A protracted fight involving five tenders related to the last General Election has been linked to the sending of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive Ezra Chiloba on a compulsory leave last week.
In a suit filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court on Thursday against the decision to send him on compulsory leave, Mr Chiloba pointed an accusing finger at IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati for allegedly orchestrating his removal from his position.
Even though he sued Mr Chebukati and commissioners Consolata Maina, Abdi Guliye, Boya Mulu, Margaret Mwachany, Paul Kurgat and the IEBC, he argued that it all boils down to his differences with the chairman.
In his sworn affidavit, Mr Chiloba claimed that the two have had differences on issues such as assignment of duties to the IEBC staff, procurement of polling kits and ballot papers besides the two polls conducted last year.
“I have all along enjoyed excellent working relations with both the staff of the commission and the commissioners...until around April 2017 when differences of opinion began to emerge between the secretariat, the chairman and some commissioners,” he said.
He cited five tenders for the August 8 General Election and the repeat presidential poll on October 26, as a source of the alleged ‘bad blood' between the two.
The tenders include the provision of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) by OT Morpho, the supply of satellite phones for the Results Transmission System, the servers by IBM to host the Biometric Voter Register, the hosting of the KIEMS database and the provision of communication services by Scanad.
The KIEMS contract was worth $23.8 million (Sh2.4 billion), the one for the database $2.7 million (Sh270 million) and Sh350 million for communication services. The cost for the satellite phones with Airtel and the IBM servers were not established.
According to Mr Chiloba, Prof Guliye had hinted to him while he was on leave last December that Mr Chebukati was “determined to get him out”.
He says the commissioner advised him to extend his leave as the matter was sorted but he declined and resumed work on January 6.
“I am further aggrieved by the impugned decision because it has created the erroneous impression that I am the subject of investigations or that my conduct as chief accounting officer in the procurement of material during the 2017 general and fresh presidential elections, either expressly or by implication and/or by way of innuendo,” he said.