, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29- The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) has selected James Oswago as the Chief Electoral Officer of the Secretariat, Commission’s Chair Ahmed Isaack Hassan announced on Tuesday.
Mr Oswago will also double up as the Commission’s Secretary and will be deputised by Gladys Shollei.
“We spent the whole of last week interviewing those people short listed by (audit firm) KPMG and settled upon our final list of the secretariat,” Hassan said.
He added that the two were among 10 candidates picked to head key departments in the organisation. The Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u will also serve as a director in the Secretariat.
The Chair expressed confidence that the team would enable the Commission to carry out its mandate effectively.
“We believe that this secretariat is very well qualified to help us lead the electoral body in the work we want to do. It also reflects the face of Kenya,” he said while pointing out that the candidates were picked from all corners of the country.
Mr Hassan said they were finalising the recruitment and deployment of key staff at the headquarters in Nairobi and at the constituency level countrywide and they hoped to finish the exercise by January.
Seventeen regional Electoral Coordinators who will be facilitating and monitoring elections within their respective regions have already been appointed and deployed.
Rift Valley and Eastern Province have three coordinators, while Nyanza, Western, Coast, Central and North Eastern Provinces have two each. One coordinator was appointed for Nairobi Province.
The commission has so far recruited 200 Constituency Electoral Coordinators and is in the process of hiring from 10 constituencies where suitable candidates were not found.
“These constituency coordinators have replaced the District Coordinators. The commission has decided to have the constituency as the focal point for electoral matters in Kenya,” the Chairman said. Training of these officials Mr Hassan added would also commence in January.
Except for voter registration clerks and the deputy registration officers, the new staff will be employed on permanent terms. They will be expected to serve the electoral body when the IIEC’s term expires in December 2010 or three months after the enactment of a new Constitution.
The expiry of the Commission’s mandate the Chair said would not affect the work of the staff. IIEC plans to start the voter registration exercise in February next year.
At the same time, Mr Hassan said they wanted to upgrade their IT infrastructure in the head office which would go a long way in enabling them to undertake their operations effectively and efficiently.
“The system we have right now is outdated and requires to be replaced as it was last done in 1997 and it cannot serve the country. Today (Tuesday) we received a report of the Tender Committee. We expect the infrastructure to be commission in the first week of March,” he said.