Third Eye

Chebukati can’t afford to gamble with Kenya, again

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 09:57 | By
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO/John Ochieng
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO/John Ochieng

Independent EBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati is no stranger to harsh criticism from political and judicial corners. Multiple audits have poked holes in either the commission’s policies and process or at the managerial style of the chairman and his commission. The country is on the verge of a tight lection and the conduct of the commission in the run-up to the polls and after is of critical essence.

Multiple audits, including the KPMG report released on Monday, show a commission that is struggling to operate. It is therefore prudent that in the next 47 days the commissioner put their house in order and deliver an impeccable election. 

In the September 2017 Supreme court ruling, the Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu took issue with the electoral body, noting that its failure to verify results was deliberate, systemic and planned. There was an attempt at amending laws sol that some of the technicalities are changed but that fell flat.

Deputy President William Ruto has become increasingly bold in his utterances during his public addresses. In his Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Kakamega, Narok and Kilifi County tours, he repeatedly asked who he is supposed to fear. He has a hand in the government and knows how it operates.

Dr Ruto has said that public officials in charge of ICT in the IEBC claimed that they had data that can determine who is winning or who is losing the elections.

Ruto claimed that many names in his strongholds have been removed from the IEBC register. Eight hundred thousand to one million names. An issue raised in the recent KPMG report, albeit the stronghold element was missing. The Art of War teaches that all warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive. 

Azimio candidate Raila Odinga also raised pertinent issues the IEBC must be seized of if the election is to be transparent and also be seen as transparent. Whereas Chebukati responded on a majority of the issues trying to reassure the country that it’s all systems go he did not inspire confidence but he has got time to forestall an election debacle. Politicians as the central players in any election should also tame their pronouncements towards the commission. Talk that rigging is imminent does little to foster belief in the system.

In his speech during his IEBC clearance, Ruto said that Kenya Kwanza should, “focus on the imminent win God will grant them in this election”. The dauntless approach to the election outcome is at best suspicious and at worst terrifying. Kenya is a relatively young democracy. Interfering with the IEBC is not only belittling the Kenyan mwananchi but also collapsing the very foundation on which we are supposed to build a great country. 

As citizens, we need to be louder in judging the heads of our supposedly sovereign institutions. We need to demand systems that work for us and not an intended percent of the population. Chebukati must be held accountable for his deeds as a public servant. Chebukati needs to put the country above his own will. 

— The writer is a strategic communication consultant and theatre enthusiast—[email protected]

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