Chebukati drops Chiloba in new election project team
Electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati has had his way in constituting a team of senior officials making preparations for the repeat presidential election set for October 26.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive Ezra Chiloba, whom the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) wanted removed, will not have a direct hand in the poll.
Mr Chiloba’s name and those of other senior staff are missing from the list of seven individuals Mr Chebukati unveiled on Friday, even as he moved to consolidate his position at the helm of the sharply divided commission.
Mr Chebukati had unveiled the team a few days after the Supreme Court annulled the outcome of the August 8 presidential poll.
However, it was rejected by the Jubilee Party, accusing the officials of being partisan.
“After the publication of the names of your election project team, we have received credible information that on the list are people known to be partisan,” a letter from the Jubilee Party to the IEBC, dated September 6, says.
On Friday, Mr Chebukati said the team will be in charge of the election and declared that those whose names do not appear on the list should consider themselves surplus to the requirement for the poll.
“I have unveiled the team today and those officials not on the list will not take part in the preparations for the October 26 election,” he told the media when he launched the training of returning officers and their deputies as part of preparations for the poll.
The Nation learnt that Mr Chebukati had succeeded in convincing the full plenary of commissioners to accept and endorse the project team that will be answerable to the Presidential Election Steering Committee, comprising all the six commissioners and the chairman.
Mr Marjan Hussein will head the team while Mr David Towett will be in charge of operations.
Mr Albert Gogo will be responsible for election technology while Dr Sidney Namulungu will be in charge of tallying centres.
Ms Tabitha Mutemi will take care of communication and outreach while Ms Agatha Wahome will be in charge of finance, procurement and administration.
Ms Salome Oyugi will be in charge of legal affairs and compliance.
Mr Silas Rotich, Mr Ben Misati and Ms Nancy Kariuki, who were on the initial list, are not in the team.
Mr Rotich had been designated the head of the national tallying centre; Mr Misati, the head of training; while Ms Kariuki had been named the head of logistics.
Pushed aside along with Mr Chiloba is his deputy, Ms Betty Nyabuto; director of voter registration and election operations Immaculate Kasait; Ms Mwaura Kamwati, the manager of operations; and head of ICT James Muhati.
In one of the leaked memos, Mr Chebukati ordered Mr Chiloba to suspend Mr Muhati on claims that he had refused to hand over crucial information during the voter register audit.
Mr Chebukati said the training of returning officers will focus on the legal framework governing election management, operation of the poll management equipment, polling procedures, filing of statutory documents, particularly the polling station diary.
“With this intensive training, election officials will be equipped with adequate skills, knowledge and attitude to deliver a free, fair and credible election,” he said.