Uhuru nominates Wafula Chebukati to succeed Issack Hassan as IEBC boss
What you need to know:
- Both Mr Chebukati and Mr Chiloba hail from Trans Nzoia and it would be inconceivable to have both the chairman and the chief executive come from the same county.
- Religious leaders have said that hatemongers and those involved in corruption should not be on the ballot in the August 2017 elections.
President Uhuru Kenyatta last evening presented to Parliament the names of individuals nominated to head the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Should Parliament approve the candidates, lawyer Wafula Chebukati will become the chairman of the commission, having beaten his fellow Coast-based lawyer Tukero ole Kina to the finish line.
Members of the new-look IEBC would include Consolata Nkatha Bucha Maina, Boya Molu, Roselyne Kwamboka Akombe, Paul Kibiwott Kurgat, Margaret Wanjala Mwachanya and Abdi Guliye.
The selection panel, chaired by Bernadette Musundi, had on Thursday last week presented the final shortlist, which included 11 candidates, to the President.
Also nominated for commissioner were Abdi Yakub Guliye, Henry Kizito Okola, Zephania Okeyo Aura and Samuel Kimeu but they did not make it.
The change of guard at the IEBC follows repeated accusations by the opposition against the sitting commissioners on their perceived incompetence in handling the 2013 General Election.
That led to countrywide protests that prompted police to use force to quell them. However, the government bowed to pressure and a deal was struck to dismiss the team.
Religious leaders have said that hatemongers and those involved in corruption should not be on the ballot in the August 2017 elections.
They also played a critical part in bringing the two rival political camps to the negotiating table to strike a deal on the exit of the current crop of electoral commissioners led by Issack Hassan.
The two nominees for chairman and nine for members of the IEBC were selected under a cloud of high-stakes jostling between the two main political alliances.
While releasing the 11 names, Ms Musundi said the candidates were assessed on academic and professional qualifications, as well as leadership and integrity.
They were also tested on ICT and presentation skills, general knowledge, and technical proficiency and competencies.
But behind-the-scenes intrigues saw regional balance and perceived party affiliations also came into play.
But while many expected Mr Kina to be the most likely pick for chairman given that the IEBC already has a member from Chebukati’s county, the Nation had learnt of moves to have the President appoint Mr Chebukati and have Ezra Chiloba resign as CEO.
Both Mr Chebukati and Mr Chiloba hail from Trans Nzoia and it would be inconceivable to have both the chairman and the chief executive come from the same county.
Matters have not been helped by the fact that Mr Kenyatta’s handlers see Mr Chiloba as more of Deputy President William Ruto's man, having worked with his legal adviser, Korir Sing’oei.
Mr Chiloba’s exit could, however, precipitate a crisis in the IEBC secretariat, which is charged with the day-to-day preparations for the elections eight months away.
Some candidates, however, still went through with baggage, though it was agreed that the issues would be dealt with at another stage after they got overwhelming support from the panellists.
“We knew we could only do so much and we did our best, but at some point we said any misgiving can be addressed during vetting, when another door for public participation will be opened. Anybody, then, can bring a petition,” said another source.