Electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati now says that the four commissioners who broke ranks over the declaration of the presidential election results had unsuccessfully pushed for a re-run.
In a statement, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) boss said the four had wanted him to declare that none of the candidates hit the 50 per cent plus one mark to secure a first round win, and which would have forced a re-run pitting the two leading candidates.
This, Mr Chebukati says, would have been against the law and a betrayal of the commissioners’ oath of office.
IEBC Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya, and Irene Masit rejected Mr Chebukati’s declaration of William Ruto as president-elect, citing opacity on the part of Mr Chebukati.
But in a statement, Mr Chebukati says the four commissioners were not telling the whole story.
“During a briefing meeting held on August 15, 2022 at around 3pm before the final declaration of the Presidential Election results, the four commissioners i.e. Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit demanded that the chairperson moderates the results for purpose of forcing an election re-run contrary to their oath of office,” Mr Chebukati said in a statement.
He went on: “This is tantamount to subverting the Constitution and the sovereign will of the people of Kenya. The chairperson refused to yield to this unconstitutional and illegal demand and proceeded to declare the results of the presidential election as received from the polling stations, and contained in Form 34A, in accordance with the law.”
While the four commissioners insisted that they had a role to play before the declaration of the results, Mr Chebukati shot back, saying such a responsibility was not shared.
“This constitutional mandate falls squarely on the chairman of the commission, who is the National Returning Officer as gazetted in Notice No. 4956 of 28th April 2022. The role of national returning officer for presidential election is not a shared responsibility and not subject to plenary decisions of the commission. All returning officers including the national returning officer for presidential election took an individual oath of secrecy before embarking on their duties,” Mr Chebukati said.
He added: “In addition, the chairperson and commissioners took oath of office at the time of appointment. It is an oath of office that the chairperson faithfully executed, when he declared the results for the presidential election on Monday, 15th August 2022.”
On Monday, the four commissioners issued a statement saying that they could not associate themselves with the results as the process was “opaque”.