Intrigues that led to fresh advertisement of IEBC top job

Political pressure, fear of backlash from Kenyans and credibility questions raised against some of the five shortlisted candidates may have forced the IEBC selection panel to re-adverstise the position of chairman, X-News has learnt.

The Bernadette Musundi-led panel said they re-advertised the position on Friday last week following concerns about the suitability of those shortlisted after background checks.

“The information from memoranda from the public and some agencies raised pertinent issues and concerns regarding some of the applicants of their suitability for appointment to chairperson position,” Musundi told journalists yesterday.

But the decision has now thrown the whole electoral process in limbo with just nine months to next year’s polls.

It is believed that political pressure pushed the panel into their decision despite initially standing by their earlier shortlist.

Political analyst Martin Andati and constitutional lawyer Bob Mkangi held the view that owing to the fact that the process of selecting the new commissioners is a political process, it would have been left to the politicians from both political divide to handle it to avoid any mistrust.

Jubilee and Cord have been trading barbs with each accusing the other of trying to influence the decisions of the panel.

Nevertheless, Andati and Mkangi said the re-advertisement of the Chairperson position gives an opportunity for Kenyans to interrogate what may have happened in the run up to their shortlisting.

“Definitely the re-advertising renders an opportunity for Kenyans to ask questions whether somethings went wrong or they were ill prepared for the task,” Mkangi said in an interview.

He warned that political meandering in the selection panel may stall the whole process and even delay the elections.

Andati however argues there might have been ‘other interests’ that the shortlisted candidates did not meet prompting the re-advertisement.

“The Chairperson position is very sensitive to be given to just anyone, all factors including political interests must be taken into consideration,” he said.

Andati disclosed that with the re-advertisement, candidates like constitutional and Devolution expert Mutakha Kangu who seem to have some political inclination may miss the job.

Just yesterday, Deputy Minority leader and Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo sensationally claimed at the floor of the House that Jubilee coalition led by Majority Leader Aden Duale and Nominated MP Johnstone Sakaja were out to scatter the process by influencing the selecting panel.

Midiwo said that the two had rejected the five names shortlisted to be interviewed for the Chairperson position of the electoral body.

“Duale and his colleague Sakaja are on record opposing the five Kenyans shortlisted for IEBC chairperson. Reasons well known to them, they want to scatter the selection of the new commissioners and protect the outgoing commissioners who are clinging to office, doing irregular procurement of election materials in total disregard of the law,” Midiwo lamented.

In his rejection to the five names, Sakaja claimed last week the shortlisted candidates were not ‘convincing’ enough to inspire confidence in the polls team which has been riddled with controversy.

Those shortlisted were Mr David Mukii Mereka, Ms Roseline Odhiambo-Odede, Dr John Mutakha Kangu, Ms Margaret Wambui Ngugi Shava and Mr David Malakwen Kiprop.

“The only crime for a person like Mutakha Kangu did is that he comes from the Luhya ethnic community. Jubilee must tell Kenyans what is there interest in this matter,” Midiwo said in response to Sakaja’s sentiments.

Nevertheless, the government through its spokesperson Eric Kiraithe has said that panel selecting members of the electoral agency decided on its own to re-advertise the position of chairman.

“The government notes that the selection panel has acted with wisdom to forestall a situation where they end up with a candidate who will finally not win public confidence.” Kiraithe said in his weekly address to Kenyans at Serena hotel yesterday.

 

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