Cherera Four wanted Ruto’s votes slashed, added to rejected votes – Guliye
Abdi Guliye, the outgoing commissioner of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), insists that a section of the commissioners wanted the results of the August 2022 presidential election manipulated to favour Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga.
Testifying before a tribunal led by Justice Aggrey Muchelule on Monday, January 23, Guliye said the four commissioners led by then-IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera sided with some members of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC), who wanted the results altered to declare Raila the winner of the polls or in the worst case scenario force a runoff.
Guliye told the tribunal that a team from NSAC led by former Principal Administrative Secretary at the office of President Kennedy Kihara visited the national tallying centre hours before IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati declared the results on August 15, 2022, and warned the commissioners against declaring presidential results in favour of President William Ruto.
Others in Kihara's company were Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, former Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and Vice Chief of Defence. LT. General Francis Omondi Ogolla.
"I recall after we went into the boardroom the visitors also joined us led by Mr. Kihara and that was the team. They were four in total and he (Kihara) was the only one who spoke. He said they were visiting on behalf of the main committee on NSAC and he stressed that the committee was purposely chosen," Guliye stated.
During the meeting that took place at around 2pm, Guliye said the commissioners were warned that if they declared Ruto the winner "the country would burn."
"He went on to tell us reasons for their visitation and that if we declare the results in favour of William Ruto the country was going to burn. We were even threatened that should Kenyans begin to fight each other, then the blood of those Kenyans will be in our hands," he recounted.
"As an alternative then the message was that we should ensure that we have a runoff. They wanted us to announce Hon. Raila. We did not have any results as of that time."
The chairman, commissioners Guliye and Boya Molu declined the request, saying they would follow the law and declare whoever won as president-elect.
After the meeting with NSAC members, Guliye said, the commissioner remained behind and IEBC CEO Hussein Marjan presented the final results of the presidential election.
He said the results indicated that Ruto had won the election sparking a debate in the boardroom with Cherera and commissioners Justus Nyang’aya, Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi suggesting that the team moderate the results to force a run-off given the narrow margin the Kenya Kwanza Alliance leader had won with.
Guliye said the four commissioners asked Chebukati to allow the electoral body to alter the election results by "moving votes the candidate has won with to rejected votes".
According to Guliye, the commissioners were of the opinion that transferring votes to the rejected slot would create a parity that would necessitate a runoff.
The 'Chebukati Three', however, rejected the proposal and went ahead to declare the results as presented by the CEO.
Cherera and her team would later issue a press conference at Serena Hotel disowning the results on grounds that the final tally was opaque.
Guliye appeared before the tribunal during the hearing of the allegations against Masit, who is the only commissioner under probe by the tribunal after the other three resigned.