, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – The nominee for Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wafula Chebukati on Tuesday fought off claims that he enjoys close links to CORD leader Raila Odinga when he appeared before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC).
MPs in the committee which is handling his approval hearing, questioned whether he still has any links to the Opposition chief after he admitted he was a member of the Orange party and only quit weeks prior to his nomination.
“I last met the ODM leader in 2007, when he came to Saboti during the 2007 General Election campaigns, together with Honourable (William) Ruto, and the other Pentagon Members. They came, they campaigned and they left and that is the last time I interacted with Right Honourable Raila, I have not met him up to now and that is the position,” he told the House team.
Chebukati had moments earlier revealed that he had unsuccessfully contested the Saboti Parliamentary Seat during the 2007 General Election on an ODM ticket.
“I participated in the election in 2007 in Saboti Constituency, I was on the ODM ticket but prior to this appointment I resigned as a life member of the Orange Democratic Movement Party and I am currently not a member of any political party,” the nominee for IEBC Chairperson declared.
He lost to Party of National Unity’s Eugene Wamalwa and vowed never to try his luck at politics after he witnessed several cases of electoral malpractice and was separated from his family during the 2007-2008 post election violence.
“Thugs broke into my house and stole Form 16A so that I could not petition the results. I also witnessed firsthand the 2007 post election violence. I want to ensure every vote counts in 2017,” he told the MPs.
The 55 year-old, Managing Partner of Cootow and Associates also denied lobbying for the IEBC Chairpersons post which was re-advertised.
“On the first instance; I did not apply for the simple reason that I was still thinking about it. When it came up again, I told myself I must apply for this position. But I was not aware they were going to re-advertise. I have been in private sector for over 30 years and so I thought this is my opportunity to serve my country in the public service.”
Chebukati told the committee that if his nomination is approved, his immediate goal will be to lead the IEBC to conduct a free, fair and credible 2017 election.
“Proper tests should be conducted on the voting system to ensure it is tamper-proof. We don’t have to act as if we are starting all over again every time there is an election.”
“We will ensure we conduct several trials to ascertain the voting system is operational before any elections. I will create a social media platform to gather and tackle problems. I will not wake up and issue statements alone,” Chebukati said.