whose positive outcome is the direct safety of my family, than the chair of the IEBC. Not even the president’s job has that direct effect,” Mr Taib said.
A letter presented before the selection panel by Mohammed Baishe, however, describes Mr Taib as unsuitable for the job, as he “abandoned” Mr Baishe following court proceedings in 1991.
Mr Baishe claimed that after going to court and winning the case, Mr Taib failed to follow up with the defendant in the case. Mr Taib, however, said that Mr Baishe lives in Lamu, which makes it difficult for him to get any correspondence from him about the progress of the case. He, however, assured the panel that the matter would be resolved by early 2017 and the amount of Sh1 million owed to Mr Baishe would be awarded.
Former Law Society of Kenya representative to the Judicial Service Commission panel Florence Mwangangi was the second candidate to be interviewed. She said that if appointed, she would use technology to aid in the registration of Kenyans living in the diaspora in order for them to take part in the electoral processes.
Ms Mwangangi said that transparency is the key to ensuring that even if parallel tallying processes are put up, the public will be informed by the accurate information given by the IEBC. She commended the system used in the recent Ghanaian elections that involved stakeholders in the electoral process.
A letter to the selection panel, however, said that her finances in the year 2013 were irregular and that she does not qualify to be the commission’s chair.
Ms Mwangangi responded that her conscience was clear and that she has never been paid for services that she has not rendered.
The third candidate, Mr Wanyonyi Chebukati, the managing partner of Cootow and Associates has been practicing law for the past 30 years. He said his wish is to ensure that the voting systems run seamlessly through use of technology.
“If proper tests are carried out successfully, the election system can be put in place. We should not fear using technology,” Mr Chebukati said.