Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) manager for corporate communication Ms Tabitha Mutemi is set to lose her job as well as her place as a board member for the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).
According to the latest development, both the Ministry of ICT and IEBC have recommended action against Ms Mutemi for holding two public jobs against the law.
In a letter to the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Communication, Information and innovation, IEBC stated that Ms Mutemi had breached the code of conduct prescribed in the fourth schedule of the IEBC Act.
“The Fourth Schedule prohibits members and employees of the Commission from holding other public offices during their tenure of office with the Commission. The section clearly stipulates that a member or employee of the Commission shall not during the tenure of office be eligible for appointment to another public office,” said IEBC in written submissions by Obadiah Keitany.
Keitany who submitted on behalf of the CEO Wafula Chebukati said that the commission was not consulted when Ms Mutemi was appointed as a board member for MCK, promising to take action against her.
“The Commission will undertake action at an appropriate time in accordance with the IEBC Act 2011 and its Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual as was communicated to the Chairman. Media Council of Kenya,” added Keitany.
On the other hand, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru told the committee that Ms Mutemi’s appointment was not legal, hence the ministry “supported her removal”.
“In the circumstances, I submit that Ms Mutemi’s appointment to the Media Council is untenable in law and supports the Petition for her removal from office,” said Mucheru.
Mucheru said that at the time of her appointment, he was unaware of the employment status of Ms Mutemi with the IEBC.
“Once seized of this information, the Ministry requested and received an advisory opinion from the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice dated 18th August 2020 confirming that Ms Mutemi’s appointment to the Media Council was not supported by law,” added Mucheru.
On January 11, 2021, MCK CEO David Omwoyo wrote to the board chairman Maina Muiruri, saying that he does not recognise Ms Mutemi as a legitimate board member.
“The secretariat will no longer recognise Ms Mutemi as a board member of the Media Council of Kenya with immediate effect,” the letter copied to Ms Mutemi and ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, reads.
In a letter dated September 16, 2020 by PS Esther Koimett, Ms Mutemi was invited to make an election on whether to continue serving as either a council member of the MCK or as an employee of the IEBC.
“In the circumstances, it is dear that you cannot hold the position of an independent Council Member of the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) while still in gainful employment under the IEBC. Accordingly, kindly confirm by 30th September 2020, whether you prefer to continue to serve as a Council Member of MCK or as an employee of IEBC,” wrote Koimett.
She has however remained adamant, wanting to hold the two positions concurrently.
Ms Mutemi could lose both jobs if both the Ministry and IEBC make good their threats.