The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is conscious of the fact that the 2017 General Elections are only 14 months away and has invested heavily on its staff in order to deliver effective, efficient and credible elections.
This is part of implementing the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan which is premised on the concept of managing elections through institutional transformation and fostering public trust and participation. Under the pillar of institutional transformation, the Commission is paying attention to internally driven institutional reforms with emphasis on performance management in order to build a respectable and sustainable brand in elections management.
Currently, the IEBC organizational structure is made of the Commission comprising of a Chairperson and eight members. The Commissioners provide oversight and policy direction through established Committees.
For its functioning, it is supported by a Secretariat headed by a Chief Executive Officer who is also the Commission Secretary. The Commission Secretary is assisted by two Deputy Commission Secretaries; one in charge of Operations and the other Support Services. The functions of the Secretariat are arranged under eight directorates: Legal and Public Affairs; Voter Education and Partnerships; Voter Registration and Electoral Operations; Finance; Information and Communication Technology; Research and Development; Human Resource and Administration; and Risk and Compliance. IEBC’s operations are decentralized with field offices in 17 regions managed by Regional Elections Coordinators. The Commission has also established offices in each of the 290 constituencies being managed by Constituency Elections Coordinators.
The Post-Election Evaluation Report on the March 4, 2013 General Elections revealed that, whereas the current organizational structure reasonably served the Commission’s purpose, there was need to address the gaps therein. The evaluation identified various areas that needed strengthening to make the human resource function in IEBC effective. One of the recommendations of the report is to establish clearly communicated and understood mechanisms for career progression and growth for staff. This would involve rationalizing the IEBC organizational structure to redefine roles, reorganize functions and improve accountability and reporting. The need to develop schemes of service for all categories of staff within the Commission with clear career progression pathways was also pointed out in the report.
For the last eight months, the Commission has been carrying out incremental adjustments to its organizational structure and staff with the objective of supporting the realization of its core mandate in a more effective and efficient manner. The rationale behind these changes is to expand opportunities for career progression internally, as well as realign skills, core competencies and qualifications to maximize productivity. This has seen a number of staff grow laterally and vertically through change of positions or promotions. A number of positions in the Commission secretariat have also been re-designated in line with the rest of the public service.
Linking strategy with people in order to realize strategic results is a normal administrative procedure in prudent corporate governance. The Commission considers its human resources a key driver of strategic advantage, and focuses on empowering the workforce. The restructuring being carried out is a best practice aimed at providing job flexibility, enlargement and enrichment. Further, as staff of IEBC, we appreciate the fact that we are election officers first regardless of our terms of reference. We therefore welcome the restructuring with optimism and hope that stakeholders will support the Commission in repositioning its BRAND.
The Commission will continue to align its institutional capacity to strategic priorities. This should not cause any confusion or alarm but inspire confidence in the public as IEBC is committed to deliver on its mandate with utmost professionalism.
(Tabitha Mutemi is currently the Manager, Corporate Affairs at IEBC)