Why IEBC commissioner Akombe is living in fear
The 34-year-old man, who we are not naming for security reasons, his wife and three children left the country through the Namanga border point on September 5 following sustained threats on his life by unknown persons in what is turning out to be a wider plot to intimidate commissioners, especially those perceived not to tow the “official line.”
“He left the country last week when the threats became too much,” Ms Akombe confided in the Nation in an exclusive interview.
Without pointing fingers at anybody, Dr Akombe maintained the threats directed at her brother were intended to intimidate her.
“He is a man who loves this country and had always resisted our attempts to get him something to do abroad. I feel responsible for it. It feels bad but what can you do about it?” a distraught Akombe said.
The Nation learnt that the man, who worked in one of the government ministries, deliberately avoided going through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for security reasons and instead travelled to Namanga by road, before crossing the border to neighbouring Tanzania.
He eventually landed in his host country eight days later, after passing through five countries.
Dr Akombe opened up on her own fears, saying never before has she felt so insecure.
“I have been to Somalia, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq and even Libya for security assessment missions but on a personal basis I have never felt this insecure,” she said without elaborating.
She was referring to her tour of duty in those countries when she served in the Department of Political Affairs of the UN where she was an Under-Secretary before taking leave to take up the IEBC job early this year.
Asked whether she had reported the threats on her and her brother to the police, Dr Akombe answered in the negative but did not give reasons.
On Saturday, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet told the Nation that he was not aware of the incident.
“I don’t know anything about what you have just told me. Nothing at all,” he said.
Just one week after the August 8 polls, Dr Akombe was detained overnight at the JKIA by security officers on grounds she did not have prior clearance from the head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to leave the country.
It took the personal intervention of US ambassador Robert Godec to have Ms Akombe released and allowed to proceed with her journey to the United States.
The latest incident comes against reports that the security of top IEBC officials has been beefed up following threats directed at them and, in some cases, their family members and close relatives.
Days before he was murdered barely a week to the August 8 election, IEBC ICT manager Chris Msando had complained about threats to his life.
Police chief Boinnet later went on record to assure that all IEBC staff would have their security enhanced. He was responding to an appeal by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati that the government protects them.
nterviews with various staffers at the polls body, especially commissioners, revealed a number of them had been threatened in one way or the other over the last two months.
The threats, the Nation learnt, have been in the form of text messages and calls from unknown persons.