Stop meddling in polls, Chebukati tells leaders

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati yesterday told politicians to stop meddling in the preparations for the forthcoming repeat presidential poll.

He argued that such intervention was making it hard for the agency to deliver a free, fair and credible election.

Mr Chebukati said that both the National Super Alliance (Nasa) and Jubilee Party were interfering with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), noting that their actions could compromise the October 26 poll.

“My warning to all parties is that they should sit back and let my commissioners do their job. They shouldn’t interfere with the commission. With the rapid twisting and turn of events between August election and now, we have to move together as one people,” he said at a Press conference at the Bomas of Kenya.

Mr Chebukati spoke hours after IEBC commissioner Roselyn Akombe resigned and fled the country, saying “the commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on October 26”.

A section of Nasa MPs speaking at a Press briefing in Parliament asked Mr Chebukati to resign, citing lack of independence and political interference from Jubilee Party.

MPs Opiyo Wandayi (Unguja), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) and Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) said Dr Akombe’s message in her statement of resignation had revealed that the commission was an appendage of Jubilee.

“Resignation would be the easiest thing, but I am determined to make this work. I will not go down as the chairman who plunged the country into a deeper crisis,” Mr Chebukati said, vowing not to resign.

Mega demonstrations

Addressing a rally at Kamukunji grounds yesterday, Nasa leader Raila said the coalition will hold mega demonstrations countrywide on the stipulated election day.

“We will continue to demand the fulfillment of the irreducible minimums. For the last time we continue to dialogue with the IEBC to no avail. Chebukati’s statement today confirms that the IEBC takes instructions from State House,” he said.

Mr Odinga said the party’s slogan had since changed from, “No reforms, no elections” to “October, no elections”.

“We must agree on creating an enabling environment for elections. We must sit down and negotiate. The right of the people of Kenya must be respected,” he said.

Earlier, President Uhuru Kenyatta at a Press briefing called on Kenyans to pray for the country as it prepares to hold the fresh presidential election.

“After consultations with religious leaders, I have reached this decision to call on all Kenyans to pray for their country in their mosques, temples and churches, culminating in a National Day of Prayer on Sunday 22nd October 2017,” he said.

The Supreme Court annulled results of the August 8 polls, citing irregularities and called for fresh elections to be conducted within 60 days that are set to lapse on October 31.

While addressing a Jubilee rally in Nanyuki, Mr Kenyatta warned Kenyans against attacking IEBC officials and interfering with the polls.

“Whoever will try to stop the elections, by attacking IEBC officials, firm action will be taken against them,” he said.