Crisis as IEBC Withdraws From Election Committee

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    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati addresses the media at a press conference in August 2021
  • A crisis is looming eight months to the August 9, 2022 elections after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) pulled out of the Election Preparedness Committee citing alleged infringement of its independence.

    In a letter dated Monday, November 29, IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, informed members of the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness and its Technical Working Committee that the polls' body would not conform to the pressure to give up on its election mandate as stipulated in the Constitution. 

    Chebukati raised concerns with the terms of reference of the election preparedness committee.  

    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati addresses the media at a Kenya Union of Journalist event in 2021

    “After consultations and in-depth critical appraisal of the terms of reference, IEBC, would wish to respectfully withdraw from further engagement in the activities of the said committee.

    “Whereas we recognize that the success of the electoral process is largely determined by stakeholder engagement at all levels, we must respectfully point out that a number of the conditions has the net effect of violating the Constitution by purporting to direct us on how to discharge our mandate,” Chebukati wrote. 

    He cited Article 88 of the Constitution which outlines the mandate of the Commission, and Article 249(2) which provides that the commissions and the holders of independent offices are subject only to the 2010 Constitution and the law; and are independent and not subject to direction or control by any person or authority.

    Chebukati further alleged that the committee was pushing out the IEBC while attempting to hand over its powers to the other aforementioned institutions. The lawyer alluded to an alleged plan to tamper with the election as he was adamant that IEBC was mandated to ensure that whatever voting method is used, the system is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent.

    “On the other hand, Article 81(e) (iii). (iv) and (v) provide that a free and fair election is one that is conducted by an independent body, transparent and administered in an impartial, neutral, efficient, accurate and accountable manner. 

    “From the foregoing, it is our considered position that the heavy involvement of other entities is likely to erode the public trust in the Commission thereby derailing the ability to deliver simple, accurate, verifiable. secure, accountable, impartial, efficient, credible and transparent elections as directed by the Constitution,” he wrote. 

    Chebukati noted that IEBC was of the opinion that the NMSCF on Election Preparedness, apart from infringing on the independence of the Commission, had assumed the role of other institutions, notably, the Parliamentary Departmental Committees, particularly the Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) of the National Assembly.

    Prior to IEBC withdrawal, the committee comprised of the IEBC, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome (Judiciary), Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (Treasury) CS Joe Mucheru (ICT), Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Philip Kameru - Director General National Intelligence Service (NIS), Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai (National Police Service). 

    Others include Anne Amadi (Chief Registrar of the Judiciary), Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, Martin Wambora (Chairman Council of Governors), Ezra Chiloba (Director General Communications Authority of Kenya), Ann Nderitu (Registrar of Political Parties).

    Chief Justice Martha Koome being vetted for office in May 2021