Former chairman of IEBC, Wafula Chebukati, has stepped forward to challenge the opposition’s claims of vote rigging. Chebukati took to social media to assert the transparency of the electoral process, adding fuel to the fire ignited by US Ambassador Meg Whitman’s recent characterization of the polls as the most credible in Kenya’s history.
“Fact: 99.9 percent of presidential result forms were electronically transmitted to the public portal within 24 hours of polls,” Chebukati stated emphatically in a tweet.
The former chairman, who had largely maintained a low profile since his departure from the commission in January, defended the conduct of the election despite the controversies that marred his six-year term.
Chebukati’s tenure oversaw not one but two disputed presidential elections, including the infamous 2017 vote that was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.
The aftermath of the 2022 presidential election continues to stir controversy, with the opposition, led by former prime minister Raila Odinga, maintaining that the victory was stolen from them.
The opposition’s call for a forensic audit of the electoral commission’s results transmission and vote tallying systems has added to the tension. Odinga’s frustration was palpable when he vehemently criticized Ambassador Whitman’s comments, even dubbing her the “rogue ambassador.”
The opposition’s Azimio One Kenya Alliance coalition questions the integrity of the results that led to President William Ruto’s victory on August 15, 2022. Allegations of unauthorized access to the electoral commission’s systems and manipulation of results have further fueled the dispute.
The Supreme Court, however, dismissed these claims and upheld Ruto’s victory. In a unanimous decision, the seven judges recommended comprehensive administrative and policy reforms to safeguard the integrity of the electoral commission’s election technology and address governance issues.
“We believe that by restricting access to the electoral commission’s servers and ensuring separation between election and administrative systems, we can enhance the credibility of future elections,” the judges noted in their ruling.
The court proceedings themselves were marked by a dramatic split within the commission, as one faction defended the results while the other faction discredited them.
The complexity of the situation was evident, with four of the seven commissioners in the “Cherera faction” criticizing the results and highlighting their opacity.
The fallout from the election has left the electoral commission in a state of flux. Chebukati and two other commissioners retired in January, following the earlier forced exits of the Cherera Four. Juliana Cherera and Irene Masit, the only former commissioners, have chosen self-imposed exile out of concerns for their safety.
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