NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has challenged Senate Leader of Minority James Orengo to resign, if he truly believes the body is a criminal enterprise, even after overseeing his re-election.
This follows the Senator’s sentiments during a recent press conference, where he called for the disbandment of the current electoral body, after the intended referendum on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.
“It is an egg and chicken question. We may have to do with this IEBC for the purposes of the referendum, but in my view, this IEBC is a criminal enterprise, but because they are going to hold one single election, I think we can live with it,” Orengo said during a press conference at the Parliament buildings on Tuesday.
In a statement to newsrooms Wednesday evening, the IEBC termed the legislator’s remarks as disrespectful, while warning politicians against turning the poll agency into a punching bag as they debate the BBI report.
“If indeed, he (Orengo) stands by his sentiments he should honorably resign to gain moral grounds to criticize the institution that oversaw his election to the Senate,” reads the statement.
The Wafula Chebukati-led body said its in-tray was full as it readies for 2022 General Elections.
IEBC said it was already in the formative planning stages of the critical and emotive boundaries delimitation exercise expected to take place before the next election.
“Against popular belief, an election is not an event but rather a cycle, The Commission works round the clock to ensure it delivers on its constitutional mandate. Voter education, voter registration, and stakeholder mapping and engagement are continuous processes that IEBC undertakes to ensure electoral processes are transparent, participatory free and fair,” the Commission said in the statement.
The Commission said it has since started undertaking electoral legal reforms, putting in place frameworks for procurement of election materials, and general electoral logistics.
“In this regard, the Commission hopes to receive sufficient and timely funding to facilitate the smooth running of its programs and activities,” the said.
“Late and lumpsum funding results to inflated cost of goods and services, legal tussles and vendor wars, which delay as well as skyrocket the cost of elections in Kenya.”
Like other constitutional bodies, the law guarantees the security of tenure for removal of Commissioners from office or alternatively calls for the establishment of a tribunal to investigate their conduct while they can be simply persuaded to resign.
The Commission has had its fair share of challenges and currently has only three officeholders after the rest resigned after the 2017 elections amidst high tension.
Those who opted for an early leave include Vice Chairperson Nkatha Maina, Margaret Mwachanya, Paul Kurgat, and Roselyn Akombe.
Prof. Abdi Guliye, Boya Molu, and Chebukati have remained in office despite the sustained pressure to resign.
To remove a commissioner from office, the law indicates that one must have committed a serious violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct, physical or mental incapacity to perform functions of office, incompetence or bankruptcy.