IEBC chair Chebukati, commissioners Guliye and Molu to take home Sh32m upon exit

Mr Chebukati together with commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye who are set to leave office on January 17 after serving a six-year non-renewable term.

Taxpayers will pay the outgoing chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wafula Chebukati and two commissioners a cumulative amount of Sh32.7 million as their send-off package.

Mr Chebukati together with commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye are set to leave office on January 17 after serving a six-year non-renewable term.

Mr Chebukati will take home Sh12, 374,208 while the two commissioners will each take home Sh10, 274,402.

“A State officer, serving or appointed for a fixed term of office, shall be paid a service gratuity at the rate of 31 per cent of the annual pensionable emoluments for the term served. For purposes of gratuity and pension, the pensionable emolument shall be based on the monthly basic salary set herein,” the law states.

According to the guidelines provided by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), State officers in the full-time Constitutional Commissions and Independent Offices covering the Financial Years (FY) 2021/2022-2024/2025, Mr Chebukati’s basic salary is Sh554,400 without allowances, while each of the two commissioners are earning a basic salary of Sh459,113 without allowances.

If all the allowances are included, Mr Chebukati’s gross pay becomes Sh924, 000 to include house allowance of Sh200,000 and a salary market adjustment of Sh169, 600.

The two commissioners have a gross salary of Sh765, 188 which includes a basic salary of Sh459, 113, a uniform Sh150, 000 house allowance and salary adjustment of Sh156, 075

The salaries commission defines salary market adjustment as a salary modification that takes into account market positioning, and constitutional and statutory principles on review of remuneration and benefits.

However, according to SRC guidelines, for purposes of gratuity and pension, the pensionable employment shall be based on the monthly basic salary and not the allowances.

This therefore means that Mr Chebukati, having served for six years which is 72 months, earned Sh39, 916,800 while each of the two commissioners earned Sh33, 056,136.

Mr Chebukati was appointed head of the IEBC in January 18, 2017 following his nomination a month earlier.

Mr Chebukati and six other new commissioners succeeded Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan and his team.

The other four – Consolata Nkatha, Roselyn Akombe, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya – resigned in a huff after the 2017 General Election.

Therefore, of the commissioners appointed in 2017, only Mr Chebukati, Prof Guliye and Mr Molu remained. During recruitment, Prof Guliye scored 75 per cent while Mr Molu had 64 per cent.

Mr Hassan was hounded out of office after a Joint Select Committee co-chaired by former Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi and his Siaya counterpart James Orengo struck a deal with then members of the commission to vacate office after protests led by NASA leader Raila Odinga.

The commissioners included Chairman Hassan, Lilian Mahiri-Zaja, Abdullahi Sharawe, Thomas Letangule, Mohammed Alawi, Albert Bwire, Kule Godana and Yusuf Nzibo.

The commissioners only agreed to leave office early on condition that they get severance pay, ending a political standoff over their continued service.

The commissioners were entitled to a payout of about Sh152.5 million in gratuity for their contracts based on a March 1, 2013 Kenya Gazette notice published by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

During the hearing of the presidential petition at the Supreme Court filed by Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga, former Attorney General Githu Muigai urged the court not to grant the prayers of the coalition that was seeking to send Mr Chebukati home.

“We should learn one thing and it is one unhappy lesson, the attacks on the chairperson of the commission have a long history. There was Justice Zaccheaus Chesoni, Samuel Kivuitu, and Issac Hassan and now there is Chebukati. The pattern is the same, none of them has been allowed to leave office without vilification and a vindictive process being engineered against them,” Professor Muigai said.

The exit of Mr Chebukati and the two commissioners will leave the commission without any commissioner following the resignation of Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang’aya and Francis Wanderi, while Ms Masit has been suspended by President William Ruto awaiting the findings of a tribunal formed to investigate her conduct during the August poll.

The process of filling the vacant positions is likely to take longer as a bill seeking to alter the process of recruiting electoral commissioners is pending in the Senate which is still in recess until February.

Besieged KANU Secretary General Nick Salat said electoral reforms should start in earnest, with new commissioners that will take over upon the exit of Mr Chebukati.

Mr Salat said the reservations raised by Azimio la Umoja during the reign of Mr Chebukati should be addressed by Parliament and supported by the government to avoid going to the Supreme Court each election year to challenge the outcome of the Presidential poll.

“It is now time to look at the complaints raised in 2017 and 2022 and address them. I wish that on his way out, Mr Chebukati will leave a transition document that the incoming team can work on for a better election in future,” Mr Salat told the Sunday Nation.

Nominated MP John Mbadi has said the President should not wait for the law but use the current IEBC Act to appoint a panel to start the recruitment process.

“Unless there is a motive behind this Bill, the President should use the law that is already in place in order for the process of recruiting new commissioners to start. What happens if the Senate rejects the Bill? Does it mean we will not have new commissioners?” Mr Mbadi asked.

Among its New Year demands to the President, Azimio la Umoja coalition said it will resist any attempt to unilaterally reconstitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“This is the electoral body whose members President Ruto has presented to Kenyans as heroes. Re-form is a must and any attempt to unilaterally reconstitute the IEBC will be vigorously resisted by all patriotic forces,” Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi said.