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Set up inquiry on 2017 poll and I will fly back to testify, Akombe says

Former IEBC Commissioner Akombe, IEBC. Photo/CFM-FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner Roselyne Akombe now says she is ready to testify on what transpired in the 2017 polls.

Akombe, who is currently working with the United Nations, made the declaration on her Twitter handle where she claimed she had recommended for the formation of an independent inquiry to look into the contentious presidential polls whose first tally were nullified by the Supreme Court over irregularities before a repeat was ordered.

“Thank you for starting this excellent debate. You may be aware that I delivered my end of assignment report to @IEBCKenya. Among other topics, I called for an independent inquiry to the 2017 election. I am ready to testify under oath. Do your part. Get it set up, I will fly back,” she wrote.

Akombe resigned from her job days to the October 2017 Presidential Repeat Election and fled to New York after claiming she felt unsafe, and that, as then constituted, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) could not hold a credible election on October 26.

The former IEBC Commissioner was responding to a tweet that sought to know why she had failed to expose what she had claimed transired especially after the Commission was accused of bungling the polls.

The Commission, which has been embroiled in wrangles since the lead-up to the August 8, 2017 elections, has become dysfunctional after three other Commissioners including the vice-chairperson resigned citing fruatrations from Chairman Wafula Chebukati and his leadership.

In a 2017 interview with the BBC while in New York, Akombe had defended Chebukati saying he was a man ‘under siege’.

“Chairman Chebukati is a very well-meaning person. He has a temperament to be able to be a leader, but he is a leader under a siege,” she said.

In her resignation statement, Akombe blamed last-minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results, the attacks on IEBC staff and rushed training due to fear.

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“It has become increasingly difficult to continue attending plenary meetings where commissioners come ready to vote along partisan lines and not to discuss the merit of issues before them,” she said.

“It has become increasingly difficult to appear on television to defend positions I disagree with in the name of collective responsibility,” she said, “I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity.”

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