Union in court to block Chebukati staff changes

Mr Wafula Chebukati addresses the Press. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Mr Wafula Chebukati addresses the Press. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The fallout over the bungled August 8 polls deepened at the electoral agency on Thursday after union officials moved to court in a bid to block staff changes on the day that a memo purporting to detail electoral irregularities leaked to the media.

The Kenya Independent Commission Workers Union sued the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati seeking to bar him from excluding chief Ezra Chiloba and seven other senior staff members from conducting the October 17 repeat poll.

The union says in its court papers that before the Supreme Court releases a final copy of its judgment which called for a fresh presidential election, it will be impossible to know which staff members were responsible for the irregularities and illegalities that led to the invalidation of the August 8 race.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court however declined to issue a temporary order suspending Mr Chebukati’s reshuffling of the polls team.

The union said Mr Chebukati’s reshuffle was unfair as none of the sidelined employees has been found culpable of any wrongdoing by an IEBC probe or report.

Other senior staff left out of the poll re-run team are Mr Chiloba’s deputy Betty Nyabuto, Director of Voter Registration and Elections Operations Immaculate Kasait, Manager of Operations Mwaura Kamwati, Head of ICT James Muhati, Director of Training Anne Nderitu, and Head of Legal Praxedes Tororey.

“Without any investigations, report or findings of the IEBC on the said employees’ wrongful or illegal conduct, the IEBC’s contemplated action to restructure the secretariat is malicious and calculated to intimidate, humiliate and eventually hound them out of employment,” the lobby’s secretary general Njeru Kanyamba says.

Mr Chebukati on Tuesday appointed a six-member team to conduct the fresh presidential election.

The new team has Marjan Hussein Marjan (project coordinator), Sidney Namulungu (head of operations), Albert Gogo (ICT manager), Nancy Kariuki (head of logistics), Bernard Misati Moseti (head of training) and Salome Oyugi (head of legal).

The suit came as a document purporting to be an internal memo written by Mr Chebukati to Mr Chiloba emerged detailing failures in the botched August 8 presidential poll.

In the document, Mr Chebukati asked Mr Chiloba to explain why several results transmission forms lacked security features.

He also asked why several satellite phones were unused in areas without network coverage, and why telcos Telkom Kenya and Airtel were allocated regions in which only Safaricom #ticker:SCOM had network coverage.