By Prudence Minayo
Dr Roselyn Kwamboka Akombe is a Kenyan citizen working for the United Nation (UN). She’s best remembered in Kenya for her role as an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioner. Many knew her as she appeared on several press briefings answering questions with a smile plastered on her face, a facade that hid the intrigues at the electoral body. Her journey to the top was as a result of sheer hard work and determination. She worked several odd jobs before landing her current job that earns her top dollar.
Roselyn Akombe resigned from the IEBC barely a year after her appointment as a commissioner stating that she did not want to do a job that went against her values. She left the country saying that she feared for her life.
DON'T MISS: Stay informed with the latest news and interact with us on Instagram.
She was born on 21st November 1976.
Background & Education
Roselyn was born in Nyamira county 45 years ago. Her father was an an education officer while her mother was a teacher. spent her early years in Mwembe Tayari, Kisii before moving to Kisumu.
The then young girl’s dream was to become a lawyer because she admired the likes of James Orengo and Martha Karua. After her O-levels at Nyabururu Girls High School, she was admitted to the University of Nairobi, Kikuyu campus for a bachelor degree in Education.
JOIN US: Stay informed with the latest Kenyan news and join the conversation on Telegram.
She got pregnant during her third year at the university.
“ When I got pregnant in my third year of university, I felt I had embarrassed and let down my parents despite the sacrifices they had made for me. That humiliation gave me the courage. I asked myself, ‘ What kind of life am I going to give to my daughter? That pushed and motivated me,” she was quoted by The Standard.
After graduating, she was employed by Dr. Wanjiru Kabira.
“ Dr. wanjiru Kabira hired me the day I graduated, and when an opportunity arose, she encouraged me to fly overseas, into the unknown. In the United States, I used to work as a security officer at night, then in the morning take my daughter to school before going to study,” she told the same publication.
She was to later on visit the African Observer Mission to the UN to seek information about her PhD Dissertation. This is where she met an economist who gave her an internship on the spot after being impressed by her work.
“I had to stop being a security guard because you don’t sleep much. I took up a job taking care of persons with different types of disability because I could sleep a little at night and then study and do my internship the next day. I did that for seven months before the Mission employed me as an economic advisor,” Akombe told the Standard.
Prior to joining the IEBC, Akombe was employed as a senior advisor to the Secretary General for political affairs at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
In January 2017, she was appointed as an IEBC commissioner. This meant she would take a 70% pay cut from her previous job. It was reported that she had taken leave in order to get this job and by so doing would not be paid by the UN.
Shortly after taking this job, she became a notable face in Kenya’s media as she appeared in several press briefings. Her role in the IEBC included addressing press conferences and training field officers.
On 18th October 2017, days before the election results were nullified by the Supreme Court, Roselyn Akombe resigned from her position as an IEBC commissioner. She flew back to New York for fear that her life was in danger and cited that the IEBC was not in a position to conduct free and fair elections due to corruption. Part of what she said was:
“ The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on 26th October 2017,” she said.
“ I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity.”
“ It has become increasingly difficult to continue attending plenary meetings where commissioners come ready to vote along partisan lines and not to discuss the merit of issues before them.
It has become increasingly difficult to appear on television to defend positions I disagree with in the name of collective responsibility, ” she added.
Dr. Akombe then went on to say she did not feel safe in her own country and that even her brother had to flee the country because of being threatened.
“ I have never felt the kind of fear I felt in my own country. If you get those, you will be suicidal to think that nothing will happen to you, ”she said.
Rosalyn further added that even field officers were not safe.
“ It broke my heart in the last few days to listen to my staff in the field, majority of whom truly want to do the right thing, express to me their safety and security concerns,” she was quoted by the Daily Nation.
Opening Up On Msando’s Killers
The ex-IEBC commissioner revealed in a tweet that she was ready to testify at an independent judicial inquest slated for 29 July to unravel the murderers of his former colleague Chris Msando. This seemingly did not go well with axed IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba who warned her against rewriting history.