Chebukati secretly printed extra result forms, Cherera claims
Electoral commission vice chair Juliana Cherera has claimed chairperson Wafula Chebukati secretly printed a second set of results transmission forms without involving other members of the polls body.
In an affidavit responding to the petitions filed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Martha Karua seeking to nullify the August, 2022 Presidential election, Ms Cherera accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair of running a one man show that shrouded the polls in mystery.
Ms Cherera says on July 21, 2022, she was in Greece with another commissioner, Francis Wanderi to inspect ballot printing by Eyelpidon-based Lykos (Hellas) SA when they discovered that Mr Chebukati had instructed the firm to print two sets of forms 34A.
Form 34A is the primary presidential election results transmission form that is filled out at polling stations.
Court of Appeal in 2017 ruled that results from polling stations filled in form 34A are final, and can only be overturned by the Supreme Court after filing of a petition.
Ms Cherera holds that various political parties protested the discovery of a second set of documents, boxing the IEBC into calling for a meeting with Presidential candidates to resolve the standoff.
The stakeholders resolved to store the second set of documents in a tamper-proof box.
The IEBC commissioner, however, does not state in her affidavit whether the second set of forms 34A are still intact.
In what she terms as a long list of unilateral decisions, Ms Cherera holds that the Mr Chebukati reassigned commissioners and senior staff midway through the tallying process at Bomas of Kenya.
Deputy CEO Ruth Kulundu was moved from head of election operations to protocol duties such as receiving VIPs. Her role was then assigned to a junior staffer who is not named in the affidavit.
Irene Massit, the commissioner in charge of the IEBC’s legal committee, was reassigned to hospitality which covers logistics and security.
Justus Nyang’aya, the commissioner in charge of ICT, was also reassigned to protocol duties.
“The chairperson undertook the foregoing re-designations unilaterally without consultation with the commissioners,” Ms Cherera adds.
Ms Cherera claims that while she was in charge of media briefings, Mr Chebukati would hand her unverified hand-written results to read out to the public.
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The affidavit states that on August 13 Mr Chebukati ordered all returning and presiding officers to first report to him with the physical forms 34A and 34B before taking any other action.
For the first time, details of what occurred on August 15, the declaration date, have emerged.
Ms Cherera claims that Mr Chebukati summoned all commissioners to the boardroom at Bomas of Kenya and handed them a summary of presidential results.
Mr Chebukati claimed to have tallied the results from IEBC’s backend server and verified them.
“The chairperson did not indicate how the errors and concerns raised by the representatives of the Presidential candidates and political parties were dealt with. In the said meeting, the commission once again sought to tally and verify the results but the chairperson indicated that he would announce the results and that the commissioners were at liberty to join him at the podium,” she says.
“On August 15, 2022 the chairperson of the commission proceeded to announce what he termed as the final presidential election results which had not been tallied and verified by the commission,” Ms Cherera adds.