Kenya: Akombe Resigns, Casts Doubt on Poll

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roselyn akombe

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s Roselyn Akombe has resigned from the election agency. Akombe cited several reasons that were summarized in a statement from New York, where she worked for the United Nations before she took the job at the electoral commission.

“For many months now, I have questioned my role as a commissioner at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. But I have soldiered on hoping that we could collectively find a way of addressing the crisis our country faces today.

“I have agonised over the decision to leave my committed IEBC FIELD staff and my country. My decision to leave the IEBC will disappoint some of you, but it is not for lack of trying. I have tried the best I could, given the circumstances. Sometimes, you walk away, especially when potentially lives are at stake. The commission has become a party to the current crisis. The commission is under siege.

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. It has become increasingly difficult to appear on television to defend positions I disagree with in the name of collective responsibility. I have concluded that I am no longer making any significant contribution to the Commission and to my country as a Commissioner, she said.

Continuing, Ms Akombe maintained that, “It broke my heart in the last few days to listen to my staff in the field, the majority of whom truly want to do the right thing, express to me their safety and security concerns. I shared detailed reports from staff in four of the Counties most hit by the ongoing protests – Nairobi, Siaya, Kisumu, and Homa Bay – with the hope that this will bring sobriety to our decision making. Instead, this was met with more extremist responses from most Commissioners, who are keen to have an election even if it is at the cost of the lives of our staff and voters. It is unacceptable for any party to disrupt, attack and injure our staff in Mumias, Bungoma, Homabay, Siaya, and Kisumu as they did today. These acts must be condemned by all and action were taken against the perpetrators.”

She also added that “that the Supreme Court gave us orders to organise the presidential election within 60 days. The current political conditions did not exist on the 1st of September when the order was issued. It would, therefore, have been logical for the Commission to be frank with the Kenyan people and clearly state the challenges we face in organizing a free, fair, and credible election.”

The Kenyan Supreme Court nullified the recently held Presidential election and called for rerun within the next 60 days. The leading opposition candidate, Raila Odinga withdrew from the rerun election, requesting for electoral reforms before elections can take place. In his words, “no reforms, no election.”