Three officials resign in Kenya’s electoral body over poll probe

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Associated Press

NAIROBI: Three commissioners from Kenya’s electoral commission Monday said they’ve resigned over the suspension of the body’s chief executive officer who was sent on compulsory leave to pave the way for wider investigations into the commission’s conduct in last year’s elections.

The three commissioners said the vote to suspend CEO Ezra Chiloba was not done properly. “The challenges of the 2017 elections call for the commission to self-reflect and to institutionalize best practices. However the institution has continued to be dysfunctional with arbitrary decision making and leaking of internal documents,” said a statement from the three. They said the chairman of the commission had failed to be “the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times.”

Kenya’s opposition claimed some commissioners in the seven-member electoral authority were complicit in electoral fraud in the Aug. 8 election in which Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner but was then nullified by the Supreme Court.

The Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati had also suspended Chiloba during the repeat Oct 26 election after the opposition protested his involvement. Kenyatta won the repeat election after opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted it citing lack of electoral reforms.

The resignations leave three commissioners on the body. Another commissioner resigned eight days before the repeat election. Roselyn Akombe fled to United States saying her life was in danger.

The commission has been at the center of months of political turmoil over who won the presidential election that ended on March 9. When opposition leader Raila Odinga shook hands with President Uhuru Kenyatta and said it signaled a new beginning between them.