In the ongoing exercise to fill the IEBC vacant positions, Today July 19 was the turn of three shortlisted candidates who appeared before the IEBC select committee to fill the commissioners position in the electoral body.
Prof. Michael Napoo Ilukwol Lokuruka, formerly a Commissioner with the Public Service Commission, and a Professor of Food Science In his submission, he said his main aim was to fix the failure of the commission to deliver fair and credible elections as well as contribute to the restoration of public trust in the agency which has suffered years of mistrust.
Among Others who faced the panel was Murshid Abdalla Mohammed, an Advocate of the High Court and Naisiae Paloshe Tobiko who has worked in various capacities at the IEBC.
Tobiko who has been in the commission serving in different capacities for the last 11 years said the electoral agency needs to have gender balance in decision making positions to balance out soft skills and power.
“I wish we had alternate genders at the two points of decision making. The CEO’s position is a Centre of power while that of the Chairperson of the Commission is also a centre of power. I wish we employed a bit more soft skills and a bit more tact in communication so that we differ but adopt a unanimous and common position,” she said.
In addition, Tobiko said that if picked to be a commissioner, she would bring her voice to the table and act as a voice of reason, encouraging a harmonious working relationship.
On IEBC public perception, Tobiko said that she attributed the negative perception to a weak communication link which has failed to tell the electoral bodies story.
“For instance, the challenges in the 2017 election, what the public knows is the illegalities and the irregularities that happened, what they don’t know is that we had staff who were beaten up in the line of duty and that we also lost some staff during the period.”
Tobiko at the same time said that IEBC has very qualified staff both at the field and headquarters adding they work in a very volatile environment.
“Kenyan’s need to understand what we go through during the electoral period, and appreciate the work the secretariat does,” she said.
In finality, Tobiko warned against changing the electoral laws a few months to the 2022 general elections to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2017 polls where commissioners joined months to elections.
She said the appointment of commissioners too close to elections affected the IEBC operations and the management of elections as valuable time was lost in inducting them into the new roles and the finer elements of election management.
She is currently the manager in charge of the Commission Services.
According to the panel’s chairperson Dr Elizabeth Muli this exercise will run up to July 22nd.