DISGRACEFUL RETURN OF THE THREE IEBC COMMISSIONERS.pdf
SUBJECT: THE PURPORTED AND DISGRACEFUL “RETURN”, 5 MONTHS LATER, OF THE IEBC COMMISSIONERS AFTER PUBLICLY RESIGNING
We have watched with disbelief, dismay and great disappointment the happenings at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The happenings at IEBC have, for sometimes now, been dramatic, disgraceful, shameful and unacceptable, especially when two former IEBC Commissioners, Ms. Consolata Maina and Ms. Margaret Mwachanya who had resigned publicly from office five (5) months ago, and went on to disparage the IEBC, purported to now come back to work at the very institution they rejected and ridiculed.
In their resignation, the former commissioners cited lack of confidence in the commission’s chairman, Mr. Wafula Chebukati and explained how they had lost confidence to serve as Commissioners at IEBC. For them to shamelessly make a return to the commission offices last Friday (24th August) demanding their jobs back was not only unethical but also criminal and a script reminiscent of the belligerence we see from the political class who have perfected the art of impunity in the public service. The two former commissioners failed the integrity test and they have further proved that they were incompetent and unsuitable to serve, not just at IEBC, but indeed in any other public office.
We now further, and more specifically, speak to their ill-intention as well as to their conduct in the following manner:
- They failed the integrity test in the first place. The two former commissioners, Ms. Connie Maina and Ms. Margaret Mwachanya, failed and continue to fail the integrity test prescribed in Chapter 6 of our Constitution relating to leadership and integrity. They should never, by dint of Article 73 of our Constitution, be allowed to bring disrepute to the very institution that they abandoned and disparaged five (5) months ago. It is sheer display of dishonesty and mediocrity to resign publicly then pretend 5 months later to “un-resign” and purport to come back.
- They were, and still are, puppets of their political masters working to destroy public institutions like IEBC. The purported return by the two former IEBC commissioners proves that they were toys and puppets of their shameless political masters. Whereas there maybe problems at the commission, they should never be allowed to disgrace and politicize it further. While we still have concerns at IEBC, the two former commissioners, together with their political masters, should never be entertained.
- They should now refund all monies and benefits they enjoyed as Commissioners. With their sheer display of mediocrity, disrespect for public institutions and upon further proving their unsuitability to serve, we must now demand from the two former commissioners to refund all the money and other benefits they enjoyed as commissioners before their welcomed resignation. IEBC is not their house where they can walk in and out at will; IEBC remains a publicly-funded institution that draws money from the taxpayer’s kitty, and despite its internal challenges, it must be protected. IEBC is not a personal chattel of individuals to use and dump if and when they wished.
- They are irresponsible and a bad example to society. Looking at the conduct of the former IEBC commissioners and who, for all intents and purposes, we consider to be adults, parents, wives, Kenyan citizen and maybe professionals with some training, we wonder where on earth is the shame, self-respect, common decency and courtesy in their actions? The two former commissioners publicly resigned and therefore absconded responsibility. These two cannot be responsible Kenyan adults; neither can they be an example to our future generation on responsible leadership. We shudder to imagine what one of them, as a former teacher, taught our children in schools? They should be locked out of the IEBC offices, and even further be prosecuted for fraudulent behaviour.
- They were full time employees who absconded duty. IEBC commissioners are working full-time public servants. The employment law is clear that whenever an employee absents themselves from duty, it amounts to gross misconduct that befits summary dismissal, and in their particular case, they should, in fact, be surcharged.
Relating to the need to protect IEBC as a public institution, and further to the need to not allow disruption of an electoral management body at every election cycle, as has been custom, our Party further makes the following observations:
- Lack of continuity for the current IEBC. That the current IEBC commissioners came into office 6 months to the 2017 election. They found already set systems and could not make much changes due to shortage of time left to the August 8th General Elections.
- Therefore, the commissioners did not enjoy the benefit of institutional memory because no Commissioner was left in office from among the former Hassan Isaack-led Commission. The Chebukati-led commissioners solely relied on the CEO Ezra Chiloba to gain deeper understanding of the commission operations. We squarely blame the machinations and disruptive acts of the political class who have always wanted to control the IEBC for their selfish gains.
- It is evident that the CEO not only misled the Chebukati-led commissioners, but also the country at large. The Audit reports, which have just been released and that show theft of public money
at the commission, especially by the two former commissioners who now purport to come back, should now be made public and together with the CEO, all must be investigated by relevant agencies.
- It is our observation and a proposal that, going forward, as part of long term solution to challenges at IEBC, appointment of commissioners should be staggered for the purposes of continuity and institutional memory. Consequently, replacement of the commissioners who resigned should be fast-tracked.
- The urgent need to vet IEBC staf. It is further our proposal that all staff at IEBC should be vetted like Police Officers and Judicial Officers. This will build public confidence in the commission. This need is further informed by the fact that the two former commissioners had access to the offices and even had keys to their former offices. There is definitely collusion with some staff members.
- Our party is aware of the institutional reforms proposed by the commissioners still in office. Their request should be supported by all stakeholders in order that we may gain back confidence and faith in the IEBC.
- Lastly, and in order to avoid previous mistakes, current commissioners who have gained deep understanding of the Commission’s operational challenges are best suited to reform as opposed to bringing in all new commissioners.
FOR: THIRDWAY ALLIANCE KENYA