Dissenting IEBC commissioners: This is why we rejected Chebukati tally of presidential poll

The four diseenting IEBC commissioners w

From left: IEBC commissioners Justus Nyang'aya, Francis Wanderi vice chairperson Juliana Cherera and Irene Masit at the Serena hotel on August 16, 2022. They have rejected the presidential election results announced by chairman Wafula Chebukati.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Four commissioners of the electoral agency yesterday came out to explain the reasons for their rejection of presidential election results that were announced by Chairman Wafula Chebukati on Monday.

They cited what they said was Mr Chebukati’s erroneous aggregation of the final percentages scored by presidential candidates, their being locked out of the last phase of the process, and failure to announce tallies of certain constituencies as key issues that they said rendered the process unconstitutional.

Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit—have disowned the results announced by Mr Chebukati.

On Tuesday, the top Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials said Mr Chebukati sidelined them in the last phase of the process, denying them chance to go through the results before they were announced.

‘Results belong to Chebukati’

“The results of the presidential election ... belong to Mr Chebukati himself and do not represent a declaration and announcement by the IEBC. The Commission has to process the results before they are declared and announced by the chairperson,” said the commissioners in a joint statement read by Ms Cherera.

Mr Chebukati declared William Ruto president-elect with 7,176,141 (50.49 per cent), while his Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party rival Raila Odinga had 6,942,930.

In their statement Tuesday, the four commissioners said Mr Chebukati had, in his declaration, failed to announce the total number of valid votes cast, which they said raises questions over the figures used in the final tally.

“Contrary to the constitution and legislation, the results declared and announced did not indicate the total number of registered voters, the total number of votes cast or the number of rejected votes, if any. In this regard, the results announced by Mr Chebukati lack a critical ingredient, namely the total number of valid votes cast to support the percentages scored by the four candidates,” said the commissioners.

50pc plus one vote

The constitution requires the president-elect to get 50 per cent plus one vote of the total votes cast to secure a first round win. Without the declaration of the total votes cast, the commissioners said, it was not possible to tell the figures that were used to decide the winner.

“Take notice that Mr Chebukati’s aggregation was as follows; Raila Odinga—48.85 percent, William Ruto—50.49 percent, Waihiga Mwaure—0.23 percent, Wajackoyah George—0.44 percent. This brings the total to 100.01 per cent,” the commissioners said, which presents “a mathematical absurdity that defies logic.”

“The 0.01 per cent translates to approximately 142,000 votes, which would make a significant difference in the final result,” they said.

Kenyans were, however, quick to correct the four commissioners, pointing out that 0.01 per cent translates to just about 1,421 votes, if one takes the 14,213,137 as the total valid votes cast, as captured in the IEBC’s press release of the declared results, broken down to tallies in the 47 counties.

Rounding off the figures

Other hawk-eyed Kenyans online also pointed out that the 100.01 per cent, as the total of the results as announced by Mr Chebukati, was possibly due to the IEBC boss rounding off the figures for each candidate.

“In the absence of a credible and verifiable explanation, we concluded that the process that went into the generation of Form 34C which Mr Chebukati used to declare results of the presidential election was opaque and incapable of earning our ownership and confidence,” they said.

They added that the results announced by Mr Chebukati were not approved at plenary by all seven commissioners, which “renders the results unconstitutional to the extent that this are Mr Chebukati’s results as opposed to those of the IEBC.”

Questioned Chebukati’s tabulation

The four commissioners also raised issue with the fact that, by the time the results were declared, results from certain constituencies had not been announced. They also questioned Mr Chebukati’s tabulation of counties where either of the leading candidates got 25 percent of the vote.

“Take notice that Mr Chebukati claimed that Raila Odinga attained 25 percent of votes in 34 counties while William Ruto attained 25 percent in 39 counties—the question is; which figures in the 34 and 39 counties respectively constituted the independent variables to warrant Mr Chebukati’s conclusion of 25 per cent  in 34 counties and 25 percent in 39 counties for Raila and Ruto respectively?” they posed.

Separately, Azimio flag bearer Raila Odinga also rejected Mr Chebukati’s declaration of DP Ruto as President-elect, saying, his coalition is pursuing all available constitutional options.

Disregard to the constitution

Speaking for the first time since the IEBC chairman declared the presidential results on Monday, Mr Odinga claimed Mr Chebukati showed disregard to the constitution by announcing results processed unilaterally.

He further claimed that the chairman was the only person who accessed the presidential tally and informed the commissioners without permitting any discussion of the results.

“The chair acted in disregard to the constitution… Azimio rejects the presidential results announced by Mr Chebukati,” Mr Odinga said.