Chebukati says four commissioners tried to force a Ruto-Odinga tie

President-Elect William Ruto (centre right) displays his presidential election certificate. [File, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati says four commissioners tried to force a tie between the two leading candidates in the presidential race.

If the two had tied (none got the 50 per cent plus one) the commission would have conducted a second presidential election.

The election was a neck-and-neck battle between Azimio's Raila Odinga and Kenya Kwanza's William Ruto.

In a statement dated run-off contrary to their oath of office.

The four commissioners are vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit.

“This is tantamount to subverting the Constitution and the sovereign will of the people of Kenya. The chairperson refused to yield to this unconstitutional and illegal; demand and proceeded to declare the results of the presidential election,” Chebukati said in the statement.

The four had accused Chebukati of locking them out of the final tallying process, then reading out results that exceeded the 100 per cent mark.

However, Chebukati has reiterated that the responsibility of declaring presidential results, according to the constitution, can only be done by the chairman.

“This constitutional mandate falls squarely on the chairman of the commission who is the National Returning Officer as gazette in Notice no. 4956 of April 28, 2022. The role is not a shared responsibility and not subject to plenary decisions by the commission,” he added.

He has also dismissed the claims that the total votes cast had an excess of 0.01 per cent, saying it was misleading.

The four IEBC commissioners, led by Vice Chair Juliana Cherera, dissociated themselves from the final tallying stage of the presidential results at the Bomas of Kenya, citing opaqueness.

Cherera said the IEBC had done a good job but there were divisions during the final phase of the tallying process.

"The four of us are here and not at Bomas of Kenya where results will be announced because of the opaque nature of this phase has been handled,” Cherera said.

“We, therefore, cannot take ownership of results that will be announced. However, we have an open door that people can go to court and because of the same, we urge Kenyans to be peaceful because the rule of the law is going to prevail,” Cherera added.