Know your new IEBC commissioners

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) finally got its new team to prepare for August elections.

The team chaired by Wanyonyi Chebukati also includes six commissioners who together will have to ensure credible elections and possibly avoid a repeat of 2007 post-election violence where 1113 people were killed and a nother 600,000 displaced.

But do you know who these new commissioners are?

Wanyonyi Wafula Chebukati (Chairman)

Born in 1961 in Bungoma County, Mr Chebukati who whose rural home is now in Kiminini in Trans-Nzoia County went to St Peters Mumias, Bokoli Secondary School and Lenana High School.

He holds a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Nairobi and a post-graduate diploma from the Kenya School of Law.

He has been the managing partner of the Nairobi office of the Cootow and Associates Advocates. In his legal practice, Mr Chebukati has specialised in conveyancing, labour laws, company mergers and acquisitions, maritime and treaties. Previously, he was consultant when Kenya was developing its maritime laws.

When he sought this post, he told interviewing panel he wasn’t looking for a job, but wanted an opportunity to serve Kenyans. He had argued that he was fully satisfied with his legal job and told Parliament his current job provided daily bread for his family.

But Mr Chebukati had to defend his past association with Philip Kinisu who was forced to resign as chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (Eacc) after investigations found he had business deals with NYS yet it was an agency his Commission was to investigate.

Mr Chebukati said he was only a lawyer representing a client. He also defended his record of associating with ODM, saying he had resigned from the party.

IEBC vice chairperson Consolata Nkatha Bucha Maina. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Consolata Nkatha Bucha Maina (vice-chairperson)

Born in 1960 in Meru, she attended primary and secondary schools in Meru and Nairobi counties.

She holds two diplomas from London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), one in public relations and another in business studies.

Consequently, she has a master of business administration degree from University of Melbourne Australia, Master of Science in public relations from University of Stirling in Scotland and diploma in public relations. She worked in Australia until last year when she returned to the country.

When asked why she skipped a basic degree, she told Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs that the diplomas she had were equivalent to bachelor’s degree at the time.

Her drive to join the IEBC is to build trust in an organisation that has often been vilified and liked in equal measure.

Dr Roslyn Akombe. She says IEBC is deeply divided and commissioners are serving partisan interests. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Dr Roselyn Akombe Kwamboka

Born in 1976 in Nyamira County, Dr Akombe studied Education at the University of Nairobi before going to the US for further studies. She holds a Master of Science in Global Affairs and a PhD in the same subject, both from the Rutgers University.

Until her appointment, she worked as an Under-Secretary at the United Nations headquarters in New York, a position she says enabled her to gain experience in electoral practices around the world.

Her strongest skill, she argued before the parliamentary committee, is diplomatic ability to resolve conflicts and that she had stayed abroad for over 15 years, enabling her to understand more about the needs of the diaspora when it comes to voting.

But the IEBC job meant she was taking a pay cut of up to 70 per cent. Why would she do that? Dr Kwamboka explained that it was a sacrifice she took as a patriot willing to serve her country. In fact, she took a sabbatical from the UN meaning she will not receive a penny from the UN during her term as commissioner at IEBC.

She too believes that there should be a system that links voter listing with registration of persons, but Kenya strongly needs continuous voter education. However, she argues every stakeholder is responsible for ensuring political temperatures do not cause chaos.

Boya molu

Mr Boya Molu on January 10, 2017. 

Photo credit: File

Boya Molu

Born in Marsabit in 1978, Mr Molu studied in India earning degrees in human resource management and business administration. He also holds a diploma in human resources by the Kenya National Examinations Council.

When he appeared before the parliamentary committee, he argued he had applied for the job because he qualified for it, but said he looked forward to taking part in ensuring credible elections in August.

Mr Molu believes political parties should use their own registers to ensure only valid members participate. But he argued the voters’ register at IEBC should be linked with the registration of persons using technology to compliment the two systems.

Dr Paul Kibiwott Kurgat. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Dr Paul Kibiwott Kurgat

The former ambassador to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan was born in Kakamega County in 1961 but now lives in Uasin Gishu. He holds a PhD in History from Moi University, a Master degree in international relations from the Kiev State University (Ukraine), a diploma in peace and security from Uppsala University in Sweden and another diploma in conflict resolution from the same university.

He argues his background in history studies will enable the IEBC to understand human activities and different cultures and how they should be considered in preparing for elections. He vowed to take tough actions against aspirants who promote violence.

He says his stay in Moscow allowed him to learn lessons in electoral preparation and especially when Russia fitted all its 90,000 polling stations with close-circuit cameras operated in 11 different zones.

Ms Margaret Wanjala Mwachanya on January 11, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Margaret Wanjala Mwachanya

This former teacher was born in 1970 in Kwale County. She studied in colleges in Kenya and Israel.

An enthusiast of languages, she holds a master degree in Swahili studies from the University of Nairobi, having earned a bachelor’s degree in Kiswahili from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

She has been serving on the public service board of Taita-Taveta County and previously taught Kiswahili in various schools around the country, a background she argued will give invaluable talent to IEBC especially in dissemination of messages.

Prof Abdi Guliye on January 11, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Prof Abdi Yakub Guliye

He was born in 1962 in Wajir County earned his bachelors and master degrees from Egerton University specialising in animal production. He holds a PhD in animal nutrition from Rowett research Institute, University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK).

Prof Guliye applied for the job of commissioner because he believes his experience in managing student elections at Egerton University could be strong enough for use by IEBC.

Egerton University students often threw stones and burnt tyres or smashed motorists whenever they held elections on their campus in Njoro, Nakuru. But in the two years he managed those student elections, the Prof argues, there has been no violence related to polls at the institution.

He, too, supports integration of voters’ registers with registration of persons and wants a special pool of funds allocated to support women candidates.


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