By Prudence Minayo
Ezra Chiloba was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission prior to the 2017 general elections after the term of the troubled James Oswago came to an end.
A statement from the then IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan read in part:
“Following a thorough recruitment process the IEBC has today, 12 January 2015 appointed Mr EZRA CHILOBA SIMIYU as the Commission Secretary/CEO of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) having emerged as the most successful candidate in the interviews…”
During his short stint at the IEBC, he became a household name courtesy of his looks that earned him the ‘Chilobae’ nickname.
His looks however did not save him from the storm that followed. Chiloba was accused of being part of the bigger conspiracy to deny the opposition their legitimate win. This was not helped when the Supreme Court nullified the presidential results.
The main opposition coalition NASA went for the jugular demanding that the CEO should resign. In an interview on Citizen TV, Chiloba told Jeff Koinange he had no desire to resign and was determined to see through the repeat elections.
Later on, he was terminated as the CEO of IEBC.
Ezra was born on 12th January 1979. He turned 43 years old this year.
He was born and raised in Kwanza constituency, Trans Nzoia county. He attended Mutua Primary School and sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 1993. He scored 539 marks out of 700 marks. His results were as follows:
English 80 [A], Kiswahili 75 [B-], Maths 74 [B+], Science 77 [A-], GCRE 80 [A-], ACM 78 [A] and Home science and Business 76 [A-].
Mr. Chiloba was able to secure a chance at St. Joseph’s High School in Kitale. Unfortunately, due to lack of school fees he dropped out in form 2. A good aunt of his, Florence Mutua, came to the rescue and helped him out. She enrolled him at Kwanza Boys High School. He went on to secure a bursary.
During his high school years, the former IEBC CEO was in charge of the Seventh Day Adventist church choir.
After sitting for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), Ezra managed to score a mean grade of A minus. He joined the University of Nairobi School of Law and graduated in 2003.
Ezra also holds an MA in Public Policy from the Central European University.
Ezra came into the limelight when he was elected Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ahead of the 2017 general elections.
He worked for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for 5 years. In this role, he supported the organization in mobilizing and managing project budgets amounting to $45 million.
Apart from the UNDP, he has worked for other agencies including Kenya National Commission of Human Rights, Centre for Minority Rights Development, South Consulting Africa and Oxfam Novib.
Before joining IEBC, he was the Deputy team leader in charge of governance under a DFID-DANIDA program managed by DAI.
After he became the IEBC boss, he was thrust into the limelight, especially after the presidential election results were nullified by the high court under Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga.
The IEBC came under fire and was accused by the opposition of failing to carry out a free and fair election. The elections were nullified based on a number of irregularities and six months after this, he was interviewed by Democracy In Africa (DIA) and he said there was nothing wrong with the elections.
“ I did the right thing. Maybe the only regret I have is that the Supreme Court nullified what we had done right, ”he said.
He went on to say that the electoral body used one of the best election management technology that had not been used even in most developed economies in the world to ensure free and fair election. This was despite the fact that some politicians had said the technology will compromise the elections.
“ I am alive to the fact that technological invention meant that public expectations would be huge. We were also cognizant of the fact that technology cones with its limitations. As a matter of fact, the new electoral technology did not only eliminate double registration but also accelerated the transmission of results,” he added.
After the nullification
After the elections were nullified, NASA called for his resignation saying they could not trust the then IEBC commissioners to be fair. However, he stated that he would not resign.
On Friday 12th October 2018, the Daily Nation reported that the stubborn IEBC CEO had been sacked. According to the Daily Nation, the man himself posted the information on his Twitter.
“ I received the employment termination letter signed by the chairman about an hour ago. The letter claims that I had twice been invited to appear before the disciplinary committee of the commission, but failed to show up, hence the decision to terminate my employment,” he said.
In an article published by Nairobi News on 25th July 2020, it emerged that Chiloba sought a new career path. He is currently participating in large scale farming, something he ventured a while back but is now taking it seriously especially with the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused many to stay at home.
Fight with Roselyn Akombe
The embattled former IEBC CEO has been on a collision course with ex-IEBC commissioner Roselyn Akombe. According to Akombe who resides in the United States, she received a threatening email from Chiloba when she shared her interest to testify before a Judicial Inquest into the murder of the late Chris Msando. The email allegedly from the CEO read:
“Dear Roselyn, do not attempt to rewrite history, our silence is not your silence, yours, Eza, Yours Ezra”
The Ex-IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba was appointed as the new Communications Authority of Kenya’s Director-General on 28, September 2021.