My way or the highway, Chebukati orders

My way or the highway, Chebukati orders
FILE PHOTO: IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati adressing the media after IEBC talks with NASA,Jubilee collapsed

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman, Wafula Chebukati, has now set a raft of conditions for the repeat presidential election slated for next Thursday.

Among the conditions the commission chairman wants met include: resignation of key staff at the Secretariat, dialogue between warring NASA and Jubilee factions and a stop by the political class in meddling with the running of the electoral commission.

While not giving a guarantee of his continued stay at the helm of the commission, Chebukati insisted that the outlined conditions are the only road map to the repeat election, failure to which he cannot guarantee a credible election.

“An election is not about the logistics and operations alone… That credible elections, if they are to meet the high bar set by our Supreme Court require that there be a conducive environment for the voters to exercise their rights,” said Chebukati.

The opposition question

Chebukati further censured opposition chief, Raila Odinga, for withdrawal of his candidature warning such a move disenfranchises his 6 million supporters who voted for him in the first round.

The poll body chair further warned that such a move is detrimental to a country’s economy, drawing examples from democracies like Zimbabwe, Burundi and Thailand , cautioning that withdrawal of candidates with large number of voters only leads to a deeper economic crisis.

“Do we just go on as if this withdrawal means nothing?” posed Chebukati.

Divided Commission

While alluding to internal division, the IEBC chairman indicted a section of his commissioners of a coup to undermine delivery of a credible poll, adding that he cannot move forward with a divided Commission.

“When all the commissioners and staff truly commit to serving the country rather than partisan political interests… then I can truly be confident of having a credible presidential election,”  said Chebukati.

Speaking in the wake of the resignation of IEBC Commissioner, Roselyn Akombe, the poll chair insisted that without critical changes in key Secretariat staff, the commission might not have a free, fair and credible election decrying all his motions pertaining the changes were defeated by a majority of the Commissioners.

“As a lawyer, I cannot continue to be pushed by majority of Commissioners to accept legal opinions that serve partisan interests and are not grounded in the Constitution or the law. In the least, this is intellectual dishonesty for which my professional training demands that I abhor,” said Chebukati.

Chebukati who has in the recent past been deemed to be at loggerheads with IEBC chief executive officer, Ezra Chiloba, expressed dissatisfaction with a section of staff in the commission who have been adversely mentioned as having taken part in the irregularities and illegalities committed in the nullified August 8 election.

“I ask the staff who have been adversely mentioned to step aside and allow the project team to function without interference,”  demanded Chebukati.

Dialogue call

Now, Chebukati has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga to dialogue to ease the current political tensions in the country and warned politicians against polarizing an already charged atmosphere.

“If candidates on all sides put the country first it will affect the quality of decisions they make. They will realize that for the greater good of the country, there are things that they would like to do they will have to stop, and things that they do not want to do that they will have to do for the sake of the country.”

This comes amid calls by opposition to boycott next week’s poll even  as Jubilee Party insists the election must go on as planned with President Kenyatta issuing a stern warning on those planning to disrupt the election.

“I cannot move forward when presidential candidates refuse to put their personal interests aside and for once serve the country,” said Chebukati

On Tuesday, Raila announced a change from the “no reforms no elections” campaign slogan to “no elections on October 26th” campaign.

“I would rather bow out with my name intact and my head lifted high than to be a part of a process where personal interests dwarf the interest of the nation,” he added

Chebukati also called on supporters of the Jubilee Party and NASA coalition to forge together towards a political dialogue which he said will help restore the dignity, genuine independence and respect for our institutions.

“Peace is the end results of all things being done in an open and transparent manner. It is the result of the winner and the losers understanding why they won and why they lost without their confidence in the process wavering at all,” closed Chebukati.


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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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