Ezra Chiloba was at odds with IEBC commissioners

Wednesday March 18 2020

IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee to respond to audit queries. Mr Chiloba has said his relationship with the commissioners started deteriorating in April last year. PHOTO | FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


The filing of a case at the Industrial Court by electoral agency CEO Ezra Chiloba, questioning a decision to send him on compulsory leave has exposed the extent of infighting in the commission.

Much of the infighting is linked to tenders and the management of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

At the centre of the decision to send Mr Chiloba on leave  for three months, were questions about the procurement of five tenders for the August General Election and the repeat presidential election in October 26.

The tenders were for provision of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) by OT Morpho, provision of satellite phones as part of the Results Transmission System, provision of servers by IBM to host the biometric voter register, the hosting of the Kiems database and provision of communication services by Scanad.


These contracts are now the subject of an audit by the Office of the Auditor-General.


But according to Mr Chiloba, there was more to it than that and although the chairman is yet to file his response to the case, the documents attached to the application reveal more details. Mr Chiloba says in his affidavit that the relationship between him and the commissioners began to deteriorate in April 2017, four months after they had taken office.

He raised the matter in a letter to Mr Chebukati on April 27.

“I have observed on several occasions that some commissioners directly issue instructions to members of the secretariat without my knowledge. This has placed staff in a very awkward position in terms of reporting lines,” said Mr Chiloba.


He said the interference would make it difficult for him to report to the commission on policies that ought to be implemented.

There had been issues in the transfer of staff in Marsabit, said the CEO, and he had sought the help of Mr Boya Molu, a commissioner. “The commissioner was very particular on whom he wanted taken to those areas. We took his concerns into consideration, but yesterday evening, it became evident that commissioner Molu had prepared a separate list of transfers which he had handed over a while back,” said Mr Chiloba.

After analysing the list, the CEO said, he realised it had been prepared much earlier than the time when the recruitment of the county election managers took place and targeted about 50 staff.

“I wish to point out that immediately after the recruitment of county election  managers, a criteria of staff movement was prepared by commissioner Molu  and handed over to the officer. This was before we even discussed at plenary,” said Mr Chiloba.


The CEO said given there had been reports the list of transfers was being manipulated by officers at IEBC, the commission was badly exposed.

The same problems were evident in the decision to send on compulsory leave on May 26 last year Mr James Muhati, the ICT director at IEBC. In a two-paragraph memo, Mr Chebukati issued instructions to the CEO the same day and asked him to appoint Mr Christopher Musando in Mr Muhati’s place with immediate effect.

But there had been an apparent oversight in the hurry to send Mr Muhati home.

Mr Chebukati wrote: “Following the plenary decision and my memo to you dated May 26, it appears the officer was sent on compulsory leave without hand-over of assignments or projects he was undertaking on behalf of the commission.”


There were also exchanges between Mr Chiloba and Mr Chebukati on the procurement of a company to print ballot papers.

In a July 18 memo, Mr Chebukati asked Mr Chiloba to prepare a report on the implementation of the decision by the commissioners to seek an alternative company to print ballot papers for the presidential election. He wanted the report the following day.

Mr Chiloba then attached a letter from Ren-Form, a company based in Johannesburg.