Chebukati’s new position on credibility of October 26 poll

Chebukati's new position on credibility of October 26 poll
FILE PHOTO: IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

On October 18, 2017 – two weeks to the fresh presidential election held last week – the electoral commission Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, said he could not guarantee a free, fair and credible election.

This was in light to the myriad of challenges the commission was facing at the time.

However, on Sunday, October 29, the IEBC boss seemed to have changed tune now firmly stating that the just concluded election was a credible process that is “above board”.

Addressing the press at Bomas of Kenya, where tallying for the presidential vote was on the final stretch, Chebukati expressed confidence that the electoral team had done a good job, despite the controversy surrounding the election.

“I want to assure you that what we are doing here, as chairman and commissioners, we are satisfied that the process is being done properly, in a free and fair environment. I expressed my concerns on the process, I had my questions and most the concerns I expressed were answered,” he said.

He added: “As chairman, I can confidently stand here and tell you that the process that we are now carrying on is above board. Except for the areas which did not vote, I can confidently say that I am satisfied with this process and the will of people who voted will be realised in these ballots which we are counting here.”

In the October 18 press address that came hours after the resignation of IEBC Commissioner Roselyne Akombe, Chebukati set the stage for political controversy when he seemingly acknowledged that he was a man under siege.

He said: “I have made several attempts to make crucial changes, but all my motions have been defeated by a majority of the commissioners. Under such conditions, it is difficult to guarantee free, fair and credible elections,”

“I am convinced that without critical changes in the key secretariat staff, we may not have a free, fair, and credible election. I ask the staff who have been adversely mentioned to step aside and allow the project team to function without interference,” Chebukati added.

These statements formed political fodder and ammunition for the opposition and critics of the repeat election to call for postponement of the polls.

The commission, however, stood its ground and went ahead to conduct the election, which was boycotted in several regions, mainly opposition strongholds.

The final results of the October 26 election, which has already been contested in court in a petition by activist Okiya Omtatah, will be unveiled today.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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