The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) now lacks the quorum to make key decisions after three more commissioners resigned, increasing chaos at the electoral agency.
Vice-chairperson Connie Nkatha Maina, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat announced their exit citing lack of confidence in the IEBC.
The resignations leave only two commissioners — Abdi Yakub Guliye and Boya Molu — and chairman Wafula Chebukati. Last week the commission sent chief executive Ezra Chiloba on three months compulsory leave pending an audit on procurement matters.
Ms Maina, Ms Mwachanya and Mr Kurgat announced their exit citing lack of confidence in Mr Chebukati.
This has left the commission with three members, short of the five it requires for major decisions at the agency that is preparing to conduct a second review of constituency and ward boundaries ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Early this month, the High Court nullified last year’s legal changes which allowed a three-member quorum, returning the task of decision making to at least five commissioners.
Senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Enoch Wambua called for the resignation of the remaining IEBC commissioners even as Parliament summoned Mr Chebukati over the suspension of Mr Chiloba.
“They have opened the road for the remaining two commissioners and chairperson to resign so that Kenyans can start the process of reforming the IEBC,” Mr Wambua said at a Press conference in Parliament.
On Twitter, Mr Murkomen, the Senate Majority Leader, also gave Mr Chebukati and the two remaining commissioners a week to resign or face a tribunal.
The resignations are the latest in a cocktail of intrigues at the electoral agency which last year presided over the longest electioneering process in the history of Kenya’s politics.
Another commissioner, Roselyn Akombe, quit a week before the October 26 repeat presidential election saying she and her staff had been repeatedly threatened.
“The events relating to the purported vote (to suspend the CEO) have greatly shaken our already feeble confidence in the chair,” the three commissioners said in a statement.
Top lawyers have called for the overhaul of IEBC ahead of the 2022 General Election.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is supposed to announce a vacancy at the agency within seven days of receiving the commissioners’ resignation.
The Public Service Commission will have 14 days to publish the search for new commissioners, picked by a panel and approved by the president and MPS.
“This is the best time to reconstitute the IEBC and prepare it for the task ahead,” said former Law Society of Kenya President Eric Mutua.
“The resignations raise both moral and legal questions regarding the ability of the IEBC to continue discharging its functions,” Mr Mutua said .