NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15- The selection panel seeking candidates for the position of Chairperson to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been criticised for short-listing candidates who fell short of the basic requirements.
While speaking to Capital News, political commentator David Makali said the panel selected candidates with errors in their applications which risked jeopardising the credibility of the process.
On Tuesday, two candidates short-listed for the Chairperson’s interviews, were disqualified after it emerged that one of them had not been truthful in his application while the other lacked a clearance certificate from the Kenya Revenue Allocation (KRA).
Another candidate short-listed for an interview as a commissioner with the new electoral body failed to make the cut after it emerged that he had overdue arrears with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
“That should not have arisen in the first place because they should have detected those mistakes much earlier by looking through the documentation that was submitted so that, in the final analysis, they end up with potential nominees,” he argued.
Makali argued that clearance certificates from HELB, KRA and the Crime Investigation Department as well as schooling certificates should be among the first documents checked before the suitability of a candidate is determined.
When the selection panel, under the chairmanship of Ekuru Aukot, was criticised by several politicians over the criteria used in short-listing the candidates, it explained that it had used the items to strike out several names.
Moreover, during the interviews, Aukot noted that some of the nominees had lied in their applications.
Several politicians including Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto wanted the panel to include commissioners who had served in the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC), in the shortlist arguing that they had the requisite experience.
Makali further lauded the selection panel for handling the initial public criticism positively and for not caving in to political manipulations.
“They did what they were required to do and if you remember the skeptics kept quiet when the interviews started,” he said.
Makali also observed that the selection panel did not have a big enough pool from which to draw the candidates. He argued that many Kenyans were shying away from applying for the top constitutional offices forcing the panelists to make do with what they had.
When the panel first advertised for the position of Chairperson, only four Kenyans applied forcing it to re-advertise after which it got 15 applicants before eight were short-listed.
“People need to ask why very few people applied because the requirements of the law are very clear- people apply and then they are short-listed before the names of the best among them are submitted to the principles for appointment,” he said.
Only 13 names out of the 44 that were short-listed for commissioners will be forwarded to the President and Prime Minister for consideration but only eight will be appointed.
Three other names, out of the eight nominated for position of Chairperson, will be forwarded to the President for consideration before one is picked.