Chebukati Decision Sparks Divisions Among Lawyers

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A section of lawyers in the country have differed on whether Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati erred in declaring William Ruto as President-Elect without the concurrence of four other commissioners including Vice-Chairperson Juliana Cherera.

This comes after four of the seven commissioners of the IEBC addressed a press conference from Serena and disowned the results due to what they described as the opaqueness of the process during the final phase.

‘We have done the 2022 general elections in the most effective and efficient manner and ensured all the challenges have been contained but some things need to be put out there. We are rejecting the results the Chairman is about to announce at the Bomas of Kenya due to the opaqueness of the process during the final phase,” she said.

First to fire the salvo was Makau Mutua who is also the Azimio la Umoja coalition presidential campaign spokesman who stated that the results declared by Chebukati were of no effect because it was not backed by a majority of the Commissioners.

 “Any results IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati announces are invalid because he had no quorum of commissioners to hold a plenary and make such a weighty decision. The ongoing process at Bomas is now illegal.”

However, another Senior Counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi defended Chebukati not that the law recognizes the IEBC Chairman as the sole returning officer of the Presidential Election.

“A Presidential election has a single Returning Officer…THE CHAIRMAN…other Commissioners have no role in a presidential election,” he said in a post on his Twitter account.

Former Law Society of Kenya Chairman Nelson Havi equally backed Chebukati as he advised Mutua and his team to challenge the declaration in a court of law.

“The Returning Officer for the election of President is the Chairperson of IEBC and not Commissioners. Attempts to change this through amendments of the law failed. Only Wafula Chebukati can and will declare the President-elect. That declaration can only be challenged in Court,” Havi

Lawyer Steve Ogolla on his part said Article 138(10) of the Constitution provides that the Chairperson of IEBC shall declare the results of the presidential election.”The law does not demand quorum. Differently put, a walkout by four Commissioners taints but does not invalidate the results,” Ogolla stated.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said he has done his job despite intimidation and harassment.

“I feel proud that I have been given this opportunity to serve Kenyans. Despite intimidation, harassment and I have done my duty in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the land,” he stated.

President-Elect William Ruto has showered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission with praises for what he described as clear efforts to raise the bar in the concluded August 9 General Election.

He lauded Chebukati for his efforts to make the elections transparent.

“I want to say without any fear of contradiction, that one Wafula Chebukati is our hero. Soft-spoken but firm. I want to tell you Mr. Chairman we are very proud that without informing any of us, you put all the results from all the polling stations on a public portal that every Kenyan could access,” Ruto said.

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