NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – Two candidates seeking to head Kenya’s next electoral and boundaries commission were disqualified on Wednesday for failing to meet key requirements for the job.
George Wakahiu Njenga was ejected by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel after admitting that he was not a member of the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICPSK) despite indicating he was on its roll, in his application forms.
He was hard pressed by the selection panel’s chairman Ekuru Aukot to explain the discrepancy, which he said was tantamount to fraud.
Njenga tried to defend the irregularity by claiming that the ICPSK had declined to admit him as a member as long as he was a member of another professional body, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
The panellists held a brief in-camera consultation session, after which they disqualified Njenga from the interviews.
“Having listed to your explanation on how you responded to the advert and the documentation before us, this panel feels that you have not met the criteria laid out in Chapter 6 on leadership and integrity,” said Aukot.
Kinuthia Mwangi Wamwangi became the second candidate to be kicked out of interviews after it emerged that he did not have a personal clearance certificate from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and that the one he had was from a company registered under his name.
Aukot put him to task over the discrepancy and would not buy Wamwangi’s defence who maintained that KRA opted to issue him with his company’s clearance certificate.
“You’ve gone ahead and given us clearance certificates from the Criminal Investigation Department, the Higher Education Loans Board and the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission and you chose to get those clearance certificates in your name,” Aukot pointed out.
“So why did you choose to get KRA’s clearance from another person’s name that is Happy Valley Limited?” asked Aukot.
When prodded further, Wamwangi admitted that it was an oversight on his part but tried to defend himself saying he hadn’t completely ignored the procedure. Aukot however interjected telling him that he had ignored the procedure and his candidacy would be dismissed.
Unlike other instances where the panellists went into an in-camera session to decide whether or not to go ahead with the interviews, Aukot delivered a ruling instantly.
“The applicant for the position of chairperson was not Happy Valley; the applicant was Kinuthia Mwangi Wamwangi and it is Kinuthia Mwangi Wamwangi who wanted the clearance so we cannot go ahead,” stressed Aukot.
The chairman of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), Ahmed Isaack Hassan opened Wednesday’s interview sessions and was also put to task over irregular recruitment of staff at the commission, corruption and nepotism allegations.
Hassan however defended his commission saying none of the allegations were substantiated.
He explained that when the corruption and nepotism allegations emerged, he invited the then Kenya Anti Corruption Commission to investigate but the officials in the anti graft body were fired before completing their task.
A confident Hassan was also forced to defend his personality when the panellists told him that he had been accused of being too soft and complacent.
“I have been tried and tested even when things were very hard but I withstood the storm. Just because I consult my staff doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m doing and in the words of our Prime Minister, don’t mistake a lion that’s been rained on for a cat,” he quipped.
Hassan, who listed American President Barrack Obama as his role model, also noted that the most trying moment in his career so far had been during the referendum when the No-team stormed the Bomas of Kenya when they realised that they were losing.
He added that starting the IIEC from scratch, once the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya had been scrapped, was also a challenge for him.
Consolata Ngondi, Onsando Osiemo, Koki Muli and Murshid Mohammed appeared before the selection panel on Tuesday.
Anne Kariuki Wanja was the last candidate to be interviewed on Wednesday afternoon.
The panel will forward three names of the most suitable candidate to the President who in consultation with the Prime Minister will pick one whose name will be forwarded to Parliament for approval.