Raila Odinga, Wafula Chebukati differ over Monday polls

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga (left) and IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at Parliament in April 2019. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga on August 24 asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati to disqualify himself from conducting the Kakamega and Mombasa governor elections slated for August 29.

Raila said the conduct of Mr Chebukati during the August 9 General Election was questionable and he should recuse himself and let his deputy Juliana Cherera handle the governor elections as Kenyans await the verdict of the Supreme Court on the presidential election petition filed by Azimio.

“He should disqualify himself from presiding over Mombasa and Kakamega polls,” he said.

But in a swift rejoinder IEBC said the Chairman Chebukati was not directly involved in conducting the elections.

“The commission wishes to inform the public that the statements made today by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga with regard to the role of the Chairman in the two gubernatorial elections scheduled for Monday 29th August 2022 are misleading,” IEBC tweeted.

“Gubernatorial elections are run by gazetted Returning Officers as provided for by the law. For avoidance of doubt, Returning Officers for Mombasa and Kakamega counties are Ibrahim Swalhah Yusuf and Joseph Ayatta, respectively.”

Speaking at Wildwaters club in Mombasa, during campaigns for ODM governor candidate Abdulswamad Nassir, Raila maintained that he won the election and he does not recognise William Ruto as president-elect.

“I want members of ODM, Wiper, Jubilee and other affiliate parties in Azimio to come out in big numbers to elect Nassir as the Mombasa Governor,” he said.

The Azimio leader was accompanied by MPs-elect Mohamed Mashelle (Mvita), Twalib Badi (Jomvu), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Felix Odiwour ‘Jalango’ (Langata), and Mombasa Senator-elect Khatib Faki.

“I won this election but I was denied the victory by IEBC and that is why I have gone to the Supreme Court to look for justice against Chebukati’s decision to declare Ruto as President-elect,” said Raila.

The Azimio leader urged Kenyans to be patient and await the Supreme Court verdict.

“I am confident the truth will come out in the Supreme Court where we have gone to seek justice,” he said.

Raila urged voters in the counties where the elections were postponed to come out in their numbers and elect Azimio candidates on August 29.

Azimio presidential running mate, Martha Karua, advised Kenyans not to lose hope and saying they had presented concrete evidence against IEBC.

“The victory is coming. We have good lawyers who will prove our case before the Supreme Court. We have solid evidence and that is why you should not get tired,” said Ms Karua.

She also appealed to Mombasa residents to vote for Nassir so that Azimio can have more governors nationally.

The governor candidate assured Mombasa voters that he was ready for the battle on Monday. He warned those planning to rig the Mombasa governor election that they will face dire consequences.

“We are prepared to make sure we will deal with those who want to rig the election,” Nassir said. Badi exuded confidence that Nassir will carry the day. He urged the party delegates who attended the meeting to ensure they tells supporters to elect the Azimio candidate as second governor of Mombasa.