Vocal IEBC Commissioner Dr.Roselyn Akombe has resigned.
Akombe resigned yesterday night while inspecting the printing of election ballot papers in dubai. Her resignation letter reads:
Press Statement by Dr. Roselyn Akombe
17 October 2017, New York
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 agonized 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 do 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.
It broke my heart in the last few days to listen to my staff in the field, 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 taken against the perpetrators.
I acknowledge that the Supreme Court gave us orders to organize 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.
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.
We need the Commission to be courageous and speak out, that this election as planned cannot
meet the basic expectations of a CREDIBLE election. Not when the 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 protestors and fear for
their lives. Not when senior Secretariat staff and Commissioners are serving partisan political
interests. Not when the Commission is saddled with endless legal cases in the courts, and losing
most of them. Not when legal advice is skewed to fit partisan political interests. The Commission
in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on 26 October 2017. I do no want
to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity.
Our people are resilient. Our people are patient. What we are faced today is a political crisis that
cannot be solved by the Commission alone. Let us solve the political crisis we have at hand and
then chart the way forward towards a credible presidential election. The lessons from 2007/8 are
too fresh, lest we forget.
God Bless Kenya.
Roselyn Akombe (PhD)