- According to Chebukati, these alleged incidences were orchestrated with the aim of incapacitating the commission and preventing it from doing its work properly or slowing down the process.
- He claimed some IEBC Returning Officers faced threats from candidates themselves, their agents and even their supporters.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati has narrated how the commission’s officials were allegedly subjected to intimidation, profiling, harassment, abduction, even killings – in some instances – in the course of carrying out their duties in the lead up to the 2022 General Election as well as during tallying of the results.
According to Chebukati, these alleged incidences were orchestrated with the aim of incapacitating the commission and preventing it from doing its work properly or slowing down the process.
He, in his replying affidavit to Raila Odinga’s Supreme Court petition challenging the presidential poll results, claimed some IEBC Returning Officers faced threats from candidates themselves, their agents and even their supporters.
He cited the case of Embakasi East Returning Officer Daniel Musyoka who disappeared on August 11, 2022, only to later be found dead in Loitoktok, Kajiado County. Musyoka was buried in Mwala, Machakos County, on Friday.
“On 12th August, 2022 the office of the acting Director, Voter Registration and Electoral Operations, Mr. Moses Sunkuli was broken into by persons. The breaking in was done despite the fact that a police station was hardly 10 metres away and there were over 150 police officers deployed within Bomas of Kenya,” Chebukati said in the affidavit.
“In the course of tallying some of the Commission staff who were assisting with populating form 34C were profiled and openly threatened. In the auditorium, there were chants of the names “Sunkuli”, “Balang”, and “Abdi” by the Petitioners agents and their supporters. It is no coincidence that Mr. Gideon Balang was subsequently abducted.”
He added: “Commission staff, who were assisting me in printing the verified results and the IT staff who were uploading data at the National Tallying Centre were threatened with arrest. The interference and threats were so much to the extent that some of the staff members sought refuge in my office to avoid rowdy persons who had invaded the tallying centre and seemed to enjoy the protection of the police.”
The IEBC boss went ahead to alleged that another commission official, Benjamin Kimwei, was arrested on August 13, 2022 and detained incommunicado for 5 days, after which attempts to prosecute him were thwarted by the DPP.
He told of IEBC call centre service provider Japhet Dibo who reportedly went missing after an assignment at the Bomas of Kenya, only to later be released after a report was filed and investigations conducted by Kilimani Police Station.
“The operations manager of MFI Technologies, Mr. Mitul Shah and his colleague were beaten up by goons at the national tallying centre while servicing photocopying and scanning machines. The extent of force meted upon them could only have been designed to ensure stoppage of printing and scanning services and thereby impede the verification and tallying processes,” Chebukati added.
“A Constituency Returning Officer by the name Lydia Chepkemei was harassed by goons who found her in her car having arrived to deliver results forms at the national tallying centre. It took intervention of officials and police to get her to safety.”
He also stated: “On the night of 14th August, 2022, electricity supply was disconnected at the Bomas of Kenya which hosted the tallying centre for the presidential election. As a result, all tallying centre operations had to rely on back-up generators overnight. I verily believe that this was an act of sabotage.”
Further, Chebukati accused Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Chief Agent Saitabao Kanchory of profiling IEBC staff on the basis of ethnicity in public rallies and in writing to the commission.
“Officials of Smartmatic Inc., a company contracted by the Commission to provide ICT equipment and support were arrested and detained at the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU). This was despite the clarification to the police by the Commission that they were in the country legally to offer technical support to the Commission,” added the electoral body Chairman.
“The officials were eventually released without any charges. Shortly thereafter the Chief Executive Officer of that company was threatened and had to quickly leave the country fearing for his life. I verily believe that the intention of intimidating the provider of the technology was to incapacitate the Commission as it carried out the tallying.”