Hiring of poll director splits electoral agency

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is locked in a dispute over recruitment to a key position at its secretariat.

The commission advertised the position of Director of Voter Registration and Electoral Operations, shortlisting three internal candidates after interviews.

They are Ms Nancy Kariuki and Ms Jane Gitonga – both county election managers – and acting head of the directorate Moses Sunkuli.

Sources told the Sunday Nation that Ms Gitonga was top while Mr Sunkuli and Ms Kariuki tied at second.

Days later, when commissioners met to make a decision, a new set of results emerged with Mr Sunkuli and Ms Kariuki tying at the top while Ms Gitonga was third.

That sparked protests from some commissioners, especially the ones appointed in September last year.

The IEBC Directorate of Human Resource and Administration has also been drawn into the standoff.

The decision on who will head the directorate has been put on hold.

In a separate recruitment, also meant to fill in a key slot ahead of the General Election, the commission named Mr Obadiah Keitany the deputy CEO in charge of support services.

IEBC Chief Executive Hussein Marjan yesterday distanced himself from the altercation.

“I was not involved in the exercise,” he said.

Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati had not responded to our enquiries by the time of going to press.

It is not the first time the new commissioners have found themselves on a collision course with their older colleagues.

There were reports of the new faces being overlooked in the appointment of returning officers.

The new commissioners are vice chairperson Juliana Cherera, Mr Francis Wanderi, Ms Irene Cherop and Mr Justus Nyang’aya.

Before their appointment, IEBC was operating with three commissioners – Mr Chebukati, Mr Boya Molu and Prof Abdi Guliye.

Some of the commissioners protesting the “altered scores” want someone else to act in the position and not Mr Sunkuli.

The row over appointment of the Director of Voter Registration and Electoral Operations adds to the challenges facing IEBC less than three months to the General Election.

As it is, the Election (General) Regulations that will be used on the vote as proposed amendments to the Elections Act have not been passed.

In the proposed Election (General) Regulations, the commission  wants to have exclusive rights in appointing returning officers and their deputies without sharing details with political parties and independent candidates.

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