NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati on Friday reaffirmed his stand that he will not give in to calls for his resignation amid a fall out in the poll agency.
In his first public appearance since the resignation of three commissioners on Monday, Chebukati said he is prepared to leave office but only if a tribunal set up according to the Constitution indicts of misconduct.
“If anybody feels that he has an issue with the IEBC the law is very clear on the removal of the commission. They are at liberty to take that route. The appointing authority will have to do that,” he said.
He has dismissed allegations that the decision to send CEO Ezra Chiloba on a 3-month compulsory leave was taken unprocedurally.
The IEBC Chairman said the decision was taken by a majority vote precipitated by an internal audit that exposed irregularities in five election tenders.
“There is absolutely no personal vendetta, witch-hunt, bias, tender-wars as sensationalised by the media. The main issue is whether public resources were utilised prudently and in accordance with the law. Everything else you are hearing is a distraction.”
The IEBC Chairman once again asserted the action is nothing out of the ordinary.
“The Commission has previously sent officers on compulsory leave in order to facilitate independent audits into various issues as may have arisen from time to time, including the ICT Director and Acting Supplies Chain Management Director who resumed work upon conclusion of an audit which did not find them culpable on the issues then under investigation.”
He said issues under probe include that of accountability on some issues that arose in last year’s elections expenditures.
Chebukati expressed his surprise that a Commissioner – who reportedly resigned on Monday – opposed the audit and accountability on procurement and finance, yet she chaired the Commission’s Finance and Procurement Committee which ought to have been at the forefront of asserting accountability.
Friday’s media briefing comes in the backdrop of calls for him and Commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu to resign by a section of the political class.
“I have diligently provided leadership when my board and Commission came under sharp scrutiny. Discrediting my name and that of my Commissioners is in bad taste and perpetuates an ill agenda that can only undermine the independence of a critical institution in our Country’s democracy,” Chebukati stated.
The Chairman termed claims by the Commissioners who are reported to have resigned are misleading and have no legal basis.
“Blaming the Chair and the two Commissioners in office for a lost motion or for an adoption of a resolution to undertake a financial audit is insincere and unfortunate. The undue pressure, unwarranted, nasty mudslinging and unlawful attacks on the Chairman, Commissioners and the Commission should cease. It is unfair to the Commission, their families and their acquaintances,” he said.
Chebukati currently lacks the five-member quorum required for binding plenary resolutions following the exit of Vice Chairperson Consolata Nkatha and Commissioners Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya.