By Samuel Ndalusia
Wednesday ,October 18th,2017
Kenyans woke up to disturbing news on Wednesday, October 18 that the most vocal Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioner Roselyn Akombe had resigned just a week to the repeat presidential election. Dr Akombe had left the country on Tuesday for Dubai to inspect together with a team of observers, presidential candidates’ representatives and journalists the printing of ballot papers by Al-Ghurair. Akombe however rerouted to New York and sent home her letter of resignation expressing her concern about the poll body’s ability to conduct a credible election on October 26.
“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. It has become increasingly difficult to appear on television to defend positions I disagree with in the name of collective responsibility. I have concluded that I am no longer making any significant contribution to the commission and to my country as a Commissioner,” read Akombe’s letter sent from New York.
Dr Akombe had in another interview last month dismissed rumours that she was planning to resign stating that her focus was purely on a credible electoral process that would vindicate the commission. She stated then that: “When I signed up for this job, I knew what I was getting myself into. In the course of discharging my duties, I am cognizant of the fact that many will try to rattle me, but I have to do the right thing.”
“The Commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on 26 October 2017,” said Dr. Akombe in an interview with BBC Newsday programme on the day of her resignation from IEBC adding that she didn’t want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity.
On his part, the IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati while issuing a statement at Bomas of Kenya on the same day Commissioner Akombe resigned, confirmed that he cannot guarantee a credible election on October 26 since the commission is divided along partisan lines. He called upon staffs that have been adversely mentioned in bungling August 8 elections to step aside. Mr Chebukati also showed displeasure about how his decisions have always been challenged by the majority of commissioners, who throw out every proposal he makes towards ensuring a free, fair and credible elections. The embattled IEBC chairman however ruled out resigning from the poll body stating that he was determined to make things work and that he won’t go down as the Chairman who plunged the country into a deeper crisis.
“I cannot guarantee credible elections at the moment however this is possible if there is a dialogue between political parties for an agreement and also if commissioners work in harmony,” said Chebukati. On the possibility of his resignation he said, “I know many of you expected me to resign but I have a duty in front of me and will not allow individuals to burn Kenya. I appeal to key political parties to dialogue in the remaining days to enable us conduct a free, fair and credible election.”
The IEBC Chairman however confirmed that the commission is technically prepared to conduct the repeat elections next week.