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IEBC commissioners unable to explain their current daily duties

15 September 2015, 09:28 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The electoral body commissioners failed to explain their duties at the commission to a parliamentary committee despite being full-time public servant employees.

Two commissioners of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) grilled by the National Assembly Public Accounts committee (PAC) hardly gave a breakdown of their duties at the commission after conducting the 2013 general elections although they receive salaries from the taxpayers.  

The commissioners, Albert Bwire and Muthoni Wangai, despite insisting that they have a lot of daily work such as voter registration and acting on a pile of files at the IEBC, did not convince PAC members who maintained that they had no work.

For instance, although the commissioners said the voter registration exercise has been ongoing in the country since 2013, they failed to inform the committee on the current total number of newly registered voters after being asked.

“In your worksheet, what do you do on a daily basis from the time you go to the office at 8am to 5pm because you are earning from the taxpayers’ money? The Parliament is considering reducing the number of commissioners and we need to know what you do,” posed Gumbo.

Read Also: Lawyers offered ICC witnesses KES 5 million to abandon Ruto trial

Gumbo proposed that the current number of nine IEBC commissioners should be reduced to three and employed on part-time basis because after conducting the elections, they have little work to do yet they are paid huge amounts of money.

“I am in charge of the Eastern Province and given the financial constraints, I rely on reports received from the regional coordination officer. I have workload to handle at the commission,” argued commissioner Bwire, who worked as chair of IEBC Finance committee during the 2013 election.

Commissioner Wangai faulted the committee’s interrogation on her daily duties saying the question intimidating on grounds that the Constitution does not provide separation of powers between IEBC Secretariat and the Commission.

“It is unfair to question my duties at the commission. Our first mandate is the voter registration and this is a continuous process. Besides, we do not have a lot of liberty in our mandate as per the law,” argued Wangai, who served as chairperson of IEBC Risk and Compliance committee during the 2013 elections.

The National assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi in June, 2015 recommended the reduction of IEBC commissioners from nine to three to cut government expenditures in an effort to address the looming wage bill.

Muturi had noted that the Constitution requires independent commissions to have a minimum of three commissioners instead of the current nine.

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