Electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati has finally told his side of the story regarding his fallout with fellow IEBC commissioners who disowned the presidential election results.
In a statement Wednesday, Chebukati explained that the four rebel commissioners led by Vice Chair Juliana Cherera tried to have the results moderated to force a repeat election.
“During a briefing meeting held on 15th August 2022 at around 3.00 pm before the final declaration of the Presidential Election results, the four Commissioners demanded that the Chairperson moderates the results for purpose of forcing an election Re-run contrary to their oath of office,” Chebukati said.
Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit allegedly wanted Chebukati to declare that neither William Ruto nor Raila Odinga hit the 50 percent plus one vote required to secure a first-round win.
“This is tantamount to subverting the Constitution and the sovereign will of the people of Kenya. The Chairperson refused to yield to this unconstitutional and illegal demand and proceeded to declare the results of the Presidential Election as received from the polling stations, and contained in Form 34A, in accordance with the law,” Chebukati added.
The IEBC chair also mentioned that he involved all the commissioners, contrary to their claims that the vote tallying process was opaque.
“As the gazetted National Returning Officer and in the spirit of teamwork, the Chairperson involved all Commissioners including Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit in all activities of verification and tallying,” he said.
“Their duties were well defined in writing and allocated at the National Tally Center (NTC). They had access to all results beforehand and interchangeably announced them for six (6) days in the full glare of live television.”
Chebukati also clarified that the declaration of presidential results is the sole responsibility of the Chairman of the Commission.
“This constitutional mandate falls squarely on the chairman of the commission, who is the National Returning Officer as gazetted in Notice No. 4956 of 28th April 2022. The role of national returning officer for presidential election is not a shared responsibility and not subject to plenary decisions of the commission. All returning officers including the national returning officer for presidential election took an individual oath of secrecy before embarking on their duties,” wrote Chebukati.
“In addition, the chairperson and commissioners took oath of office at the time of appointment. It is an oath of office that the chairperson faithfully executed, when he declared the results for the presidential election on Monday, 15th August 2022.”