Kenya senior polls commissioner resigns, flees to New York as political crisis holds

Dr. Roselyn Akombe quit the electoral body Tuesday accusing the commission of political patronage. File Photo: courtesy

A senior electoral official in Kenya has resigned noting the elections body was compromised and could  not be counted to deliver credible elections set for 26th of this month further deepening the political crisis in the East African nation.

Dr. Roselyn Akombe cited many challenges facing the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and warned the electoral body has itself become part of the political crisis.

“The Commission has become a party to the current crisis. The Commission is under siege,” said Akombe in a statement she filed from New York after fleeing the country.

Dr. Akombe, a senior UN staffer who took leaf to work with IEBC had gone to inspect the printing of the ballot papers in Dubai but detoured and fled to the US where she is said to be a citizen.

IEBC set the repeat poll for October 26 in compliance with the country’s Supreme Court order which annulled the presidential results for the August 8 poll and called for a fresh poll within 60 days in line with the Constitution. Front runner, Raila Odinga who had contested the poll has since dropped out of the race and maintained no elections will take place.

Dr. Akombe who has been a focal defender of the Commission said her voice and expertise could no longer add value to the polls body as commissioners were making decisions based on political leanings.

“It has become increasingly difficult to continue attending plenary meetings where Commissioners come ready to vote along partisan lines and not to discuss the merit of issues before them.”

The electoral commissioner asked fellow commissioners to come out and tell the public the October 26 exercise is not viable given the prevailing circumstances.

“It is critical that all political actors and the Commission take a pause to review where we are leading this country. It is not too late to save our country from this crisis. We need just a few men and women of integrity to stand up and say that we cannot proceed with the election on 26 October 2017 as currently planned.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his erstwhile political opponent Odinga have been at loggerheads over the political crisis despite local and international pressure for the two to hold talks to forestall further crisis.

Dr. Akombe also cited lack of preparedness within the Commission noting ‘staff are getting last minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results.’

“Not when in parts of country, the training of presiding officers is being rushed for fear of attacks from protestors. Not when Commissioners and staff are intimidated by political actors and protesters and fear for their lives.”


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