Kenyan Electoral Officials Resign, Citing Lack of Leadership

(Bloomberg) -- Three Kenyan electoral authority officials resigned, accusing the head of the agency of failing to provide leadership during last year’s disputed presidential elections.

The resignations mark the culmination of months of infighting at the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission, which the country’s main opposition party accused of bias in its handling of the two votes. Roselyn Akombe, one of the IEBC’s seven commissioners, quit in October before a rerun of an annulled August election, saying the body was unable to conduct a credible ballot.

Commissioners Paul Kurgat, Margaret Wanjala and Connie Nkatha Maina announced their resignations on Monday. Their departure leaves the body without a quorum, with only Chairman Wafula Chebukati, Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu remaining.

“We’ve reached a point where we see there’s no leadership at the IEBC,” Wanjala told reporters in the capital, Nairobi. “For far too long and way too many times, the commission chair has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and give directions when needed.”

Chebukati said on Twitter he was yet to receive a formal notice from the three.

CEO Suspended

The resignations follow last week’s suspension of Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba for three months over procurement issues. The three remaining commissioners must resign within the next seven days or the ruling Jubilee Party will form a tribunal to investigate them, Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen said on his Twitter account.

“It’s a fight over control of the secretariat,” constitutional lawyer Charles Kanjama said by phone. “It has been done to cripple the IEBC.”

Kenya repeated its Aug. 8 presidential election after the Supreme Court said the vote wasn’t conducted in line with the constitution and the IEBC’s systems were “infiltrated and compromised.” Opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew from the rerun on Oct. 10, saying the commission failed to agree to reforms including changes to its staff and systems to ensure a credible vote.

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