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Confusion as court stops recruitment of IEBC CEO again

For a second time in seven months, the recruitment of the next CEO of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been stopped by the court after the electoral agency was found to have flouted the law.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court on Friday allowed a petition by Chama cha Mawakili that had sought the court’s intervention to stop IEBC from proceeding to interview some 10 candidates that had been shortlisted.

The court ordered IEBC to stop the process that had reached the interview stage. It means the commission will have to start the process afresh by calling new applications.

In the petition Chama cha Mawakili had cited that, among other issues, the commission failed to hire a consultant human resource firm to lead the process and remove any doubts about conflict of interested that had started creeping into the exercise.

They also stated that IEBC failed to give a justification why some candidates were shortlisted and not others. The criteria the commission and the question of who did the short listing have also been raised.

The process had also come under scrutiny after the commission secretariat was allowed to receive and compile the list of applicants yet the head of the secretariat, acting CEO Marjan Hussein, was also a candidate thus creating a conflict of interest. Besides, there were murmurs that the commission had already settled on a candidate even before the interviews started.

Besides, the recruitment of the CEO had also been thrown into confusion after a human resource firm, Alpex Consulting Africa Limited (ACAL), rejected the award just days before the shortlist was published on June 13.

In their letter of rejection, the consultant blamed the “failure, so far, by the commission to address our concerns exposes ACAL to non-compliance with law and professional human resources management practices.” 

Friday’s stopping of the recruitment is the second time IEBC has failed to conclude the recruitment. On May 20 Justice Hellen Wasilwa faulted IEBC for having “couched the advertisement for the position of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) outside the provisions of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Act and the same cannot be sustained as is worded.” She ordered a re-advertisement.

The commission first invited applications on January 19 and nothing happened for almost a month after the deadline for receiving applications until Mr Mutundu moved to court on February 26.

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