Roselyn Akombe resigns from poll agency

Wednesday October 18 2017

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Commissioner Roselyn Akombe has resigned from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Dr Akombe announced her resignation on Wednesday in a statement sent from New York, where she was based as she worked for the UN before she took the IEBC job.

In the statement, Dr Akombe said the October 26 repeat election as planned cannot meet the basic expectations of credibility and fairness.

INTEGRITY

"The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on October 26. I do no want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity," she said.

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday morning , Dr Akombe said she went to New York after fearing for her life.

She revealed that IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati is under siege.

She cited Tuesday attacks on IEBC staff as they trained in Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay, saying the environment under which the repeat is set be held has been poisoned.

She said it is unacceptable for any party to disrupt, attack IEBC staff, adding that such acts must be condemned and action taken against perpetrators.

TRAINING

"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," she said.

"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," she said.

She was supposed to be part of a team that is in Dubai to monitor the printing of ballot papers by Al Ghurair.

Dr Akombe toured Nyanza and the Western region last week as the commission worked to train officers to handle elections.

That Dr Akombe was going to flee Kenya for the US was a matter of wait-and-see.

POLICE

On August 16, she was ordered out of a plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport while she was on her way to New York.

IEBC, however, downplayed the incident, terming it a “delay”.

“Dr Akombe who is traveling to US for an official meeting. Was delayed at JKIA by officials who have since apologised. She returns on Sunday,” the commission said.

Sources, however, told the Nation that some State operatives feared that Dr Akombe, who reportedly holds both Kenyan and US passports, was fleeing Kenya.

“She was prevented from boarding. She was going to New York. Still at the airport,” a source at JKIA told the Nation.

Reports indicate that it took the intervention of diplomats for her to be released from police custody and transferred to government pavilion at JKIA.