After presiding over his second general election the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Mr Wafula Chebukati, is set to call it a day. Mr Chebukati, who has been in the spotlight over the last two elections on the way he handled presidential results, is expected to proceed on terminal leave in October pending his retirement in January 2023.
Wafula Wanyonyi Chebukati was appointed to the position on a six-year tenure in January 2017 by the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta following his nomination in December 2016.
The Saturday Nation reports that Mr Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu are set to proceed on three-month terminal leave next month before retiring by 18th January.
Mr Chebukati’s exit will leave the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the hands of Vice-Chairperson Juliana Cherera, who led three other commissioners – Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya – in rejecting presidential results announced by Mr Chebukati in which William Ruto beat Raila Odinga.
The four were among petitioners who filed a case against Chebukati at the Supreme Court. The case was dismissed and Supreme Court upheld Ruto’s election. It is understood that there’s a coordinated scheme to have the four commissioners out of IEBC before Mr Chebukati and his team officially exit.
After the Supreme Court Ruling, the four adopted a conciliatory tone, lauding the decision of upholding the victory of President elect William Ruto.
In a statement singled out the ruling on the court decision on the chairperson verses the role of commissioners in the commission. “We wish to convey our appreciation to the honourable judges of the Supreme Court of Kenya and confirm that we respect their collective decision,” they stated. “We also state here that we agree with the statement of the Chairperson of the commission which was sent to the media yesterday,” they said in the statement.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga has already sounded a warning to the commission against the planned purge. Mr Odinga threatened to initiate disbandment of the commission should any of the targeted officials be fired. “We know he (Chebukati) is now trying to do what he calls reforms at IEBC,” Raila said. “All those officers who resisted the temptation are now being targeted.”
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