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IEBC Selection Panel chairman Ekuru Aukot
IEBC Selection Panel chairman Ekuru Aukot
The first debate is set for Monday/FILE


Overdue HELB loan knocks off IEBC candidate

IEBC Selection Panel chairman Ekuru AukotNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 27 – A candidate to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was on Tuesday disqualified from the interviews over his Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) arrears.

Mutoka Isaac Shivachi failed to make the cut when the interviews entered their second day after it emerged that he had not cleared his HELB dues, 19 years down the line.

Although Shivachi explained that he had a lot of dependants who were tying him down financially, the selection panel under the chairmanship of Ekuru Aukot insisted that they could not clear him for the interview.

Shivachi, who has worked in several councils, also blamed his past employers whom he accused of delaying his salary. He further explained that he also had taken another loan that forced him to hold off his HELB payments until his finances got in order.

“In 1992 I wrote to HELB to explain my situation as I was still paying the Ukulima loan to take care of my siblings, nephews and nieces so I could not undertake payment of the HELB loan,” he explained.

“My financial constraints have remained because of the heavy load of people behind me and I have not had relief on that matter,” he added.

The issue surrounding Shivachi’s dues came to light after the selection panel invited Kenyans to send in any concerns they might have on the 44 shortlisted candidates.

The morning session also saw the panel interview 61-year-old Abdullahi Sharawe who was put to task over his age.

Panelist Marion Mutugi brought up the matter noting that it had been raised by several Kenyans who felt that he should not pursue a position in the IEBC as he already had a rich background in civil service having worked as a Permanent Secretary in the previous regime.

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Sharawe however rubbished those arguments arguing that it was wrong to discriminate anyone on the basis of age adding that his vast experience would be an asset to the IEBC.

“If it is appointment it must be done competitively to get the best; that is the constitutional requirement. If it is an elective post the election must be free and fair; I don’t think it would be right to discriminate anyone on age grounds,” he stressed.

Simiyu Wasike appeared before the selection panel as the eighth candidate since the process kicked off on Monday. He was also put to task over his views on whether or not Kenyans in prison and those in the Diaspora should vote during general elections.

Although he felt that it was right for the two clusters of Kenyans to participate in the referendum, Wasike felt that it would be logistically difficult for them to vote at a general election.

Justice Isaac Lenaola and Mutugi tried to push him arguing that the Constitution allowed voters in the Diaspora to vote but Wasike stuck to his guns.

“During the referendum Kenya was the Constituency so prisoners could vote. But when it comes to Parliamentary or County elections the constituencies are different. Prisoners come from all over so it is going to be very cumbersome,” he argued.

“And then when it comes to those in the Diaspora, there are Kenyans who have not come home for many years; not even to burry their mothers. So what grounds do they have to vote?” he argued.

Lawrence Nyalle also faced the challenge of convincing the panel that his confidence and eloquence in speech matched his actions. Nyalle who appeared before the panel in the afternoon session, was accused by Lenaola of having too many theories.

Rosa Abuyu on her part asked him if he would be able to steer the IEBC to the next level given a chance.

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“You are a truly gifted speaker and you are confident but we want to see the Nyalle who can speak well and perform equally well,” challenged Abuyu but Nyalle maintained that he was also hardworking and equal to the task.

“There are no bad battalions; just bad generals and I believe I am a visible and good leader who is also good at delivering,” he stressed.

Nyalle was also questioned on his role as a former internal auditor with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) following reports that the body has, in recent pasts, lost millions of shillings to scam.

He however said that he had already left KPLC by the time the company started losing money to fraud.

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