People Daily
3 instances Chebukati has been at loggerheads with State agencies
3 days ago
3 instances Chebukati has been at loggerheads with State agencies

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati has been at loggerheads with State agencies ahead of the August 9 general election.

Chebukati, who has always insisted that his commission is independent and does not take orders from anyone, has always dismissed advice from State agencies that should be working with the commission closely.

Here are a few instances that Chebukati has been at crossroads with State agencies.

On Monday, November 29, 2021, Chebukati skipped a meeting organised by the then National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness Committee.

He argued that there was a lot of pressure from the members of the powerful committee risking IEBC's independence to oversee this year's polls.

The members of the committee included the Director General of Communications Authority of Kenya Ezra Chiloba, Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome, National Intelligence Service (NIS) DG Philip Kameru, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (Treasury), CS Joe Mucheru (ICT), Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai (National Police Service).

Others were Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, Chairman Council of Governors Martin Wambora, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, and Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu.

On July 1, 2022, Commission on University Education (CUE) wrote directly to IEBC Chair to revoke the certificate of Johnson Sakaja whose university degree certificate had been questioned.

However, in a response letter to CUE, Chebukati the only way the IEBC could revoke Sakaja's nomination was through a court order setting aside the decision of the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC).

He cited a Supreme Court decision in the degree case of Wajir Governor Mohamed Mahamud that set out the principles governing pre-election disputes.

He said the court ruled that where an election petition has been concluded by IEBC's DRC or the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT), or the court, the dispute can no longer be ground in a petition for an election.

Chebukati's decision forced CUE to withdraw a letter that canceled the authenticity of Sakaja's degree.

On July 23, Chebukati differed with DCI over the seizure of election materials and arrest of three Venezuelan nationals contracted by Smartmatic ahead of the August 9 polls.

Smartmatic is a technology firm that has been contracted by IEBC to conduct the general election.

The IEBC chairman released a statement condemning what he termed as harassment of the agency's officials.

"They (officials) have to appear before the OCS Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, with the implication that the commission is now not able to prepare for the elections," Chebukati said.

However, in a quick rejoinder, the DCI released a statement dismissing the IEBC's argument.

"There is no OCS Anti Terrorism Police Unit in our structure. The statement issued by the IEBC Chairman is not only inaccurate but also misleading to the public and should be treated with the contempt it deserves," the DCI said.

It is unclear how the two agencies resolved the issue since a week later, they conducted a joint press conference promising to work together to deliver the August 9 polls.