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'Rebel' commissioners wanted to force poll re-run, says Chebukati

 IEBC vice-chair Juliana Cherera, commissioners Justus Nyang'aya, Francis Wanderi and Irene Masit. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati broke his silence and shot back at four of his commissioners for rejecting the presidential results, saying they wanted to force an election re-run.

Mr Chebukati said after briefing the four on the results he was to announce, they asked him to moderate them so that the country could have a re-run of the presidential election.

The IEBC chairman has been under attack from his vice chair Juliana Cherera, commissioners Justus Nyang'aya, Francis Wanderi and Irene Masit who accuse him of declaring William Ruto as the duly elected president after keeping them in the dark in the last phase of the tallying which they said was opaque.

In statement yesterday, Chebukati said contrary to the four commissioners allegations of operating an opaque tallying and verification exercise, he had involved them in the process to a point that they were announcing the results of various constituencies as they were verified.

"During a briefing meeting held on August 15 at around 3.00pm before the final declaration of the presidential election results, the four commissioners, Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Julius Nyangaya and Irene Masit demanded that the chairperson moderates the results for the purpose of forcing an election rerun contrary to their oath of office," he said.

"The chairman refused to yield to this unconstitutional and illegal demand and proceeded to declare the results of the presidential election as received from the polling stations and contained in form 34A in accordance with the law," the statement added. The IEBC chairman also indefinitely suspended the Mombasa and Kakamega governor elections well as parliamentary elections for Kitui rural Kacheliba , Pokot South and Rongai which were scheduled for August 23.

He said he decided to postpone the elections due to harassment, intimidation and threats in the course of the election which had led to the death of Daniel Musyoka, the returning officer for Embakasi East who disappeared on August 11 as well as the injuring of two officials, Prof Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu.

"In view of the prevailing circumstances, the commission has postponed the by elections slated for August 23, to a date to be announced through a gazette notice," he said.

Unresolved killing

While mourning the death of Musyoka, whose body was found in Loitoktok on Wednesday, Chebukati recalled that IEBC had lost an ICT manager, Chris Musando in the 2017 General Election whose killing has never been resolved.

 Relatives and friends of Daniel Wambua at his home in Lanet, Nakuru County. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

"It is unfortunate that his stand to do the right thing cost him his life. As the commission condoles the family of Mr Musyoka, we call on security agencies to speedily investigate and apprehend his killers," he said.

Chebukati expressed concern that the IEBC's critical staff who had been working at the national tallying center at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, had been harassed through profiling and arbitrary arrests, instilling fear to an extent some were unable to report for duty.

The commission has been in the eye of a storm since the debacle that started last Monday when the country was awaiting the announcement of the results which were being tallied at Bomas. Chaos erupted at the tallying center forcing some of the diplomats who had been invited to witness the historic moment to be evacuated to safety.

On Monday, the four commissioners addressed a press conference at Serena Hotel where they dissociated themselves with the results Chebukati was about to announce claiming he had held himself incommunicado, and operated the verification in an opaque manner.

The four further accused Chebukati of committing what they called mathematical absurdity as his aggregation exceeded 100 per cent by 0.01 per cent thereby occasioning an error of 142,000 votes which they asserted was enough votes to influence the outcome of the results.

On Tuesday Nyangaya said: "By the time Chebukati declared the final results, there were more than 20 constituencies that had not been declared, casting doubt why he was in haste to make a hurried proclamation before that was done."

Wanderi added: "We state categorically that the results of the presidential election held on August 9, 2022 and declared and announced by Wafula chebukati on August 15 belong to Chebukati himself and do not represent a declaration and announcement by IEBC."

They were however corrected by experts who pointed out that the extra votes could not have been more than 1,420. Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga has since rejected the results and promised to challenge them "as they were not a true reflection of the election outcome."

 Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati. [File, Standard]

"The figures (on presidential outcome) announced by Chebukati are null and void and must be quashed by a court of law," Raila said.

Poll pressure

However, the President-elect, Ruto praised Chebukati as hero who had amazed Kenyans and the world for the transparent transmission of results and his resolve to uphold the law and the constitution despite a lot of pressure and intimidation.

Meanwhile, ODM Mombasa governor candidate yesterday protested the postponement of the polls claiming that this was a ploy to suppress voter turnout in Mombaa and kakamega which are Azimio strongholds.

Abdullswamad Nassir, who has expressed confidence of winning the Mombasa governor seat which had been scheduled for August 23 but have since postponed, said Mombasa is still an Azimio stronghold with most elected legislatures and MCAs.

"It is not a coincidence that there was postponement of elections in Mombasa and Kakamega counties which are both ODM strongholds. That was a ploy to cut on voters' turnout. Even if they postpone the election dates again, they can only postpone the win but cannot stop it," he said.

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