Raila: Chebukati is a criminal who should be prosecuted, jailed
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has described the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati as “a criminal who should be prosecuted and sentenced to jail” over his role in the August General Election.
In an exclusive interview with Citizen TV, Mr. Odinga, who ran for presidency and lost to William Ruto, accused Chebukati of committing a “crime against humanity,” even as the IEBC boss recently termed the August polls as the best he has ever presided over.
Chebukati on Saturday said he has no regrets as he leaves office after six years at the helm of the electoral body, saying he is proud of “strengthening” the commission.
In response, Mr. Odinga dismissed Chebukati as a person of “low standards” who oversaw the alleged rigging of votes at the commission’s tallying centers.
“In my view, Mr Chebukati is a criminal who should be prosecuted and sentenced to jail. What he has committed is a great crime against the humanity and people of this country,” the Azimio chief told Citizen TV’s Trevor Ombija.
“I believe strongly that he, not the other four commissioners, should be in the dock,” he added, referring to Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Justus Nyang’aya and Francis Wanderi, who disowned the presidential election results.
Three of the four have since resigned from the commission, with Masit the only one remaining and who is now being probed by a tribunal appointed by President Ruto after petitions were filed challenging their suitability to hold office.
While the four claimed that the results announced on August 15, 2022 were arrived at in an “opaque” manner, Commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye stood by Chebukati and have all lined up to testify against Masit before the tribunal.
According to Mr. Odinga, his presidential campaign and the August polls were conducted well, save for vote-rigging which he claims was rampant at the tallying centre.
“Kenyans voted effectively and the process was fairly smooth, the only issue was to do with presidential elections and this was messed up at the tallying centre,” said Mr. Odinga.
“For the first time, Kenyans saw an electoral commission that was divided, not in the middle, but four out of seven commissioners disputed the results, meaning a majority of the commissioners said the results were not a reflection of how Kenyans had voted,” he added.
He accused Chebukati of splitting the electoral body by “gazetting himself as the Returning Officer of the presidential election and declaring results which he himself knows where he got them from.”
The Supreme Court quashed Mr. Odinga’s petition challenging the results, terming some of the evidence his lawyers presented before the apex court as “hot air.”
Of this, Mr. Odinga said; “It is a tragedy of justice and it was an even bigger tragedy when the Supreme Court confirmed that blatant kind of rigging of elections.”
“I am not bitter because the elections are not for Raila Odinga, it is for Kenyans. We want an audit of these results so that Kenyans can have confidence come 2027 that they can go to the polls, cast their votes and that their votes will count,” he added.
The ODM party boss further responded to claims that he lost because he reportedly listened to only three people in his team; Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, former ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and his campaign secretariat spokesperson Makau Mutua.
Mr. Odinga labeled this claim as “absolute rubbish,” adding that those issues are beyond the duty of his chief agent Saitabao Kanchory, who raised the matter in an interview last week.
“His duty was at the Bomas of Kenya, not the campaigns or the agents,” he said.
Mr. Odinga maintained that it was not the responsibility of his agents to prevent election rigging but that of the IEBC.
“Kenyans spent billions of shillings this year and the electoral commission has a responsibility of hiring Returning Officers. There is no need for candidates to hire agents. The electoral commission should not tell you that you did not have agents, it is their responsibility to conduct a free and fair election,” said Mr. Odinga.
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