NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 19 – The search for four Commissioners at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) entered its third week on Monday with three candidates grilled for four vacant commissioner slots.
Professor Michael Lokuruka, Advocate Murshid Mohammed and current IEBC Manager in charge of Commission Services Naisiae Tobiko were interviewed by the IEBC Selection Panel chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Muli bringing the total number of candidates who have been interviewed thus far to 26.
Professor Lukuruka, serving as the Director of Research, Innovation and Extension at Karatina University, told the seven-member panel that his “enthusiasm, ability to go for results, passion and commitment” makes him to the most suitable candidate for the job.
“The IEBC has been ailing for sometime and I think I can be able to make a difference, I think I have the capability to be able to influence and influence positively and make a difference,” he said.
Lukuruku noted that his first order of business if approved will be to creating harmony between the staff and commissioners at the electoral body. He lamented that presently the Commission is dysfunctional.
The university don whose education specialty is in the areas of food science and food industry management noted that he will also use his expertise in the field of research to cure the issues of voter apathy during the election period.
“There is no reason as to why stakeholders cannot come together and form an agenda of looking at the issue of voter apathy,” he said.
The former Public Service Commissioner also said he would look for mechanisms to enable the electoral body to print its own ballot papers for elections as opposed to outsourcing them.
He said with adequate funds, the commission can be able to have the critical items produced locally.
“A ballot paper is just a paper and I think that it is possible that IEBC can establish its own capability to be able to do that. It is all about funds,” he said.
Advocate Mohammed said he was best suited to be Commissioner owing to his legal experience.
He said if given the job he will be able to use his expertise in law and governance to help the Commission perform its mandate better.
“What I bring to the table is proven work ethic and integrity. My experience in law and governance is wide and I will use that to my advantage to ensure the Commission is well run,” he said.
Mohammed who prides himself on being a team player noted that he will push for much-needed reforms that are geared towards instilling public confidence on the Commission.
“A lot of governance work needs to be done. I will strive to ensure that stakeholder engagement is widened,” he said.
Mohammed who has previously applied for the Commissioners’ post twice albeit unsuccessfully was hard pressed to explain why he applied for the same position at a time he was a Commissioner at the National Police Service Commission.
The panel had raised concerns that Mohammed appeared to be unreliable and in respect to serving his term to completion. He however disabused the notion insisting that his passion for the job would make him to serve as required.
“I am committed to serve and if appointed, I would complete my term,” he said.
On her part, Tobiko said she will use her communication skills to foster a good relationship between the public, stakeholders and the Commission if given the job.
She vowed to use her communication expertise to restore public confidence on the Commission.
“I have a blend of communication and diplomacy. In my opinion one of the things that lacks in my institution is communication. After 2010 our ratings have been going down and that is what I will cure,” she said.
Tobiko said time and again the Commission has been unable to project its voice despite the heavy criticism that it faces after conducting elections in the country.
“If we allow the public a glimpse of what we go through perhaps they will appreciate the challenge that we encounter and maybe not rollout the carpet for us but just encourage us,” she said.
The interviews scheduled to take a break on Tuesday will resume on Wednesday.