Chebukati Under Fire For Ignoring CJ Koome, Working With Maraga

  • IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati(left) and former Chief Justice Davud Maraga(right) at the NCAJ-Civil Society forum on elections on 16 March, 2017.
    IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati(left) and former Chief Justice Davud Maraga(right) at the NCAJ-Civil Society forum on elections on 16 March, 2017.
    David Maraga twitter
  • The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati's move to sideline himself from the elections committee has attracted support and criticism in equal measure from Kenyans.

    In a letter dated Monday, November 29, IEBC withdrew from the elections planning committee for the 2022 general election, citing that the team was infringing the independence of the body. 

    He informed members of the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness and its Technical Working Committee that IEBC would not conform to the pressure to give up on its election mandate as stipulated in the Constitution. 

    “After consultations and in-depth critical appraisal of the terms of reference, IEBC, would wish to respectfully withdraw from further engagement in the activities of the said committee," an excerpt from Chebukati's letter read. 

    Lady Justice Martha Koome while she delivered judgments and rulings of the Court of Appeal via Skype on April 24, 2020.
    Lady Justice Martha Koome while she delivered judgments and rulings of the Court of Appeal via Skype on April 24, 2020.
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    Chebukati's decision to withdraw from the crucial committee just months to next year's poll has however rubbed a section of Kenyans the wrong way. Some argue that Chebukati, who presided over the 2017 election, including a repeat poll, could be having other motives behind infringement of the independence of the body. 

    This, they say, is because Chebukati worked well with the former Chief Justice David Maraga in the 2016-2017 elections planning committee, but unwilling to work with the current CJ Martha Koome on the same. 

    They term this move Chebukati has taken as 'misplaced anger,' saying that they can no longer trust him, unless he gives a genuine reason as to why he has withdrawn from the committee. 

    Some are attributing the unprecedented move by Chebukati to the perceived, bad blood between him and former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga. 

    "Misplaced Anger. We can no longer trust Chebukati. Politics ya pesa nane. When CJ Maraga chaired that one it was just right then. Now CJ Kome is being told to step aside. HYPOCRITES!!," Benedict Owuor Stated.

    "Chebukati, just like Mutunga, dislikes Raila but hides behind office and law. Ministry of Interior, ICT and the judiciary are key players in elections. If they consult and even include IEBC, what is the problem? In fact IEBC will meet all players including candidates. Chebukati ia just being sensational. What if those agencies decide to keep off elections?" a comment from Real Dismus read.

    The Gatundu South Member of Parliament, Moses Kuria, also termed this move as the biggest threat to peace in the country, considering the fact that he plays a critical role in elections. 

    "I support Chebukati in refusing to report to government agencies, but he has refused to be accountable even to political parties who are the stakeholders in elections. He is the biggest risk to a peaceful Kenya," Kuria stated. 

    This arose from the fact that former CJ Maraga chaired the elections preparedness committee meeting in September 2016, and worked well with Chebukati.

    "I thank the chairperson of IEBC, Mr Wafula Chebukati, for the leadership he has continued to provide to the Commission as it prepares for the elections. We have continued to engage with his team and all other key institutions in the justice chain under the aegis of the National Council on the Administration of Justice to ensure that each one of them is playing its role on electoral matters," Maraga stated during the elections conference in 2017. 

    The committee comprised of the IEBC, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome (Judiciary), Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (Treasury) CS Joe Mucheru (ICT), Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Philip Kameru - Director General National Intelligence Service (NIS), Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai (National Police Service). 

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    Chief Justice David Maraga addresses a gathering in Nyamira County in December 2020
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