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IEBC split as four commissioners offer to quit

Four electoral commissioners have offered to resign just as Parliament is getting ready for talks on the future of the commission after demands by Cord that all the nine top bosses be sent home ahead of the 2017 election.

Sources revealed that commissioners Yusuf Nzibo, Albert Bwire, Kule Galma Godana and Abdullahi Sharawe had written to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday this week declaring their readiness to quit.

The four said they wanted to avoid being dragged through the process initiated by Parliament to remove them from office. The letter was delivered to the Head of the Public Service, Mr Joseph Kinyua, on Wednesday.

Their decision has split the IEBC because the other five commissioners — including Chairman Issack Hassan — have resolved to stay put and adopt “a wait and see” position.

“It is true they wrote a letter on Tuesday. They don’t want further delays,” said a source at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Dr Nzibo and Mr Sharawe did not answer calls from the Daily Nation with the former returning a text message saying: “Sorry, I can’t talk right now”.


Besides Mr Hassan, the commissioners who have opted to stay are Vice Chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja, Mr Thomas Letangule, Mr Muthoni Wangai and Mr Mohamed Alawi Hussun.

On Thursday, a source in the Presidency said the resignation letter had not been received “and is not expected”. The source also said that a vacuum at IEBC “would be undesirable”.

Commissioners held a meeting on Monday where the issue of voluntary resignation was discussed at length. However, they failed to reach a unanimous decision.

“The four decided they no longer want to be the topic of political discussion,” said a source.

As part of their condition for resigning, the four have asked to be paid a cumulative sum of the salaries they would have earned had they served their entire term.

They also want to be paid gratuity for the work they have done and additional payment as compensation because they feel their reputations have been damaged.


In offering to leave office quietly, the commissioners believe they have served the country according to their oath of office and the Constitution and have made the decision in the interest of the country.

A source said commissioners were also afraid that the political temperatures could easily escalate to violence and destruction of property, with serious consequences to the economy.

They also said they would not want to see the country go back to a situation similar to the 2007/8 post-election violence.

Furthermore, the four are said to have argued that leaving early would give their successors adequate time to prepare for next year’s General Election. Their letter to the President emphasises that their decision was in good faith. They asked the President to consider their offer as a nationalistic gesture.

Those offering to quit also brought to the attention of the President that the Constitution dictated they could only be removed from office after being investigated by tribunals.

To them that could be a lengthy process, starting with petitions to Parliament and setting up individual tribunals to investigate each commissioner. The process, they reasoned, is bound to consume time and money and the commissioners would still be free to challenge the recommendations in court.