Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati has proposed various reforms aimed at dealing with splits witnessed at the electoral body and alleged intimidation of its officials.
While delivering a presentation at the 2023 ECONEC Symposium in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on November 20, Chebukati called for enacting strict laws to see election officials who push for alteration of election results punished.
He cited interference by politicians and the executive among commissioners as a key challenge witnessed in the August 2022 polls.
The former chairman referred to the split at the Commission, which saw a section of ex-commissioners led by his former deputy Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit, and Justus Nyang'aya oppose the results that saw President William Ruto declared as the winner.
As alleged by Chebukati, the Cherera Four were pushing for the moderation of the results to force a runoff, an allegation that the accused denied.
"The Commission should be left to do its work. All other agencies should merely support and not run the election.
"Enact stringent laws and impose hefty penalties and other serious punishment for members of the commission inclined to change the will of the people expressed on the ballot," Chebukati stated.
On the other hand, the former IEBC boss expressed concern over the growing trend where the Commission's officials, including commissioners, faced death threats while executing their mandate.
Consequently, he proposed a three-action plan to address such incidents, including coordination of security of election officials between state and non-state agencies.
Chebukati also noted that the Executive needs to be called out whenever they interfere with the management of an election.
"Organise national conferences to solicit for peaceful elections and respect to staff," he added
Since the 2017 elections, various election officials have died under mysterious circumstances, including former IEBC ICT boss Chris Msando (2017) and former Embakasi East Returning Officer Daniel Musyoka (2022).
Notably, President William Ruto, on January 17 alleged that there were attempts to abduct and kill Chebukati.
However, the organisers of the alleged plot have not been named to date nor has an inquest been formed to investigate his allegations.
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