Why electoral agency sent Chiloba packing

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba has been suspended over alleged procurement irregularities related to the October 26, 2017 repeat presidential election.

Sources within the commission said that although the entire 2017 election had various expenditure issues, the main problem was the repeat presidential election in which Chiloba is accused of ignoring procurement laws.

According to the sources who did not want to be named, procurement laws were overlooked in the acquisition of ballot papers and other election materials worth billions of shillings.

Chiloba, said the source, was hounded out of office for failing to provide convincing answers on why procurement requirements were not adhered to. Leaked memos “The main issue is the procurement of election materials,” the source told People Daily.

The decision to suspend Chiloba by IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati has, however, divided the commission with vice chair Consolata Maina and commissioner Paul Kurgat said to have opposed the decision which was made on Saturday during the commission’s meeting.

Chebukati, commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Mulu are said to have proposed the suspension in a bid to clear the commission’s name.

Chebukati has not been in good terms with Chiloba since the Supreme Court annulled the August 8, 2017 presidential election with their differences spilling to the open through leaked memos.

In one memo, Chebukati demanded answers from Chiloba on the irregularities that lead to nullification of the election. In another, Chebukati instructed Chiloba to suspend three officials accused of having messed up the August 8 poll but the directive was ignored.

Because of pressure from Chebukati and the opposition Nasa, Chiloba was eventually forced to go on leave ahead of the repeat election but resumed duty early this year.

The new development comes days after Chiloba appeared before a parliamentary committee over procurement queries related to the 2013 General Election.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Opiyo Wandayi grilled Chiloba and other members of staff following audit queries raised by Auditor General Edward Ouko.

Former IEBC chairperson Issack Hassan, former Chief Executive James Oswago and two other former senior officials, who were in charge during the 2013 election, have been summoned by the committee to appear before it on April 16 to explain the irregularities.

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