Raphael Tuju alleges he met IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati at secret location in Karen

Azimio la Umoja Executive Director Raphael Tuju. [File, Standard]

Former Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju says he met IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati at a secret location in Karen, Nairobi, before the much-talked-about one at the Bomas of Kenya National tallying centre which he said was open because seven commissioners, former A-G Amos Wako and a lawyer were present.

In the Sunday afternoon news conference, he challenged Chebukati to explain what the secret meeting, which, according to him was initiated by the elections boss, was all about.

He was responding to allegations made against him by IEBC commissioners in their replying affidavit in the presidential election petition filed at the Supreme Court by the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya alliance.

His response comes a day after IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu submitted their responses to the Supreme Court on Saturday.

In a press statement on this Sunday afternoon, Tuju said he had a meeting with Chebukati, but not secretly. He said the meeting was at 4 am in Bomas and not 3 am as it is averred in the affidavits.

He also notes that he met the IEBC chairman in the presence of all seven commissioners, Amos Wako and an unidentified lawyer.

“I found Chebukati in a closed room with Boya Molu and Marjan Hussein. Since I was being denied access, I went in forcefully but he insisted he was busy. He asked me to come later and took me in circles until I got an audience with him at 4 am,” Tuju said.

“I drew the attention of Amos Wako who is also my personal friend and we went in together. Whatever I said, I said it in the presence of ten other people. He has made claims about what I said in the presence of ten people. Chebukati, please tell Kenyans where we met secretly,” he added.

Tuju explains that he repeatedly tried to get access to Chebukati when he got wind of malpractice in the system, but was taken in circles.

He said that he met an IEBC staff who confessed that there was foreign access to the system and that his efforts to bring up the issues were futile.

“I tried to get an audience with the commissioners and specifically Chebukati when it became apparent that Guliye could not respond to my issues. I complained that some Form 34A was being brought down and replaced from an unknown location,”

He [IEBC staffer] claimed that the IEBC staff had been threatened by high-ranking officials in the commission.

“I want Guliye and Molu to explain to Kenyans what they came to do in my house. I told Guliye about the changed Forms 34A, but he said he was not the National Returning Officer. Instead, he directed me to Chebukati."

Tuju said at a certain stage he was dealing with auctioneers but not commissioners.

Tuju has also threatened to expose CCTV footage of the two commissioners saying they asked him to meet in confidence. He chose his house as the meeting point.

Tuju says, after meeting Chebukati in the presence of ten others, they left Kenya Kwanza’s Veronica Maina and Josphat Nanok at the door waiting to go in as well.

According to Tuju, during the meeting he had with Chebukati, Guliye left for the washroom.

“It is also very important to note that Prof Guliye left the meeting saying he was going to the toilet and took very long. Of course, he went with the phone,”

In an affidavit, IEBC Commissioner Abdi Guliye, swears that Raphael Tuju and Amos Wako attempted to force the commission to declare Raila Odinga president-elect or force a re-run in the August 9 polls.

Guliye, who is listed as the fourth respondent in the presidential petition filed by Raila Odinga and Martha Karua, said Tuju and Wako tried to manipulate IEBC on August 15, 2022.

According to Guliye, Wako, who served as Kenya’s Attorney-General between 1991 and 2011, told him and other IEBC commissioners that there comes a time when presidential results are declared not only by considering the votes cast, but also weighing the “bigger picture”.

“Wako indicated that they had come to ask the commission not to operate ‘in a vacuum’, and that it must consider the link between the election results to be declared and the stability of the country, which he described as ‘the bigger picture’.