The Story of New IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

  • As the August 8 election date draws nearer, all eyes will be on Mr Wafula Wanyonyi Chebukati - the newly appointed IEBC Chairman and the man who will be leading the country through a General Election expected to be one of the most hotly-contested polls.

    Little was known about Mr Chebukati until President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated him for the IEBC Chairperson's post and was thereafter confirmed for the position after he was vetted and approved by Parliament.

    Kenyans.co.ke has conducted a background check and compiled more information about the new IEBC chairman.

    1. Education Background

    Mr Chebukati graduated from the University of Nairobi with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree in 1985 and was admitted to the roll of Advocates in 1986.

    The new IEBC boss also holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) that he attained in 2014 from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

    2. Has a Law Firm

    Having been enlisted in the roll of advocates in 1986 and practised law for over 30 years, Mr Chebukati has a law firm known as Cootow & Associates Advocates.

    The firm offers one-stop shop legal services ranging from maritime to shipping, company secretary to aviation laws, arbitration, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) insurance to banking and commercial law practices.

    Mr Chebukati has specialised in legal practice in the fields of International commerce, trade and investment law, Corporate law, governance and environmental law.

    3. Vied for Saboti Parliamentary Seat in 2007

    While appearing in Parliament for vetting, Mr Chebukati divulged that he vied for the Saboti parliamentary seat in 2007.

    Unfortunately, he lost to the current Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa who vied for the seat on a Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket. Since then, he has never sought a political seat. 

    4. Quit ODM Party a Few Weeks Before Applying for IEBC Job

    The lawyer had been a life member of the Orange party but only quit a few weeks before he applied for the IEBC post.

    “Prior to this appointment, I resigned as a life member of the Orange Democratic Movement Party and I am currently not a member of any political party,” IEBC Chairperson declared.

    5. Despite Being ODM Member, Chebukati Last Met Odinga in 2007

    The IEBC boss refuted claims that he enjoyed a good relationship with ODM leader Raila Odinga. Chebukati surprised the house committee when he claimed that he had never met the Opposition leader since 2007.

    “I last met the ODM leader in 2007, when he came to Saboti during the 2007 General Election campaigns, together with Honourable (William) Ruto, and the other Pentagon Members. They came, they campaigned and they left and that is the last time I interacted with Right Honourable Raila, I have not met him up to now and that is the position,” he told the House team

    6. Chebukati’s law firm is Accused of Making Nairobi County lose Sh325 Million

    Chebukati’s law firm, Cootow & Associates, was sucked into a dispute over the ownership of Westlands market.

    The firm officially represented the Nairobi City County Government in the case between City Hall and Salima Enterprises, but the firm did not defend the suit, leading the county to lose the case.

    Consequently, the plaintiff sought a Sh325 Million compensation which the county agreed to pay.

    However, Chebukati’s law firm was exonerated after the court ruled that Nairobi County failed to produce evidence showing the law firm failed to defend the case. 

    7. He Separated From his Family in 2008

    Mr Chebukati told the House Committee that he was separated from his family during the 2007-08 post-election violence.

    He also vowed never to try his luck at politics after he witnessed several cases of electoral malpractice and the pain he endured with his family after the 2007 polls.

    8. Chebukati was Philip Kinisu's Lawyer 

    The IEBC boss was the legal representative for former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairman Philip Kinisu who resigned amid pressure over his alleged involvement in the infamous National Youth Service (NYS) scandal.

    Mr Kinisu's company is alleged to have fraudulently received sh35 Million from NYS.

    9. Expert in Golf

    The lawyer has a particular interest in golf and has served as the Captain and chairman of both Mombasa and Nyali Golf clubs.

    Currently, Mr Chebukati is a member of the Kenya Golfing Society.

    10. Promise to Kenyans After he was Appointed IEBC Boss

    In his acceptance speech after being sworn in, Mr Chebukati pledged to conduct a free, fair, credible and transparent election on August 8, adding that his team will not repeat the mistakes that led to disputed elections in the past.

    "Our short-term goal is to deliver a free, fair and credible election which is 200 days away. We must, therefore, hit the ground running by ensuring all the processes and systems involved are in place," said Chebukati.

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