NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has written to the Head of the Civil Service and Internal Security PS seeking an explanation over their alleged involvement in election campaigns.
IEBC chairman Issack Hassan said on Thursday that the request follows an official complaint received from the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) alleging that Francis Kimemia and PS Mutea Iringo were engaging in partisan campaigns.
“We received a letter from CORD (which) mentions Kimemia and Iringo and other officers in the Office of the President with specific dates when they are accused to have engaged in campaigns. We cannot condemn anybody unheard and so we have asked them to respond to these allegations,” said Hassan.
Hassan who spoke after a meeting with chairpersons of other constitutional commissions and holders of independent offices, made it clear that the IEBC was yet to receive complaints against Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi and Michael Gichangi of the National Security Intelligence Service.
He has warned civil servants participating in partisan campaigns that they will face the full force of elections regulations contained in the Elections Act.
“Under the Elections Act, public servants engaging in partisan campaigns are guilty of an offence and if convicted face six years in jail. It is the most serious offence by public servants as they use public resources and offices and so they should desist from engaging in campaigns,” he warned.
IEBC’s Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee led by Commissioner Mohammed Alawi will then sit after Kimemia and Iringo respond to evaluate the evidence and defence provided.
CORD leaders led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka are already demanding Kimemia’s resignation over claims that he has been using the provincial administration to campaign for their rivals.
“He has become a party activist. If someone wants to participate in politics he should quit,” said Odinga at the Wilson Airport early on Thursday.
Kimemia through Government Spokesman Muthui Kariuki denied allegations that he favours any political party and warned that any civil servant found engaging in partisan politics would be sacked.
Odinga and Musyoka also alleged that alleged threats against Chief Justice Willy Mutunga were part of a wider scheme by a section of the government to frustrate elections and reform.
Separately, the chairmen of constitutional commissions and holders of independent offices demanded that government restores confidence in the Judiciary by investigating and taking stern action against those intimidating judicial officers.
“The Constitution is clear on the independence of the Judiciary, Constitutional and Independent Offices. Constitutional Commissions and Independent Office holders are constitutionally protected and insulated from the direction or control of individuals or government departments,” said Otiende Amollo who chairs the Commission on Administration Justice (CAJ).
Amollo said that the chairpersons of Constitutional Commissions and independent office holders had written to Kimemia to withdraw the circular requiring them to be cleared before travelling.
“We hold a collective position that the directive was not well founded in law and would interfere with the functions of these institutions and offices,” added the CAJ chairman.