'We were forced to resign', three ex-IEBC commissioners claim

Former IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera(C) and commissioners Justus Nyang’aya (L), Irene Masiti, and Francis Wanderi addressing the press where they disowned the Presidential Results on August 15, 2022. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Three of four former commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have told the National Dialogue Committee that they were forced to resign.

Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, and Justus Nyang’aya said that they were forced to leave office after President William Ruto appointed a tribunal led by Court of Appeal Judge Aggrey Muchelule to probe their conduct in the 2022 polls, by opting not to appear before it.

The fourth commissioner, Irene Masit, appeared before the tribunal which in its verdict recommended her removal from office, to which she also resigned.

“I want to submit that the Cherera four were forced to resign, it was never our intention to resign,” claimed Wanderi who made the presentation on behalf of the other three ex-commissioners. 

According to Wanderi, their ouster was because they questioned the conduct of former Chairperson Wafula Chebukati in the declaration of presidential results in the 2022 General Elections.

He said that it was within their mandate to do so since the Court of Appeal in a decision about the separation of powers within the commission in a 2017 case filed by Maina Kiai vs. IEBC ruled that commissioners would tally the results with the help of clerks and the chairperson would announce the presidential results, but that this was not the case as they were denied the opportunity to do that.

“We never tallied the results from the constituencies and they were tallied by a handpicked number of people who worked with the chairman," said Wanderi.

He claimed that Professor Abdi Guliye and the ommissions CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan were among the people "handpicked" to do the tallying and that they [Wanderi, Cherera, Masit, and Nyang’aya] were denied access to Form 34C which is the Presidential results form.

“It was unfair for us to be forced out of the commission and we hope that will be looked into,” said Wanderi.

Wanderi further said that they hope the commission will be reconstituted soon, proposing that the select committee that will be tasked with the responsibility should adopt the Ghanaian model of selection.

Nyang’aya on his part said that the move by Chebukati to deny them the role to tally and crosscheck the results kept them in the dark as well as the whole country and that is why they question the validity of the results.

“We maintain our position that the results of the 2022 presidential election are indeterminable as they were neither tabulated nor verified by the commissioners in accordance with the process contemplated under Article 138,” said Nyang’aya.

Cherera said that what they had been taken through during their stint at the commission should not be experienced by any other person adding that they were forced to run away.

“We want the next generation of commissioners at IEBC to be people that will be handled with the integrity they deserve and that their voice will not be shut down,” she said.

She added that they still disown the 2022 election results adding that results should be audited. Cherera said that she resigned for the sake of the country after it emerged there would be protests over their conduct.

Masit on her part said that what took place at the Bomas of Kenya during the 2022 elections, was not tallying and verification of results.

She added that they were removed from their sub-committees and assigned roles that were not part of their mandate by the chairperson.

“So up to now we do not know the results and it is very important that we audit these results,” she said.

Masit and Cherera said they were in exile for security reasons with Masit saying that she had never stepped foot in her home since the 2022 elections results were announced.

Masit said that she was threatened but did not file a report with the police.