New IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati promises credible elections in August

Incoming IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati


New electoral commission boss Wafula Chebukati has outlined his vision for a credible elections and a change of tact in managing the August 8 polls.

Mr Chebukati in his acceptance speech after being sworn in pledged a free, fair, credible and transparent election in August 8, stating that the new look Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will not repeat the mistakes that led to disputed elections in the past.

"Our short-term goal is to deliver a free, fair and credible election which is 200 days away. We must therefore hit the ground running by ensuring all the processes and systems involved are in place," said Chebukati.

Mr Chebukati sounded a warning to those planning to engage in electoral malpractices, saying that those found culpable of electoral malpractices will face full force of the law.

He added that under his leadership, the IEBC will do what is right and put a long term goal to review existing election strategic plans so that what happened leading to the disbanding of the Isaac Hassan-led team does not happen again.

"As a country, we have gone through past polls at times characterized by violence, voter apathy and unending electoral disputes. As a collective responsibility, we must put a stop to the connection between elections and electoral malpractices, the worst being election violence," he said.
Mr Chebukati alongside six commissioners were sworn in by Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court in a ceremony witnessed by Attorney General Githu Muigai and senior staff at the electoral commission.

The commissioners sworn-in were Paul Kurgat, Boya Molu, Abdi Guliye, Roselyne Akombe, Margaret Wanjala and Consolata Nkatha.

Justice Maraga and Prof Muigai reminded the new team of the task ahead of them, saying that the country's unity, stability and credibility in the August general election lies on their hands.

According to the CJ, the country does not want to go back to the era where people who cast their votes do not determine the outcome adding that it is only through credible elections that the IEBC will restore people's confidence and avoid what transpired in the 2007 elections.

"Election is just one of the activities in our lives. People should not turn to other unconstitutional means to achieve power because of lack of trust in our electoral system. Elections and leaders come and go but Kenya will still be here," said Maraga.

Prof Muigai urged the new commissioners to enforce provisions on leadership and integrity that will ensure only people with good conduct and integrity are cleared to contest political seats in August.

Mr Chebukati added his voice to the ongoing voter registration, urging those unregistered as voters to do so before the process is closed.

In recognition of the process that led to their appointment, the new IEBC chairman said they will invite religious leaders for a breakfast meeting and prayers on Monday before they assume their offices.

"The process of selecting us was borne out of intervention by religious leaders following street protests, violence and death. Thus the journey was spiritually driven that is why we invite them for prayers before we embark on the task ahead," said Chebukati.

He maintained that the commission will not be influenced by any person, adding that he applied for the position out of his own will to serve the people.