IEBC crisis deepens as Chiloba aides forced to take leave
The feud at the IEBC worsened on Friday after five staff attached to CEO Ezra Chiloba were forced to take leave.
Sources told the Star that Chiloba’s two personal assistants, two secretaries, and an office assistant were all prevailed upon to take leave.
They said Chairman Wafula Chebukati was apprehensive that they could be a conduit for passing information to their boss who was sent on compulsory leave three weeks ago.
The chairman did not respond to inquiries by the time of going to press last evening but an aide, who answered his phone, said he was in a meeting.
Reached for comment, Chiloba said the action reeked of with-chunt.
“Why would anyone take differences between me and the commission to staff or the secretariat?” he asked.
There are reports the staff “were asked to take leave since their boss is away and there is now work they are doing.”
Some of the affected staff had pending leave days, which they opted to take so as to ease the tension that has gripped the office since the departure of their boss.
Hussein Marjan, the deputy CEO who has taken charge of secretariat operations, has his own office staff.
He did not return calls but Communications manager Andrew Limo confirmed some staff had gone on leave.
Tension and anxiety has gripped the commission since the sudden resignation of three commissioners on April 16.
The three, former Vice Chair Consolata Nkatha, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat, left in protest of Chiloba’s suspension.
Another source said the three have formally submitted their resignation to the President, who is the appointing authority.
It is understood that the Presidency has delayed acknowledging the resignations as doing so would trigger their replacement process yet there is no legal framework.
The Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly last week said it had commenced steps to put in place a mechanism for streamlining the commission.
This came amid division over the fate of the remaining three commissioners who fall short of the quorum required to transact any serious business.
Earlier this week, Chebukati said he was yet to receive the resignation letters from the three.
He wrote to the National Treasury to inform the paymaster of their absence from work.
Simultaneously, activist Okiya Omtatah filed a suit at the High Court midweek seeking a declaration that the commissioners who quit had ceased holding office.
He says, in the case which is almost verbatim what the commission chairman had written to Treasury, that the three should not be entitled to the attendant benefits and privileges forthwith.
Omtatah wants the former commissioners ordered to return all IEBC property and desist from presenting themselves as commissioners.
There are indications the government is likely to intervene in the row at the electoral body with swift measures to restore order.