Top Kenyan election official resigns, flees country ahead of presidential poll

Cheryl Sanders
October 18, 2017

Next week's presidential vote was scheduled after the Supreme Court in Nairobi nullified the outcome of a previous election on August 8, citing procedural irregularities, and ordered the nation's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to organize a new vote.

"The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on 26 Oct 2017".

Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission staff face intimidation by political actors and protesters, senior personnel are serving partisan interests and the training of presiding officers is being rushed, Commissioner Roselyn Akombe said in a statement emailed from NY on Wednesday.

Akombe said the commission can't on its own solve the political crisis now facing the country.

Soon after news broke that Akombe had quit, Chebukati, as reported by, said the resignation of Akombe would not affect operations at the IEBC, and that the forthcoming repeat presidential election would proceed as planned.

She lamented that IEBC staff in the field have expressed their safety and security concerns.

She accused her colleagues of seeking "to have an election even if it is at the cost of the lives of our staff and voters".

"This election as planned can not meet the basic expectations of a credible election", said Akombe."Not when the staff are getting last minute instructions on changes in technology and electronic transmission of results. These include regions where our staff have been intimidated and received threats on their lives", Gogo said as quoted by Standard.

Akombe said that she had questioned her role at the commission for many months, but had "soldiered on". Her departure is also likely to lead Kenyatta to sign into law amendments to electoral law that his ruling Jubilee Party rushed through parliament to ensure that staff changes at the IEBC don't derail the rerun, he said.

The opposition has demanded that some electoral officials in charge of the last poll should be replaced.

Odinga on Tuesday suspended a protest campaign to push for reforms after three people were shot dead in demonstrations.

Akombe warned that the lessons from a disputed 2007 election, which sparked politically motivated tribal violence that left 1,100 dead, were "too fresh, lest we forget".

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