ODM now targets three IEBC officials
Party wants new commissioners to vet and remove Deputy Chief Executive Betty Nyabuto, Director of Voter Registration Immaculate Kassait and Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs Praxedes Tororey.
The IEBC saga isn’t over yet — ODM is stoking the fire with a new issue.
The party now demands vetting and removal of three IEBC officials, despite commissioners agreeing to leave only if the secretariat remained intact.
ODM chief Raila Odinga also has threatened to call massive demonstrations if the nine commissioners remain in office past Monday, October 10, however, that appears to be a non-starter. The commissioners will stay on until a new team takes over in late November. There’s been silence on the promised demos.
Now the opposition has revived demands that three staff members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission be vetted or removed for alleged misdeeds in the 2013 elections.
They are Betty Nyabuto, the Deputy Chief Executive; Immaculate Kassait, Director of Voter Registration; and Praxedes Tororey, Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs.
The allegations were first raised by Cord representatives appearing before the Joint Select Committee on electoral reform led by Senators Kiraitu Murungi and James Orengo. The committee made no findings or recommendations about the three.
ODM director of elections Junet Mohamed said his party wants the three replaced to clean up the IEBC.
“Getting the commissioners out was the first step. The next one is getting rid of the support staff that worked with the commissioners, because the overall integrity of next year’s election and its results can only be guaranteed if all the people who played a part [in 2013] are removed,” the Suna East MP told the Star on Friday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the IEBC seats vacant on Thursday following the resignation of nine commissioners on Wednesday. A selection panel to interview their replacements has been named. But it cannot be sworn in because nominated Chief Justice David Maraga is yet to be sworn in himself.
By law, only after the new commissioners are sworn can staff matters be dealt with.
When they agreed on August 3 that they would resign, the IEBC bosses set two conditions: that they not be investigated any further for alleged wrongdoing and that secretariat staff be retained for continuity in organising the polls on August 8 next year.
But ODM has prepared a memorandum regarding the three staff that it plans to present to the new commissioners.
The opposition party says Nyabuto chaired the Tender Committee which awarded a contract for transporting election materials to an unregistered
company at an exorbitant price. Nyabuto is also accused of engaging in irregular procurement of Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits from Sanfran Morpho of Canada by single-sourcing them at a cost of Sh6.2 billion.
When she appeared before the Parliament committee, Nyabuto, a former a CEO of the Law Society of Kenya, denied all the allegations and denied any wrongdoing.
“All the companies that were awarded by the Tender Committee were registered and all responsive bidders who met the preliminary stage requirements were subjected to a technical evaluation before moving to the financial evaluation stage,’’ she said.
Nyabuto dismissed the allegation that the tender was awarded at an exorbitant price. She said her committee made the award based on an evaluation report.
“The lowest evaluated bidders were awarded the tender,” she said.
ODM says Kassait was responsible for the principal voter’s register, which was delayed and faulty.
She is also accused of engaging in irregular procurement of the BVR kits.
In her defense, Kassait told the Parliament committee she was not responsible for processing and producing the voter register at the commission. She said the allegation that she played a role in procuring the BVR kits was unfounded because the EACC cleared her in its report to Parliament.
“The allegations are unfounded and should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve,” she said on August 20.
ODM wants Tororey to exit the commission for payment of legal fees to firms allegedly retained irregularly and under unclear circumstances. The party did not elaborate.
Torrey has said all legal payments were made in accordance with the law. She added that Treasury and the Auditor General carried out an audit that did not reveal adverse findings.
“I therefore find the allegations spurious, unfounded in law, lack merit and are borne out of malice aimed at harming my professional reputation,” she said.
Yesterday ODM leaders said they were not satisfied with the responses given by the three.
In its report, the Joint Select Committee recommended the new commissioners vet members of the secretariat and take appropriate actions according to the law.
“Articles 47 and 236 of the Constitution guarantee the right of the employees to fair administrative action and require that the due process of the law be followed where the dismissal, removal from office, demotion in rank or discipline of a public officer is proposed, respectively,” the report said.
Migori Govenor Okoth Obado, Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho arrive for an ODM rally in Kirembe Grounds, Kisumu, last Saturday