Tower of Babel as IEBC chiefs trade accusations in affidavits
What you need to know:
- Chebukati says he resisted attempts by top state officials to manipulate presidential election figures in favour of Raila.
- According to Mr Chebukati, the first such approach was made by Azimio executive director Raphael Tuju and former Kitui governor Charity Ngilu on August 13.
- Chebukati says Mr Tuju asked that the results be “moderated in favour of Baba (Mr Odinga)” and that any other result had the potential of plunging the country into chaos.
The electoral commission has rejected the accusations levelled against it by Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga, even as the agency’s chairman Wafula Chebukati and two other commissioners alleged concerted efforts by top government officials to alter results.
In the main response and the separate affidavits by Mr Chebukati, Prof Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu, the three also repeated the accusations they had made that the other four commissioners wanted the results “in order to force a run-off between the two leading candidates”.
“The 2nd Respondent (Mr Chebukati), with the support of two other commissioners, Boya Molu and Abdi Yakub Guliye, declined to alter the results. This decision to decline to unlawfully alter the results is the source of the disagreement between the 1st Respondent's (IEBC) commissioners,” Mr Chebukati says in his affidavit.
In their separate affidavits, Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang’aya, Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi have denied asking for alteration of results.
The responses by the IEBC and its seven commissioners reveal a commission that is dysfunctional and cannot seem to agree on anything.
Mr Wanderi, in his affidavit, admits as much that commissioners “cannot respond to all the issues raised in the petitions in one voice”.
Ms Cherera’s affidavit discloses that Mr Chebukati, Prof Guliye and Mr Molu boycotted a special meeting on Friday by commissioners to work on a position the commission should take to respond to the petitions.
According to the IEBC, the August 9 General Election was conducted transparently and problems only arose at the tail end of the exercise when there were attempts to stop Mr Chebukati from declaring the results.
“The 1st and 2nd respondents aver that the presidential election was conducted in accordance with the Constitution, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Act, the Elections Act, the Regulations thereunder and all other relevant provisions of the law,” the joint response by IEBC and its chairman state.
In response to Azimio’s call that he should face criminal charges for flouting election laws and the Public Officer Ethics Act, Mr Chebukati retorts that it is the former and its agents who should be charged for the chaos that occurred at the Bomas of Kenya auditorium shortly before he announced the results on August 15.
The three commissioners make sensational claims of the concerted efforts by top government officials to alter results to either have Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga declared the winner or force a run-off between Mr Odinga and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate William Ruto.
According to Mr Chebukati, the first such approach was made by Azimio executive director Raphael Tuju and former Kitui governor Charity Ngilu on August 13. However, he declined to grant them an audience.
At 3am on August 15, Mr Chebukati alleges that Mr Tuju was back again, this time accompanied by former Attorney General Amos Wako and lawyer Kyalo Mbobu and they met for about an hour.
“They indicated they had made several attempts to see me to discuss the tallying and results. I told them I could only meet them in the presence of all commissioners,” said Mr Chebukati in his affidavit.
Favourable 'Baba' result
With all the commissioners seated, Mr Chebukati alleges that Mr Wako spoke up first and asked the commission not to operate in a vacuum.
Then Mr Tuju asked that the results be “moderated in favour of Baba (Mr Odinga)” and that any other result had the potential of plunging the country into chaos.
“As an alternative, he suggested that in the event it was not possible to declare ‘Baba’ as the president-elect, then the commission should force a run-off. For this, he indicated that should his request be granted, it would be adequately rewarded,” alleges Mr Chebukati.
These claims are repeated in Prof Guliye’s affidavit while Mr Molu also adopts the IEBC chairman’s averments.
Prof Guliye says when Ms Ngilu and Mr Tuju first came to the tallying centre, they sought an audience to protest the fast-tracking of the verification process.
"That while the commission was still tallying the presidential election results, I was shocked to learn that some people were willing to sabotage the will of the people and had the audacity to request the commission to come to their aid to achieve such reprehensible desires," he says.
According to Mr Chebukati and Prof Guliye, the four dissenting commissioners supported Mr Tuju and Mr Wako’s position while the rest resisted.
On the same morning, the IEBC chairman alleges that he was visited by three members of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC).
The arrival of the team, Mr Chebukati claims, had been notified to him by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
The NSAC team, the IEBC chairman says, were kept waiting from 10am to 2pm when he finally met with them in the presence of the other six commissioners.
The NSAC team, he alleges in court filings, told them that “the country is going to burn” if IEBC declared Mr Ruto as president-elect “then the blood of the dead Kenyans” will be on the commissioners' hands.
Both Mr Chebukati and Prof Guliye claim their four colleagues, who later dissented, agreed to the NSAC team’s proposals to alter results to have Mr Odinga announced or in the alternative, force a run-off. The four, in their separate affidavits, have denied the accusations, stating that all they wanted was the verification of results.
The IEBC chairman and Prof Guliye also say the results of the 27 constituencies could not be announced because of the chaos at Bomas caused by agents of Mr Odinga. Mr Odinga has claimed in his petition that the final results were announced before completing the verification of results from the 27 constituencies.
He has also alleged that the commission rigged the results in favour of Dr Ruto. He wants the Supreme Court to verify, tally and announce him and Martha Karua as president-elect and deputy president-elect, respectively.
The court will hold a pre-trial conference on Tuesday and immediately commence the hearing of the nine election petitions.