The ghosts of the dramatic outcome of the 2022 presidential election were reawakened during the National Dialogue Committee hearings on Thursday, with divisions among commissioners in the team that mid-wifed the election playing out as one side maintained it still has no faith in the final result.
The faction of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that sided with then chairperson Wafula Chebukati refused to attend the hearings, while the other, led by former deputy chairperson Juliana Cherera, sought to spill the beans before the team co-chaired by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wah.
Ms Cherera and IEBC former commissioner Irene Masit said they could not vouch for the process that led to William Ruto being declared president.
Speak out against the process
Ms Cherera noted that she had suffered a lot for daring to speak out against the process.
“It was bad for me and my family. We have been threatened just because we spoke what we saw. Even today, we stand by our word: we disown the presidential election results. I didn’t resign because of myself. I resigned for the sake of this country,” she revealed.
Ms Masit, who chose not to resign with the rest of the Cherera Four and faced a tribunal that eventually recommended her removal, told the team that she was now in exile.
“I am out of the country for security reasons. Remember I come from Rift Valley. They say that I betrayed the community. It is very important to audit the (election) results. There was no tallying and no verification. It was a shame for our country,” she said.
Francis Wanderi, another former commissioner, said the Cherera Four's departure from the IEBC was under duress.
“I want to admit that we were forced to resign. It was not our desire,” said Mr Wanderi.
The pro-Chebukati team refused to testify before the team, saying in a statement that the 2022 elections were now in the past.
“During our term in office, we delivered on our mandate, including (the) successful conduct of the 2022 General Election. It is through those elections that the president, governors, senators, members of the national assembly and those of county assemblies now occupy their offices. Some of them are now members of this committee,” a statement, signed by Mr Chebukati and former commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu, read in part.
Five thematic areas
“We have gone through the five thematic areas (to be addressed) and we would like to inform you that we do not wish to make any submissions before the committee,” they noted as they called for the formation of a commission of inquiry into the abduction, torture and killing of IEBC staff during the polls.
One of the terms of reference of the dialogue committee is to review the polls, which saw drama from the hall where the results were tabulated to the Supreme Court where the final verdict was delivered, confirming Dr Ruto as the duly elected president.