NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – Leaders of the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) have expressed confidence in the newly appointed Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Officer who was named Monday night.
Led by Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula, the leaders say they hope Ezra Simiyu will transform the commission which has previously faced accusations of unfairness in managing elections as well as corruption allegations.
“A new CEO has been appointed, we certainly know that he has not eaten any chicken yet and we believe that he will be able to discharge his responsibilities in accordance with the law. We hope that he will be given an opportunity to settle down,” said Wetangula.
Simiyu takes over from James Oswago whose term at the commission ended.
The commission had suspended Oswago and three other senior IEBC officials in November 2013 over corruption charges in relation to the procurement of Electronic Voter Identification Devices used in the last General Election.
The suspension came three months before the expiry of his term.
Simiyu was picked from a shortlist of four candidates who include the commission’s acting CEO Beatrice Nyabuto, Dickson Omondi of the National Democratic Institute and Erastus Ethekon of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
He has been serving as the Deputy Team Leader for Drivers of Accountability and has previously served as Governance Analyst and Project Manager for UNDP Kenya.
At the same time, The CORD coalition has cast doubts on hopes for dialogue with the Jubilee Coalition accusing the government of non-cooperation.
Wetangula said the statements by some leaders of the Jubilee coalition refusing dialogue were pointers of their attitude, stating that dialogue was not a political gimmick as claimed by pundits but a forum to consult on how to solve the issues affecting Kenyans.
“Dialogue with jubilee has been predicated on the premise that we want certain issues in this country which are too important to be left to one coalition to be dealt with by all Kenyans, matters that can be addressed regardless of our position in politics ought to be done that way,” said Wetangula.
He took a swipe at those calling on them to drop their referendum bid in exchange for dialogue and urged the Jubilee members to approach the negotiation table with a sober mind.
“You do not go to talks with premeditated ideas or negotiate something from a fixed position, you are unlikely to get anywhere,” he added.
Wetangula was speaking at the Aga Khan hospital in Nairobi after visiting Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch who had been admitted at the facility after he collapsed at his Kisumu home last Saturday.
He was airlifted to Nairobi for specialised treatment and is due for discharge later Tuesday afternoon.
Wetangula was accompanied by fellow members of Parliament including Eseli Simiyu of Tongaren, Chris Wamalwa of Kiminini , Tim Wanyonyi of Westlands and Busia County Women Rep Florence Mutua, among others.