IEBC can’t hold credible poll, says Akombe

Roselyn Akombe, who resigned from her job as electoral agency commissioner on Wednesday, is believed to have left Nairobi for Dubai on Monday evening on an Emirates flight that departs from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 10.45pm.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission official probably took advantage of authorisation issued for travel to Dubai, where Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing is printing the materials to be used in the election scheduled for next week.

The IEBC commissioner then sent a statement from New York saying she had resigned because of what she said was a deeply divided commission, safety concerns, and to guard her conscience which she said was being pricked by the requirement to take responsibility for positions she did not believe in.

“It has become increasingly difficult to continue attending plenary meetings where commissioners come ready to vote along partisan lines and not to discuss the merit of issues before them,” she said in the statement.

SIEGE

Later, she spoke to the BBC and KTN in different interviews in which she told of a commission under siege, one she said was ran by a chairman who had been isolated by an imposing majority of commissioners who forced his decisions to a vote every time.

“We have a secretariat that has decided to take this country to hell,” Dr Akombe told KTN. “Until we fix that, we cannot run an election, not in one month, not in three months.” 

Last evening, Dr Akombe singled out Mr Chiloba, heaping the August 8 election irregularities on him, and accusing him of leading a parallel axis of power and influence at the commission.

“In other places, it is Ezra Chiloba who should have resigned, not Dr Roselyn Akombe,” she said in an interview with NTV’s Sidebar.

ODINGA WITHDRAWAL

She also revealed that Mr Chebukati had unsuccessfully proposed that the commission seek the Supreme Court’s interpretation on what Mr Odinga’s withdrawal from the election meant.

“He was outvoted by the majority of commissioners who thought it was everyone’s choice to run or not. We cannot just wish away the fact that a key player who had 44 per cent of the vote has withdrawn,” she said.

In her statement, Dr Akombe said she had been living in immense fear.

“I have never felt the kind of fear I felt in my own country. If you get such messages and you have seen your own staff get that and be murdered, you would really be suicidal to think that nothing will happen to you,” she said, adding that she feared for her life that “I don’t feel safe enough to go back home”.

STAFF TRAINING

The commissioner had visited Mumias, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Siaya, and Kisumu to witness training of staff, where she said she was told of security fears that her fellow commissioners dismissed.

In the statement, she blamed last-minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results, the attacks on IEBC staff and rushed training due to fear, for her resignation.

She also singled out partisan senior secretariat staff and commissioners, “endless legal suits” and what she said was skewed legal advice to fit political interests.

“The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on October 26. I do no want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity,” she said in the statement.

On Wednesday, it was not possible to establish whether she stayed in Dubai. Prof Abdi Guliye, the other commissioner in the delegation to monitor the printing of ballot papers refused to discuss his former colleague’s travel schedule.

COMMISSION

Insiders at the commission, however, said she had taken full per diem for Dubai and had thus created the impression that it was just another visit to Al Ghurair that she was preparing for.

The commission does not organise accommodation for those it sends to Dubai — individuals use their allowance to cater for all costs in the United Arab Emirates.

It had, however, been known since last week that the two of them would lead the team scrutinising the preparation of the ballot papers, result forms and other printed material for use on Election Day.
Asked about the effect of her resignation, Prof Guliye said that while it was not a positive development, it would not affect the commission’s determination to have an election on October 26.

“We are confident in terms of preparation. The commission has put in a lot of effort,” he said.

Dr Akombe talks of the challenges at IEBC and the threats she has received.

Former PCEA head denies Sh40m theft charge

Daphne Galizia, journalist who leaked Panama Papers killed