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Kenya’s election at stake as elections commissioner Roselyn Akombe flees to the US

The resignation of Kenyan elections commissioner Roselyn Akombe who fled the country to the US following death threats has further complicated the country’s political crisis.



A week before the election re-run in Kenya, one of the senior commissioners of the country’s election commission Roselyn Akombe resigned this week, fleeing to the US, following death threats.

Akombe fled the country following the crisis plaguing the commission with the IEBC itself having received threats and criticism from various political players in the past few weeks. There are doubts over the Commission’s ability to deliver a free, fair and credible election. The commission has come under fire for failing to meet the basic expectations of a credible election.

The feeling that Akombe was no longer able to make any significant contribution to the commission and to the country prompted her decision to quit and flee.

“I have agonized over the decision to leave my committed IEBC FIELD staff and my country. My decision to leave the IEBC will disappoint some of you, but it is not for lack of trying. I have tried the best I could do given the circumstances. Sometimes, you walk away, especially when potentially lives are at stake. The Commission has become a party to the current crisis. The Commission is under siege,” she said in a statement.


Read:Kenya – David Maraga’s iron will and the IEBC’s “transparency” pledge

The resignation comes just days after the main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, pulled out of the elections over elections reform that will ensure free and fair elections on October 26.

Akombe stated that she feared for her safety after receiving death threats.

Roseyn Akombe

In response to the resignation, the Chairman of the Elections Commission, Wafula Chebukati, stated that the commission is not in a position to hold credible elections unless there is a dialogue between the political parties.

“I know many of you expected me to resign but I have a duty in front of me and will not allow individuals to burn Kenya. I appeal to key political parties to dialogue in the remaining days to enable us to conduct a free, fair and credible election,” Chebukati said.


The country has seen a number of protests for elections reforms, leading to bouts of violence in several parts of the country.  In response, the Minister of Interior Security banned the protests in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, citing lawlessness in the rallies. However, the opposition took the case to the court, which lifted the ban, allowing for protests.

Despite with the ban, the protest continued, leading to the death and injury of protestors. In Kisumu, police hurled tear gas on nursery pupils in the Nyalenda slums, causing an uproar.

Read: Kenya’s deepening election and political crisis

Already the Kenya police have been under criticism over the death of at least 33 people and a number of people have also been injured. According to reports from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the police and security agents used excessive force against protestors and residents in the city.

Chebukati not only called for commissioners mentioned over poll irregularities to step aside so that other commissioners can discharge their duties.  He also reiterated his commitment in ensuring the elections are credible despite the challenges the commission faces.


“While today I want to confirm to you our full technical preparedness for this election, I want to state categorically that I shall not go down in history as the national returning officer that plunged the country into further crisis than I found,” he said.