Rogue officers to go as IEBC gears up for poll

Five returning officers are to be sent home while 14 others will be issued with a final warning over failures in the August 8 elections.

Sources from within the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said five who have been interdicted would be replaced with experienced staff from the headquarters and who have previously worked as returning officers or similar positions.

Returning officers are some of the most critical people in the election chain because they recruit, train and supervise staff who conduct polls in their constituencies.

The Nation learnt that 29 other officers have been given verbal warnings.

Besides the returning officers and their deputies, some 200 presiding officers whose declaration forms had errors will not to be rehired.

The shake-up comes just as IEBC is scheduled to start joint training of 600 returning officers, deputy returning officers and ICT officers on Thursday at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi.

INTERDICTED

Among those believed to have been interdicted is the Embakasi South deputy returning officer who was accused of breaking seals and opening ballot boxes to retrieve Forms 34A without a court order. Seven returning officers have been reshuffled.

Reached by the Nation on Wednesday night, IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba said the commission had reviewed the electoral process and where there were gaps, officials concerned were invited to provide an explanation.

He said out of that review, a report had been prepared and debated but added that he could not comment on the contents because of  confidentiality.

IEBC Communication Manager Andrew Limo said he was not aware of the reports.

“All I know is that such changes, if and when they come, must be sanctioned by the decision-making organ of the commission,” he said.

A woman with a placard during a demonstration in Nairobi in support of IEBC commissioners and chief executive Ezra Chiloba on October 4, 2017.

A woman with a placard during a demonstration in Nairobi in support of IEBC commissioners and chief executive Ezra Chiloba on October 4, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A majority of the returning officers and their deputies targeted in the clean-up are those whose areas experienced problems that led to the nullifying of the August 8 presidential election.

SUPREME COURT

They have been appearing before the commission’s Human Resource committee since the Supreme Court delivered the detailed judgment on September 20.

The court made a determination that “irregularities and illegalities were committed in a manner inconsistent with the requirement that the electoral system be simple, verifiable, efficient, accurate and accountable”.

In her report, Supreme Court Registrar  Esther Nyaiyaki found out that Forms 34B from 42 constituencies  had been mishandled by returning officers.

Among the inconsistencies were forms in  which the names of constituencies were missing, others where the names of constituencies were handwritten and lack of security features such as serial number and watermark.

Some of the inconsistencies were challenged by Justice Njoki Ndung’u who said in her dissenting judgement that she examined some of the original forms, said to have been non-compliant in the report by the registrar, and found them to be in order. The divergent views of the judges on the forms remains a mystery since they relied on the court’s records.

STAFF CHANGES

During the commission’s meeting with the National Super Alliance on Tuesday at Bomas of Kenya, the subject of impending staff changes is said to have been on the table, with IEBC promising a clean-up ahead of the October 26 election.

Mr Limo said all returning officers and their deputies would be in Nairobi at the end of this week for training.

“Only then can one know those who will be retained,” he said.

In his September 1 statement, soon after the Supreme Court delivered the summary of its determination, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati stated that the commission would discipline officers found to have committed mistakes during the August 8 General Election.

The Carter Center asks politicians to stop attacks on IEBC.

6 girls, 2 women from one family shot dead in S.Africa

To Fuel Debate On Seccesion Here Are Geographical Facts You Should Know