NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – An Inter-ministerial Task Force on the dissolution of the disgraced Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) has recommended an exit package for the 22 former poll commissioners.
The Task Force, chaired by Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, has however not specified how much would be paid to the former commissioners.
Their proposals are based on a recommendation by the former ECK officials that they receive benefits equivalent to what they would have received had they worked till the end of their terms.
The commissioners, who were dismissed despite their security of tenure, had argued that they ‘at the very least deserved full pay till the end of their contracts’.
The terms of reference for the taskforce included: “(Determining) the terminal dues payable to the Commissioners of the ECK,” a statement by Mr Muthaura that was sent to newsrooms on Monday read.
He said the Task Force report had also made recommendations on the redeployment of eligible staff to the public service, and the retirement of those ineligible to make the move. Again, this proposal also fell short of stipulating any specific numbers.
“The report of the Task Force was presented to both His Excellency the President and the Prime Minister on January 5, 2009 by the Minister of State for Public Service,” the statement continued.
Ambassador Muthaura said that a new transitional team would be established to handle the intermediary arrangements between the old ECK and a new Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), which was created by the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Act – the same law that sent the ECK packing.
That new panel was also to oversee the transfer of assets and liabilities of the dissolved ECK, plus ‘monitor all pending cases by or against the defunct ECK’.
At the moment, the hearing of all election petitions has been put on hold following a High Court ruling last week, which said the hearings would resume once the IIEC was in place.
The government appointed the Inter-ministerial Task Force in mid-December last year anticipating the disbandment of the ECK, after both the Kriegler and Waki Commission of Inquiry reports faulted the panel for a massively flawed 2007 General Election.
The disputed elections sent the country into a violent tribal bloodbath that claimed the lives of more than 1,500 and displaced about 350,000 others.