Dissenting Commissioners: We were not involved in tallying or verification
The fallout at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has been front and centre at the electoral petition hearing with the four dissenting commissioners accusing Chairperson Wafula Chebukati of usurping all executive authority.
While responding to queries by the court, lawyers representing Deputy Chairperson Julian Cherera, Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi, and Justus Nyangaya said since the four joined the IEBC in September last year, they have had to contend with every decision being made by the chairperson who operated on a basis of a settled firm but palacious conviction.
Justice Lenaola had challenged the four commissioners to explain what they were doing at Bomas of Kenya during the verifying, tallying, and announcements of presidential results, and was their walkout an afterthought.
In their affidavits, the four have indicated verbal protests were going back as far as April 2022, with the commissioners hiding their frustrations from the public for fear of eroding public confidence in the IEBC ahead of the elections.
“There is no doubt that they were not involved in the tallying or varying of the results at Bomas,” said Advocate Jotham Arwa.
President-elect William Ruto’s lawyers sought to water down the claims of the four commissioners being alienated saying, “The commissioners attended all the meetings on the electoral process. They made 70 per cent of the announcements they had no one stopping them.”
The commissioners on the other hand are claiming they were given results sporadically to read by the chairperson.
They state further, in a memo to the Wafula Chebukati dated April 12, 2022, the three commissioners, Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyangaya, and Francis Wanderi protested being blocked from corporate decision-making in the areas of policymaking and oversight.
On Thursday, Senior Counsel Abdikadir Mohamed submitted that the four commissioners are either negligent or unaware of their functions saying, “It will be absurd to say that the only verification that is acceptable under the law is verification by commissioners. What would we make of tallying and verification at the counties and constituencies where no commissioner is present.”
The four commissioners have told the court, that the commission continued acting as a corporate entity but with serious corporate governance issues, sighting the holding of elections on August 9, as an example of functionality.
The allegation by Wafula Chebukati that the four commissioners sort modification of the results to force a re-run, their lawyer Paul Muite said, “All they wanted is to be given the opportunity to peruse the results of the 27 polling stations to satisfy themselves as to who the winner of the elections was.”
They also claimed that the violence at Bomas was avoidable if the commission had taken the opportunity to announce the results in the morning.