Chebukati fate uncertain as disgruntled commissioners are set for a comeback

Chebukati fate uncertain as disgruntled commissioners are set for a comeback

- in Investigations, News

By The Informer 

Two commissioners of the electoral body could finally make a comeback despite the intense lift   between two factions of commissioners that has spiraled to the political arena since their now ‘irregular’ resignation is yet to be acknowledged or their positions declared vacant through a Gazette Notice by the president who is the appointing authority.

Yesterday, deep divisions and uncoordinated decisions played out after chairman Wanyonyi Wafula Chebukati confessed the he is not certain if the National Treasury has stopped paying salaries and other benefits to the three commissioners from the Consolidated fund. 

Inside Anniversary Towers, Vice-chairperson Consolata NkathaMaina and Margaret Mwachanya whom Chebukati described as “former commissioners” were force to stay at the boardroom after they found locks to their offices were changed.

Chebukati said their comeback is a show of mischief. 

“I did not manage to see them but I asked them to go and put in writing what they want to see me about and if an when they do so then we shall address the issues which they want to deal with,” said Chebukati

The commission chairman then directed them to write formally why they want to see him an indication they were strangers or guests to his office. They declined and stormed out.

However, Commissioner Paul Kurugat was not present. He is said to be busy undertaking lecture duties at a university in Eldoret

“We will be back to address later.” Nkatha said as she headed for the elevator. 

Iebc does not have offices for former commissioner. You cannot come here and say I am a former commissioner give me space to work from here. And so as far as we are concerned, they are not supposed to be working here and this has to be made very clearly to the country that there is no place for former commissioners in the Iebc.” Chebukati said. 

However, sources at the National Treasury revealed the salaries and other entitlements are paid in full.

Also, the commissioners still enjoy the insurance scheme under Iebc, have retained Iebc badges and vehicles.

The commissioners are said to be exploiting judgment delivered by Justice Winfrida Okwany in a petition filed by Isaiah BiwottKangwony saying the commission was not properly constituted after exit of the three commissioners.

However, in her ruling, Okwany said there was no vacancy in the commission since there was no Gazette Notice indicating the same.

The judge ruled that their resignation was unprocedural as they did not write to the appointing authority.

According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act, a vacancy can occur if a commissioner resigns through a written letter to the President. 

The law provides that the President shall publish a notice of a vacancy in the Gazette within seven days of its occurrence.

“On Friday they came and we were surprised to learn that they retained some of the keys they had not handed over and accessed their offices but that has now been rectified and today they came back to see me but we had pre-arranged meetings which are for the activities for the commission.”Chebukati added.

Chebukati had earlier told court that the procedure for resigning from such office requires a commissioner to issue a one-month notice or pay one-month’s gross salary in lieu of the notice besides sending a letter to the President.

Yesterday, Chebukati affirmed Okwany’s ruling saying the resignation was not procedural but said the process of recruiting other commissioners is underway. 

Activist Okiya Omtata has also swore an affidavit saying the commissioners in question did not copy the resignation to the president. 

Meanwhile, political leaders led by Amani National Congress Musalia Mudavadi have waded into the matter disapproving decision by the duo to return to their former offices saying they misled the president.

Mudavadi demanded the disbandment of the entire electoral body since it is also riddled by audit queries over the procurement of the elections kits that cost millions of shillings.

“We oppose the move by two Iebc commissioners who resigned of sneaking back to office. The return of the commissioners is an insult to Kenyans and the break of law. We call upon the disbandment of IEBC and knew commission put in place,” said Mudavadi.

Sabatia legislator Alfred Agoi and his Lurambi counterpart Titus Khamala said they will not allow the entire IEBC to operate until the new commission is formed.

They tendered their resignations through a press conference in Nairobi left the commission citing poor leadership by Chebukatiafter he suspended Chief executive Officer Chiloba over alleged mismanagement of the last two presidential elections.

Also, Ugunja Member of Parliament, Opiyo Wandayi and his Kisumu Central counterpart Fred Ouda said Iebc  as a public body, was not a personal kiosk where people just walk in and out.

 They were speaking in Sigomere ward in Ugunja during the burial of the late Francis Ooko Oswaka

 Wandayi said that IEBC deserved restructuring as almost all the commissioners have been tainted by an audit report.

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