How MPs are scheming to save Chebukati following office vacation recommendation

The Kenya’s electoral agency continues to face problems, following the recent interrogations by the parliamentary committee over the expenditure of the funds meant for the past 2017 polls. After grilling the IEBC chaairman Wafula Chebukati and his other commissioners, a report by the Public Accounts Committee recommended they vacate office over a Sh9 billion procurement mess.

However, MPs are again scheming to save the commissioners.

On Thursday, the PAC report generated heated debate on whether it should be debated or not.

Those opposed to the report faulted the PAC for usurping powers it did not have. They opposed the recommendation to have the commissioners vacate office upon adopting the document.

They argued that the PAC is trying to use the backdoor to kick out IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye. But they said the law is very clear on the procedure for removing office holders from independent institutions.

On Thursday last week, Chebukati criticised the report and accused the PAC of ignoring IEBC’s submission while compiling its report.

Meanwhile, a section of MPs claimed there was a plot by ‘external forces’ to scuttle the report, thereby saving the commissioners who had been adversely mentioned.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi deferred the ruling on whether the report was properly before the House to this week.

Contributing on the floor of the House, Nyeri MP Ngunjiri Wambugu cited what he claimed was a concerted effort to kill the report and deny the House an opportunity to deliberate on its contents.

“This is worrying because it gives me the impression that there is a concerted effort in this House for us not to debate this report. We are not fools,” Wambugu said.

Majority whip Benjamin Washiali, speaking to Star yesterday, downplayed any external hands trying to save Chebukati, saying the report was opposed only on the grounds of procedure.

He said removal of a commissioner of an independent institution must be guided by Article 251 of the Constitution.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, who chairs the powerful oversight team, said he is not disturbed by the controversy the report has courted, adding he never expected those mentioned to take it lightly.

The oversight team said the continued existence of the commission as currently constituted is untenable even for one extra day.

 They proposed that Parliament spearheads reforms at the electoral body to pave way for fresh constitution of the agency.

Speaking to journalist moments after submitting IEBC recommendations to the Building Bridges Initiative Task Force at Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Chebukati said the PAC did not factor in their submissions, both oral and written, for debate this afternoon.

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