Chebukati kicks out all commissioners from IEBC WhatsApp group

Chebukati executed the move amid division at the Commission

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati during a meeting with Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) officials ahead of the 2022 elections on July 1, 2022

Drama has ensued at the Inedpendent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) after chairman Wafula Chebukati reportedly kicked out all commissioners from the commission’s WhatsApp group.

Well-placed sources intimated to NTV on 27 August that Chebukati executed the move as the commission prepares for an epic battle at the Supreme Court.

The move caught many of the commissioners unawares, and came at a time when their relationship has been frosty and tense with communication reducing to a trickle and finally being cut at the once-active group.

Reports further indicate that by virtue of his position and being one of the longest-serving commissioners at the electoral body, Chebukati was the admin of the group.

The declaration of William Ruto as the president-elect was the final blow to the commission that was struggling to put up a united front while overseeing a hotly-contested presidential election.

The results of the exercise saw four commissioners distance themselves from the outcome, disowning the results at a parallel press conference and making it clear that the process was opaque and handled by Chebukati alone in blatant violation of the constitution.

Commissioners Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyangaya, and Irene Masit - dismissed Chebukati’s claims and raised pertinent issues on how the IEBC chairman acted in regard to the just-concluded August 9 polls.

We wish to categorically state that from his statement, the chairman Mr Chebukati appears to have misconstrued his role and that of the commissioners and further misunderstood his Constitutional and legal mandate to verify results by the Commission to mean what he vaguely characterized as ‘moderation’ of those results,” Cherera slammed.

“The chairman went ahead to unilaterally declare the results without any plenary verification whatsoever by all the commissioners and/or their participation as mandated by the Constitution and electoral laws.

"His actions and conduct were unorthodox and turned the commission into a one-man show circus, in an attempt to subvert the Constitution, electoral laws, and the will of the people,” noted the commissioners in their statement.

At least eight petitions have been filed at the Supreme Court of Kenya challenging president-elect William Ruto’s win.

In yet another controversial move that will see the taxpayer cough out at least 520 million shillings, the commission has appointed 26 law firms to handle the petitions at the Supreme court.

Interestingly, the commissioners are divided even at this level with some commissioners appointing their own lawyers and insisting that IEBC should foot the bill.

“They (IEBC) should (foot the bill) because we are staff of the commission and whatever we did was on behalf of the commission,” Wanderi said.

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