EDITORIAL: IEBC leadership vacuum must be fixed urgently

Paul Kurgat, Margaret Mwachanya and Consolata Maina,
Paul Kurgat, Margaret Mwachanya and Consolata Maina have resigned as IEBC commissioners, saying they had lost confidence in the commission’s chair, Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO | NMG 

Monday’s resignation of three top Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials may not have come as a surprise to many.

The commissioners have, since their appointment two years ago, disagreed openly, much to the chagrin of the public.

Ultimately, the tale of a divided Commission became reality after the vice chairperson Connie Nkatha Maina, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat announced their exit, claiming continued leakage of confidential information by chairman Wafula Chebukati.

While the resignations effectively paralyse the IEBC – which requires at least five commissioners to make key decisions, Kenyans are calm because elections are behind us.
Yet we have no room for complacency. The IEBC is too crucial a body to be plunged into such a leadership vacuum.

There are a number of pending by-elections that must be conducted to guarantee fair political representation to all Kenyans.

Kenya is also ripe for boundary review ahead of the next polls and with border conflicts already claiming lives, citizens ought to have confidence in the body charged with delineation.

That’s why the IEBC must be urgently fixed.  First, the content of the internal audit that informed Mr Chebukati’s decision to suspend chief executive Ezra Chiloba must be made public.

Second,  men and women of integrity should be invited to fill the vacant positions at both the secretariat and the commission levels. This must start early.

Hiring commissioners at this time of tranquility will make it easy for the agency to avoid individuals who are beholden to sectarian political interests.

Article 10 of the Constitution, for instance, calls for participation of the public, inclusiveness, non-discrimination, integrity, transparency when hiring.