Chebukati dismisses Azimio allegations of plot to rig the elections

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and other commissioners addressing journalists at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on July 7, 2022. The electoral commission has denied a plot to print extra ballot papers to rig the presidential election.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The electoral commission has denied a plot to print extra ballot papers to rig the presidential election even as Uganda that was dragged into the alleged scheme was yet to comment on the matter.

The Ugandan High Commission in Nairobi is yet to issue a formal response over Kenya’s General Election interference claims levelled against it by Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

This is despite our inquiries over the allegations made by Mr Odinga.

The Greek embassy in Nairobi is also yet to confirm whether it received a letter allegedly authored by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula requesting to have Mr Joshua Abdalla Makokha, whom he described as “personally known to me” facilitated with a Schengen travel Visa to Athens, Greece, on a doubtful mission.

Inquiries made to the Ugandan High Commission in Nairobi, in an email, had not been responded to by press time. However, the Greek embassy, on Wednesday, could not comment on the matter as the Ambassador to Kenya Antonios Sgourpoulos was out of the country.

“We acknowledge with thanks receipt of your email. We would, however, like to inform you that H.E. Mr. Antonios Sgouropoulos, Ambassador, is out of the country,” read an email from Ms Betty Ndiritu, an official at the Greek embassy.

Presidential ballot papers

This comes as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) dismissed claims that it is planning to print extra presidential ballot papers that would reportedly be marked in favour of Deputy President William Ruto.

Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga are the frontrunners in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Yesterday, at a meeting with business leaders in Nairobi, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati refuted the allegations.

“I want to assure the country that contrary to claims being peddled around, there will be no marked ballot papers that will be smuggled into the country from Uganda,” he said.

The Daily Nation on Tuesday obtained three letters reportedly authored by Senator Wetang’ula inviting into the country three individuals claimed to be officials of Inform Lykos (Hellas) S.A, a Greek company that was awarded by the IEBC a Sh3 billion tender to print ballot papers and a printed voter register, among other election materials.

Wetang’ula letters

The January 8, 2021 letters ostensibly by Mr Wetang’ula separately invited Mr Awa David Anderson, Mr Antonio Ramon Fernandez and Mr Gkrekis Konstantinos for a “one week investment tour” from January 14, 2021.

The letters describe Mr Anderson as the representative of Inform Company Greece, Mr Konstantinos as the firm’s commercial director and Mr Fernandez as CEO Litofinter Company, Spain.

The Daily Nation also obtained another letter allegedly written by the senator pushing to have Mr Makokha facilitated by the Greek embassy with a Schengen travel Visa to Athens.

Mr Wetang’ula has denied authoring the letters. Mr Odinga, while on a campaign rally in Kiambu on Wednesday, alleged an attempt to interfere with the elections.

“There are attempts to rig the August election and we are aware. Someone sent people to Greece to oversee the publication of extra presidential ballot papers and then smuggle them to Kenya after they have been marked in Uganda in favour of an individual,” he said.

Marked papers

Mr Odinga claimed that the schemers of the rigging have identified 10,000 polling stations where they will stuff 200 marked papers in each polling station so as to get two million extra votes.

“That’s why Chebukati is refusing the manual register that will tell how many people voted. It’s a must that we have a manual register at each and every polling station alongside the electronic identification of voters. It is not negotiable. Unless that happens, there will be no elections in August,” the Azimio presidential candidate said.

However, Mr Chebukati maintained that there would be no extra ballot papers planned for the August elections.

“The ballot papers are serialised and are specific to every polling station in the country,” Mr Chebukati said.