We did our best to give credible polls, Chebukati insists

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and commissioner Boya Molu during a media briefing on the 2022 general elections progress at the National Tallying centre, Bomas of Kenya on August 13, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati yesterday defended the commission’s handling of the election and took a swipe at his colleagues who disowned the outcome of the polls.

Chebukati, who also pushed for accountability among members of the commission and other leaders for their actions during the exercise, was speaking during a post-election evaluation workshop by the commission.

In his opening remarks, the IEBC chairman gave a brief on the road walked by the commission in preparing for the elections saying it was important to “relieve our individual and collective experiences of the August 9 General Election”. 

“This is a moment of reflection when all of us must look at the man in the mirror and ask; “Did I  discharge my constitutional duty to the best of my ability and in accordance to the rule of law? Did I drop the ball? Did I train my eyes on the true prize?”

In an apparent reference to issues raised by four commissioners who distanced themselves from his pronouncement of William Ruto as winner of the presidential race on August 15, Chebukati said all members of the commission were assigned duties to manage critical components of the elections.

IEBC Vice Chair Juliana Cherera, Commissioners Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit broke ranks with Chebukati on handing Ruto victory in the poll against his closest competitor, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya’s Raila Odinga.

They also, during hearing of the presidential petition, urged the  Supreme Court to declare that the election was bungled.

Yesterday Chebukati revisited the claims.

“It is therefore insincere for any member of the commission and senior staff to allege that they were barred from providing assistance to the election management process. It is even tragic that some members of the commission would petition the Supreme Court to nullify results that we collectively worked on under difficult circumstances to deliver to the people of Kenya.”

He said the “unfounded allegations that the election results management process was opaque was totally oblivious to the fact that Returning Officers had to spend a minimum of three days at the national tallying centre as their return of results was verified in the presence of agents, media and observers before the announcement.”

The IEBC chair also faulted what he termed as false accusations by some staff that exposed colleagues to arbitrary arrests, intimidation and harassment by security agencies, citing how he, commissioners Abdi Guliye, Boya Molu and CEO Marjan, were physically assaulted at Bomas.

“These shameless attacks amounting to election offences were perpetrated by persons regarded as national leaders in full view of the whole nation and world,” he said.

Chebukati lauded Guliye and Molu for standing with him in upholding the will of the people.

“These three gentlemen are patriots who were willing to stand in harm’s way to protect the sovereign power of the people of Kenya. I equally wish to thank the staff at the National Tallying Centre for braving harassment and intimidation in their duty to ensure that all election results were verified and tallied.” 

At the same time, Chebukati made special recognition of Maryan Hassan Mohamed, a Returning Officer in Eldas who “braved gunfire attacks to deliver an election”.

Those in the workshop observed a moment of silence in honour of Daniel Musyoka, a Returning Officer for Embakasi East who was abducted and killed while on duty and Geoffrey Gitobu also a Returning Officer in Gichugu who died after being taken ill.