Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
The woes bedevilling Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati deepened yesterday after two former commissioners accused him of solely micromanaging procurement processes in the electoral agency.
Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat claimed Chebukati forced them to perform an illegality, as they had to approve procurement of tenders worth billions of shillings yet this was a function of the secretariat.
The duo claimed Chebukati even formed a procurement and finance team, comprising them as well as former vice chairperson Connie Maina, whose main purpose was to approve all procurements yet the law is clear on who is to procure equipment for the commission.
Appearing before the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, the two commissioners further accused Chebukati of poor management as he never consulted other commissioners on matters touching on the commission.
According to them so grave were matters at the commission that they contemplated resigning before last year’s General Election but decided to stay put for the sake of the country.
“I wanted to resign back then but I did not do that because of the election. I did not want to put the lives of 40 million Kenyans at stake,” said Kurgat.
Kurgat, who had appeared first before the commitee, claimed that as commissioners, they were even forced to vote on some of the procurement orders just to comply with Chebukati’s orders.
In addition, he also explained that his reasons for resigning from IEBC was that Chebukati poor management style as he ordered for a special audit of only the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) department at the expense of nine other departments.
According to him, his attempts and suggestions to Chebukati to have the other departments audited were futile as he insisted that former Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba, who was indicted by the report, had to leave.
He also claimed that at a plenary session, Chebukati surprised other commissioners when he insisted that Chiloba had to be sacked yet he was not given an opportunity to defend himself.
Chebukati, he said, tabled the audit report, which he commissioned without the involvement of other commissioners and insisted that it must be complied with.