The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has withdrawn from the 2022 election preparedness team.
In a letter to Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati cited infringement on the Commission’s independence as the reason for pulling out of the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness and Technical Working Committee
“After consultations and in-depth critical appraisal of the TORs… the IEBC would wish to respectfully withdraw from further engagement in the activities of the said NMSCF and TWC,” the IEBC boss said.
The committee’s Terms of Reference (TOR), Chebukati said, have the net effect of “violating the Constitution by purporting to direct the commission on how to discharge its mandate contrary to Article 88 of the Constitution.”
He further argued that the committee assumed the role of other institutions notably, the Parliamentary Departmental Committees, particularly the Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) of the National Assembly.
Besides IEBC, the committee is comprised of Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome (Judiciary), Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (Treasury) CS Joe Mucheru (ICT), Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Philip Kameru – Director General National Intelligence Service (NIS), Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai (National Police Service).
Others include Anne Amadi (Chief Registrar of the Judiciary), Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, Martin Wambora (Chairman Council of Governors), Ezra Chiloba (Director General Communications Authority of Kenya), Ann Nderitu (Registrar of Political Parties).
Chebukati said the heavy involvement of the government institutions will, probably, erode public confidence in the electoral board, which has the mandate to conduct credible polls.
Chebukati’s move comes days after the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party protested the inclusion of Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Mucheru to the multi-agency team.
The party led by Deputy President William Ruto, who is eyeing the presidency in 2022, called for the removal of the CSs from the committee saying they had openly endorsed ODM leader Raila Odinga’s bid for the top seat.