Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioner Roselyn Akombe's brother has fled the country after reportedly receiving several threats on his phone believed to be targeted at his sister and fellow commissioners.
In an interview with the Nation, commissioner Akombe confirmed that her 34-year-old brother escaped the country together with his wife and three children through the Namanga border point on September 5th after sustained threats on his life by unknown individuals. Akombe suspects this is part of a wider plot to intimidate commissioners, especially those perceived not to tow the “official line.”
“He left the country last week when the threats became too much,” Ms Akombe confided in the
Nation in an exclusive interview.
Dr Akombe said the threatening messages directed at her brother were intended to intimidate her.
“He is a man who loves this country and had always resisted our attempts to get him something to do abroad. I feel responsible for it. It feels bad but what can you do about it?” a distraught Akombe said.
It is said he deliberately avoided fleeing through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for security reasons, but travelled to Namanga by road, before crossing the border to neighbouring Tanzania.
Dr Akombe revealed that she also fears for her, saying never before has she felt so insecure.
“I have been to Somalia, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq and even Libya for security assessment missions but on a personal basis I have never felt this insecure,” she said without elaborating.
She was referring to her tour of duty in those countries when she worked in the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations, before taking leave to take up the IEBC job early this year.
She said that she was yet to report the threats to police, but did not mention why.
On Saturday, Inspector- General of Police Joseph Boinnet said he was not aware of the incident.
“I don’t know anything about what you have just told me. Nothing at all,” he told the Nation.
A week after the August 8th polls, Dr Akombe was pulled out of a US-bound flight at the JKIA and was detained overnight by security officers on grounds she failed to produce clearance from the head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua to leave the country.
It took the intervention of US ambassador Robert Godec to have hee released and allowed to proceed with her journey to the United States.
The Ministry of Interior later clarified the code of regulations for public servants and employees of independent commissions required to seek clearance from authorities before travelling abroad.
“The IEBC commissioner has proceeded on her travel after being cleared. There is a code of regulations for public servants and officers. It affects even those in independent commissions because they are not private companies,” Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said.