President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a gazette notice dated April 14, 2021 has officially declared vacancies in the positions of four Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners. The commissioners left office during the last electioneering period.
The four former commissioners are
- Former Vice Chairperson Consolata Nkatha
- Former Commissioner Margaret Mwachanya
- Former Commissioner Paul Kurgat
- Former Commissioner Roselyn Akombe
The Notice stated in part, “IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by section 7A (2) of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act. 2011. I. Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, declare vacancies in the positions of four members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.”
Vice Chairperson Consolata Nkatha, commissioners Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat, resigned in a joint press conference at a Nairobi hotel on April 16, 2018 citing lack of confidence in the commission chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Roselyn Akombe, however, announced her resignation while abroad on October 18, 2017, barely a week to the presidential election re-run, saying the commission could not guarantee a credible election and that she felt unsafe serving at the IEBC.
This left IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and with only two commissioners
- Commissioner Boya Molu
- Commissioner Abdi Yakub Goliye
The IEBC Act establishes the commission comprising seven commissioners, including the chairman. The IEBC is not fully constituted despite the country staring at an imminent law reform referendum and the 2022 General Election.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Act 2016, requires that in short-listing, nominating or appointing persons as chairperson and members of the Commission, the two-thirds gender rule and regional balance is achieved.
All eyes are now on the President, who is expected to appoint a selection panel to oversee and run the interviews of shortlisted candidates eyeing the vacant IEBC positions.