In Summary
  • Mr Chebukati painted the picture of a commission which is deeply divided, and which has been taken hostage by political interests, with commissioners acting as stooges of rival political parties.

  • Mr Chebukati said he would organise a meeting of all the presidential candidates to prevail upon them to put Kenya first.

  • In her resignation letter, Dr Akombe blamed a divided commission that she said had made her take positions she never believed in.

Electoral commission chief Wafula Chebukati on Wednesday cast doubts on the possibility of holding credible elections next week, blaming it on a sharply divided commission and a creepy political class.

Mr Chebukati, who said he would not quit his job, asked both Jubilee and opposition coalition leaders to keep off Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) staff,  and told top secretariat managers who have been adversely linked to electoral malpractices to resign, to pave the way for free, fair and credible elections.

He painted the picture of a commission which is deeply divided, and which has been taken hostage by political interests, with commissioners acting as stooges of rival political parties.

“Under such conditions, it is difficult to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. I am convinced that without critical changes in key secretariat staff, we may not have a free, fair and credible election. I ask the staff who have been adversely mentioned to step aside and allow the project team to function without interference,” he said, referring to a group of managers he recently mandated to manage the October 26 presidential election.

MEETING

Mr Chebukati said he would organise a meeting of all the presidential candidates to prevail upon them to put Kenya first.

“I know there are elements who would love nothing more than to hear me announce my resignation at this point. In reality, that will be the easier thing to do, but we all have to put Kenya first and that is why I am determined to make this commission work,” the besieged chairman told journalists at the Bomas of Kenya.

He spoke just eight hours after commissioner Roselyn Akombe, the vocal official in charge of election operations, fled the country and resigned while in New York, USA.

“She was one of our finest and it is sad that we could not provide an environment for such minds to find full expression without fear for their lives,” Mr Chebukati said and urged Jubilee and Nasa leaders to shelve their hardline stances and resolve the differences that have led to heightened tensions across the country, in addition to holding the commission hostage to their interests. He asked the leaders to allow the commission to conduct its affairs independently, saying it was the only way to a free and fair election.

WARNING

“As a referee I want to issue a stern warning to the players in this game on all sides that they should stop all attempts to interfere with the process. Let me and my commission do our job and we shall deliver. Interfere as you have been doing and we get stuck as a country,” he said.

In her resignation letter, Dr Akombe blamed a divided commission that she said had made her take positions she never believed in.

“Sometimes, you walk away, especially when potentially lives are at stake. The commission has become a party to the current crisis. The commission is under siege,” she said in a statement she sent out at 5.30 am.

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