IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati (centre) with Commissioner Dr.Roselyn Akombe (Left) and CEO Ezra Chiloba. (Photo: Boniface Okendo,Standard)
Face-off is looming over the moral standing of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct a credible fresh presidential election as ordered by the Supreme Court.
Already, both sides of the political divide have taken extreme positions with regard to the Commission before the Supreme Court delivers additional coal to the fire in its eagerly awaited detailed judgment.
While the National Super Alliance (NASA) that won the election petition, insists on massive changes in the structure of the Commission — including removal of a Commissioner — Jubilee is averse to radical changes being introduced close to the poll.
Adding to the mix is the anticipated pressure on the Commission to deliver a credible poll within a short period.
The Commission itself has signaled impeding changes in the secretariat with Chairman Wafula Chebukati indicating that Commissioners may stay put.
“The court proceedings revealed utter rot in the heart of election management. In the coming days, important decisions will have to be made like who conducts the election. The entire edifice of the Commission is rotten,” NASA’s Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga said on Friday after the Supreme Court verdict in Nairobi.
He painted a scenario of a commission taken over by ‘criminals’ and named Commissioner Abdi Guliye, CEO Ezra Chiloba, Deputy CEO Betty Nyabuto, Director of Voter Registration Immaculate Kassait, Director of ICT James Muhati and Director of Legal Affairs Praxides Tororey as “co-conspirators” in his electoral theft.
Sources within the Commission confirmed to the Sunday Standard that IEBC is considering suspending top secretariat officials from active service ahead of the election.
During the period, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations will be invited to investigate them.
Removal of Commissioner Guliye will however be a protracted battle if NASA insists, unless he opts to voluntarily resign. Besides, the director in charge of ICT will have taken the bullet for him.
Yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s senior advisor on Constitutional and Legal Affairs Abdikadir Mohamed said NASA should take cue from President Kenyatta’s magnanimity of accepting the verdict.
Mohamed, who chaired the Parliamentary Committee that drafted the 2010 Constitution said the former Premier, being a candidate in the election, has no capacity to reorganise institutions at whim.
“It does not happen every other day that a sitting President humbles himself before the law, awaits a court decision, accepts it amid strong reservations and agrees to go back to the people. The least such circumstances require is another grandstanding on who conducts the repeat polls,” he said.
He said the court decision was clear that it is the IEBC to conduct fresh elections, in strict adherence to the law. He also vouched for support for institutions to grow from their experiences and lessons.
Mr Chekukati however promised radical surgery within IEBC on Friday after the ruling. “It is worth noting that the new commissioners only took office seven months ago without any changes made to the secretariat,” he said.
“To protect the integrity of the sovereign will of the Kenyan people, commission intends to make internal changes to our personnel and processes as we prepare for the fresh presidential election in 60 days.”
Whatever decision that will be made by the Commission will have to be fast as the countdown to the 60-day window within which the electoral body will conduct fresh presidential started yesterday.