Deferred polls: Chebukati, four 'breakaway' commissioners unite for joint meeting

IEBC meeting with candidates affected by deferred polls

Four "breakaway" electoral commissioners have joined their colleagues for a meeting of candidates of postponed elections in eight  elective positions.

The four, vice chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang'aya, and Irene Masit, had disowned presidential elections results declared by chairman Wafula Chebukati.

The commission is currently in a meeting at Bomas of Kenya on the way forward regarding the by-elections that were to be conducted tomorrow but have since been indefinitely postponed.

Those postponed include Mombasa and Kakamega governor elections as well as MP races in Kitui Rural Constituency (Kitui County), Kacheliba Constituency (West Pokot County), Pokot South Constituency (West Pokot County) and Rongai Constituency (Nakuru County).

Voting for Member of County Assembly Ward in Nyaki West (North Imenti Constituency -Meru County), Kwa Njenga (Embakasi South Constituency – Nairobi County) has also been suspended.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had set the by-election for August 23 before postponing it indefinitely last week, citing harassment and intimidation of its staff.

But for Mr Chebukati and the Cherera-led four, the meeting comes amid tensions following their disagreements over the presidential elections results.

In the elections held on August 9, Mr Chebukati declared William Ruto president-elect with 7, 176, 141 votes (50.49 percent). Mr Odinga, who polled 6, 942,930 (48.85 percent), has rejected the results, terming them a nullity.

The four commissioners also rejected the results, citing opacity at the tail end of the process.

Citing a Court of Appeal decision that warned against the “sweeping and boundless power” in Mr Chebukati, the presidential elections returning officer, the four commissioners said the IEBC chairman’s failure to involve them in the final phase of the results declaration was illegal.

“The Commission chairperson has conducted the election as though he is the National Returning Officer, a non-existent role, and his role in declaring results that were not approved at plenary by all seven commissioners renders the results unconstitutional to the extent that this are Chebukati’s results as opposed to those of the IEBC. In keeping with Article 138(2) of the Constitution, there is no national presidential election in Kenya but rather the presidential election is held in each constituency,” the four commissioners said in a statement read by Ms Cherera on Tuesday.