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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson, Wafula Chebukati, decision to pull out of the Election Preparedness Committee has elicited mixed reactions from different political quotas.
IEBC, through a detailed letter dated Monday, November 29, made it clear that it will no longer participate in activities involving the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness and its Technical Working Committee.
The Chebukati-led commission cited pressure from the members in the powerful committee risking their independence to oversee next year's polls.IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati addresses the media at a press conference in August 2021File
The powerful committee is made up of Ezra Chiloba (Director General Communications Authority of Kenya), Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome, and National Intelligence Service (NIS) led by Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Philip Kameru, who, according to most Kenyans on different social media platforms, were piling pressure on IEBC.
Others include Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (Treasury), CS Joe Mucheru (ICT), Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai (National Police Service).
Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, Martin Wambora (Chairman Council of Governors), Ann Nderitu (Registrar of Political Parties) among others.
Chebukati made it clear that the committee had taken over the roles of the electoral agency rendering them useless and not even in a state to assure Kenyans independent polls.
“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,” IEBC wrote.
His decision has been praised by a section of political stakeholders terming the move as failing to succumb to pressure.
Law Society of Kenya President, Nelson Havi, led the quota praising Chebukati and at the same time calling out CJ Koome for chairing an unconstitutional committee.
"Shame and embarrassment is when you insist on seating on a non-existent chair. You fall down flat on your butt. How will CJ Martha Koome chair the unconstitutional Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness? Wafula Chebukati, you have spared yourself shame and embarrassment," Havi stated.
The same sentiments were shared by exiled lawyer, Miguna Miguna, who praised Chebukati for his courage and at the same time castigated CJ Koome.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator, Kipchumba Murkomen, noted that CJ Koome should follow suit and pull out of the committee.
"Out of my personal admiration and respect for CJ Martha Koome, I won’t criticize her for defending her place in the Multi-Agency Elections Forum. Let her do soul searching and convince herself that working with persons who have taken political sides brings honor and dignity to her high office," stated Murkomen.
The sentiments resonate with what Deputy President William Ruto has been pushing together with his team. Ruto's side has been calling out different Cabinet Secretaries and CJ Koome for allegedly being in the multi-agency team unconstitutionally.
However, Chebukati has also been condemned for his shocking decision that has the possibility of paralysing the entire election preparations process.
Top leaders who have called him out include Embakasi East Member of Parliament, Paul Ongiri alias Babu Owino. Babu has described the move as ill-informed with the aim of sabotaging elections.
Other committee members are yet to respond or give the way forward regarding the move by the electoral body.Lady Justice Martha Koome while she delivered judgments and rulings of the Court of Appeal via Skype on April 24, 2020.File
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