The most public of the disagreements at the commission was when on September 5, Mr Chebukati wrote a 12-page damning memo to Mr Chiloba, the chief executive, before four commissioners ganged up and disowned the show-cause letter.

“A quick perusal of the memo shows that the allegations are based on some report or information that has not been brought to the attention of the commission,” the commissioners led by vice-chairperson Connie Nkatha Bucha said in the statement.

Since most of the issues in the leaked memo appeared similar to what Mr Odinga raised in his Supreme Court petition, Nasa has repeatedly used the ugly episode to paint a picture of a chairman hanging by the thread — a good man, they say, who has been held hostage by Jubilee-leaning commissioners.

JUBILEE

“It is now evident that Jubilee is firmly in charge of IEBC through four commissioners who have set out to implement the Jubilee agenda within the commission,” Mr Odinga told journalists at the Okoa Kenya offices in Lavington, Nairobi, when he withdrew from the race.

He said the “conservative wing of the IEBC” had a firm grip on the operations of the commission, with every decision of the chairman being “countermanded”.

But sources within the IEBC told the Nation of a man they said was well-meaning and one who had purposed to reach out to all sides before making a decision.

How much this prevarication can be blamed on the lawyer or the push and pull within or without the commission, can only remain a matter of conjecture. But any more equivocation from the chairman only two weeks to poll day could be preparing the country for another election fraught with peril.

WORKING LATE

An early riser and a man who has no qualms working late, Mr Chebukati has also been described by insiders at the commission as “a man of order and detail, the diplomatic type who feels the need to involve as many of the parties as possible in decisions”.

Mr Chebukati started his stint at the commission by opening his arms and his doors to any of the political camps who sought to consult him and has since appeared disturbed that even with such an offer, politicians would still prosecute him in public and in the media.

Outside IEBC, little is known of the advocate who practices from Agip House, the downtown office where the doyen of opposition politics Jaramogi Oginga Odinga operated from.

The only time Mr Chebukati took a high profile case was when he tried, unsuccessfully, to defend the beleaguered former Ethics and anti-Corruption Commission chief Philip Kinisu.

The 56-year-old University of Nairobi law graduate’s admirers point to his “track record in (the) Kenya Golf Union both in Mombasa and Nairobi.”

His critics, however, say he did not prosecute his case well during the interview for the job, garnering 63 marks against Mr Tukero Ole Kina’s 79.

 Additional reporting by John Ngirachu and Collins Omulo 

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