Kenya: Court Declines to Suspend New Poll Team

A lobby group has moved to court to challenge recent staff changes by the electoral body ahead of the repeat presidential election.

By Charles Lotara

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The Kenya’s Supreme Court

The case has been filed by Kenya Independent Commissions Workers Union.

In an urgent application filed at the Employment And Labour Relations Court, the lobby argued that the changes are likely to lead to suspension or termination of employment, which is not based on any investigations, report or finding, determining their alleged illegal conduct.

The lobby argues that in the appointment of the new team, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) implied culpability on the part of the replaced employees.

CHEBUKATI

“The affected employees have legitimate expectation to be accorded good and reasonable working conditions including a good working environment,” lobby in court papers.

The court however declined to suspend the newly formed team and instead directed the organisation to serve the respondents and return for a hearing on September 20.

The lobby argues that the action by the IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, which has triggered an avalanche of accusations and condemnation of the affected employees, amounts to a breach of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court on September 1 nullified the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on grounds that the elections were not conducted in accordance to the Constitution and the applicable principles.

The Supreme Court in its judgment also ordered the IEBC, “to organise and conduct a fresh Presidential Election in strict conformity with the Constitution and the applicable laws within 60 days.”

NEW TEAM

In an attempt to ensure the elections are credible, the IEBC chair on September 5, in naming his new team, went for the “safe” staff in the secretariat and county returning officers, the second highest position after the CEO Ezra Chiloba-led team in Nairobi.

To man the crucial ICT team, and who will report to him directly, Mr Chebukati picked Kitui County Returning Officer Albert Gogo to replace Mr James Muhati.

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