Wafula Chebukati denies claims of rigging in Kiambaa poll

Kiambaa MP-elect Wanjiku Njuguna, IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati and Jubilee vice-chair David Murathe. [File, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has waded into the fray over alleged electoral fraud in the just-concluded Kiambaa parliamentary by-election.

Yesterday, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati issued a statement that fell short of telling off political parties that participated in the recent by-elections, stating that they “don’t cook votes”.

He termed as misleading information on Kiambaa by-election results, which Jubilee has vowed to challenge.

Similarly, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is threatening to challenge Muguga ward by-election, where its candidate lost by 27 votes.

Chebukati said a return of a similar number of votes is coincidental, even as he reaffirmed the commission’s commitment to free, transparent and credible elections.

“The commission wishes to state that the return of similar votes from different polling stations in respect of a candidate during elections is purely coincidental,” said Chebukati.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has threatened to challenge the win by UDA’s Njuguna Wanjiku, demanding a recount of votes, especially from three disputed polling stations.

“The commission wishes to state that all by-election activities were planned and executed with the participation of relevant stakeholders,” Chebukati said.

IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati at Bomas of Kenya. June 14, 2021. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

He added: “The counting and announcement of results is done at the polling station in the presence of accredited agents, observers and media. The agents and candidates confirm the results and append their signatures on the results form.”

He said the agents are issued with a copy of the results and a copy is pasted at the polling station.

Thereafter, the Returning Officer (RO) collates, announces and declares results as per the result forms from the polling station presided by the Presiding Officers.

The commission said its attention had been drawn to remarks by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, alleging that some candidates got the same number of votes in different polling stations.

“For purposes of setting the record straight, the commission has uploaded the results forms for Kiambaa by-election on the portal for reference by the public,” stated Chebukati. 

On voting day, IEBC was forced to suspend tallying of results after Jubilee disputed the outcome.

And last Monday, Jubilee Party leadership and 16 members of parliament held a crisis meeting to take stock of their performance in the two by-elections.

They resolved to move to court to challenge the results, just a day after lauding the UDA MP-elect for his win.

Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe said they were not satisfied with the Kiambaa by-election results and accused IEBC of blocking their MPs from accessing the polling centres.

“We are not satisfied with IEBC’s results, and we have concrete evidence to show manipulation by certain individuals,” said Murathe.

Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe. [Courtesy]

Jubilee Party’s joint Parliamentary Group (PG) Secretary and Eldas MP Adan Keynan said they will go to court to prove that the election was rigged.

“We are dissatisfied with how IEBC managed the by-election, particularly the tallying process.

“We demand a recount of the votes and we will pursue this in court,” he said at JP headquarters.

Murang’a County MP Sabina Chege said they would be seeking a recount. Wanjiku got 21,773 votes against Njama’s 21,263 votes.

UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina however said it was strange that Jubilee would demand a recount.

“Jubilee can demand vote recount while knowing very well that on July 15, 2021, they did everything possible to try and unfairly sway results of Kiambaa Constituency and Muguga Ward by-election,” said Maina.

Chebukati has now urged all stakeholders to partner with the IEBC in its mandate leading up to the 2022 elections.