Wafula Chebukati cannot lead next elections, says ODM

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina at the burial of Mzee David Ajwang' at Waondo village in Homa Bay County, August 13, 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

ODM now wants electoral agency boss Wafula Chebukati ousted over the nullification of the 2017 presidential election by the Supreme Court.

The party also faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for rolling out the Election Operation Plan (EOP), giving timelines for the 2022 polls, yet it was not properly constituted.

This conversation featured prominently at the burial of Mzee David Ajwang Nyakwamba, father of Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang and his brother, Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, as the leaders rallied behind a Raila Odinga presidency.

Although Raila steered clear of the subject, he enlightened the mourners with his affirmation that he has unlocked the secret card in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, especially on his charm offensive in Mt Kenya.

As part of the plans to boost his chances, he remained optimistic of winning over the Mt Kenya vote.

“I have already envisioned what awaits us and I know where we are going to pass. Some people are saying we cannot crack Mt Kenya region but I have clearly seen where we will penetrate,” said Raila.

Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga, Kisumu Senator Fred Outa and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi told IEBC to put on hold plans for the next polls until the new commissioners are sworn in.

“Chebukati presided over a presidential election that was nullified by the Supreme Court. This is the first presidential poll to be overturned in Africa. Chebukati is still at the helm of the electoral agency,” said Wanga.

“I really fear if Chebukati still heads the polls body. We will consult with MPs and find a solution. We cannot allow this country to be plunged into chaos because of polls not properly conducted.”

Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Wandayi urged Chebukati to put on hold everything, including the international tender for the electoral materials.

“IEBC under Chebukati should stop everything. This includes the hiring of returning officers and the county electoral officers,” he said.

The nominees whose names have been forwarded to the National Assembly for vetting by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee include Irene Cherop, Francis Wanderi, Juliana Cherera and Justus Abonyo.

If approved, they will replace Margaret Mwachanya, Paul Kurgat, Roselyne Akombe and Consolata Nkatha, who resigned.

“I want IEBC to wait. They can afford to wait to be fully constituted within two to three weeks. They will then commence the process to recruit a substantive office holder as the CEO currently held by Marjan Hussein Marjan in an acting capacity,” said Wandayi.

Outa also asked IEBC to put on hold every activity until the new commissioners assume office.

“Even the budget they sought is illegal until after the commissioners are sworn in,” he said.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Former Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni said Mt Kenya is ready for a Raila presidency.

With Deputy President William Ruto also hoping to win over Mt Kenya, Kioni and other Raila allies from the region said they will undo any gains the DP has made in the region.

“The country has always been better every time leaders agree to work together. We are behind Raila,” said Kioni.

He stressed the need for leaders to unite and be selfless to ensure the country moves forward.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi called for the country to develop positive ideas.

While making indirect references to Raila’s interest in the presidency, Muriithi said it was time the country paid the political “debt” it owes him for fighting for democracy.

“We should cement our democracy and politics of ideas,” he said.

Although he has not officially declared his candidature, his comments yesterday as well as those of his allies lifted the lid on Raila’s campaign momentum.

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