IEBC in third attempt to recruit legal manager - Beaking Kenya News

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Sunday, 1 September 2019

IEBC in third attempt to recruit legal manager

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, Kibra mini poll
By WALTER MENYA
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If the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) manages to fill the vacant office of the director of legal and public affairs, it will be the first time it will be having substantive people heading all the directorates since 2017.
The directorates of Human Resource and Administration and that of Supply Chain Management were filled at different times this year, leaving that of legal and public affairs as the only one without a substantive holder since 2017.
ACHILLES HEEL
Yet as the commission has proved time and again in recent times, recruitment has become its Achilles heel.
IEBC on Wednesday invited applications for the legal and public affairs top manager.
Whoever is appointed will succeed Praxedes Tororey, who retired in September 2017 after attaining the age of 60. Ms Tororey is now a board member of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
“A vacancy has arisen in the commission for the position of director, legal and public affairs. Therefore, applications are invited for the position,” the notice reads. Interested candidates have until September 10 to submit their applications.
Like the stalled recruitment of a CEO, this is the third time the commission has invited applications for this position. Acting CEO Hussein Marjan downplayed the false starts, saying the commission was not satisfied with the candidates who applied in the first and second times.
“The commission did not get candidates who fully met the requirements,” said Mr Marjan.
The first time the call was made was in March 2018. After the deadline for submission of applications, applicants were never called for interviews.
No explanation was given to the candidates who had applied.
At that time, the commission’s manager for legal services, Mahamud Jabane, was the acting director of legal and public affairs, a post that has been held in the interim by managers in the directorate on a rotational basis.
INTERDICTED
In June 2018, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati reorganised the commission’s secretariat, appointing the manager, investigation and prosecution Chrispine Owiye to lead the directorate in acting capacity, a position he held for a year. Ms Salome Oyugi, IEBC’s manager for political parties, is the current acting director.
The position was re-advertised in March 2019. This time shortlisting was done and interviews conducted by a panel of the three commissioners – Mr Chebukati, Prof Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu – with the acting manager, breaking from the norm to engage an independent recruiting firm for positions of CEO, directors and managers so as to deal with any conflict of interest and such other biases. The engagement of a consultant is discretional and the commission makes the final call.
Eventually the panel settled on a candidate and an offer was made, which the candidate accepted and she was to report at the beginning of June.
But before she could take up her new job, her appointment was inexplicably cancelled. Sources at the commission familiar with the matter told the Sunday Nation that the cancellation was prompted by the discovery that the appointee was facing disciplinary proceedings at her former employer over insider dealings and had, therefore, been interdicted. The discovery of such information late in the day put to question the kind of background checks the commission had undertaken before making her the offer.
CLEARANCE
But Mr Marjan said it was not because of lack of proper background checks.
“The commission conducts due diligence before and after formal appointments. Integrity clearances are obtained as prescribed in the Constitution and Leadership and Integrity Act. In addition, a six-month probation period is used for background checks and performance,” said Mr Marjan.
This, therefore, will be the third time the position is being advertised. The challenges the commission has faced in getting the right person to occupy the office of director of legal and public affairs mirrors those that have hindered the recruitment of the CEO.
The CEO recruitment has twice been stopped by the courts over IEBC’s failure to follow the law in the process of advertising. Cases of conflict of interest have also been cited.
The commission first invited applications for the CEO’s job on January 19 and nothing happened for almost a month after the deadline for receiving applications. Until Mr Henry Mutundu moved to court on February 26.
Mr Mutundu sought to stop the process, arguing that it was “unconstitutional and it is not open, transparent and accountable.”
On May 20, Justice Hellen Wasilwa agreed with the petitioner and faulted IEBC for having “couched the advertisement” outside provisions of its Act. She ordered a re-advertisement.

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