Former IEBC commissioners, the ‘Cherera four’ claim they were threatened after acrimonious events of the 2022 presidential election results announcement.
Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Vice Chair Juliana Cherera and Commissioner Irene Masit have told the National Dialogue Committee that they left the country for security reasons.
Cherera said she was threatened and was worried for the safety of her children.
In her submission to the National Dialogue Committee, Cherera said she was still apprehensive about disclosing some of the plots behind the polls in 2022 and that the bipartisan committee was not the appropriate forum for her and her colleagues to speak.
“My last born is 7 years old. It was bad even in school. Our social life really changed. It was bad for my children and my family. There are certain things we cannot say on camera because it is not a safe space,” Cherera stated.
“We have been threatened just because of what we saw and what we know.”
The former IEBC vice chair maintained that they were forced out of the Commission noting that she tendered her resignation owing to the pressure.
Regarding the integrity of the 2022 polls, Cherera maintained the announcement of the election results was done in an opaque manner.
She cited instances when she requested former IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati to stream the tallying of results and he declined.
“I asked the chair to refresh the screens so that Kenyans could see how many results were processed That was stopped and it is not something that we agreed upon as the commission,” Cherera affirmed.
On her part, Masit indicated that she had concerns over her safety given that her community accused her of betraying President William Ruto as they both come from Rift Valley.
“I am outside the country for security reasons. I come from Rift Valley and they say that I betrayed the President. I have never gone to my home,” Masit stated.
Masit revealed that she was threatened twice and at some point left the country in the night.
However, the former Commissioner was taken to task to explain why she did not report the matter to the police by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah.
“The second threat was at night. I took a motorbike to the airport and I was the last one to the manifest. I did not report to the police because I was leaving the country,” Masit explained.
Former commissioners Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya also said they were forced to quit after they questioned the process that led to the declaration of presidential results.
“It was the commission to tally and the chair (Chebukati) to declare the results. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to do that,” Wanderi told the committee.
Wanderi added all commissioners were required to sign form 34 C, which had a summary of presidential results from all constituencies.
“That form was never availed to us. What we got was a form containing a summary of the results from all counties,” he added.
“It was unfair for us to be forced out. We hope the matter will be looked into.”
The four commissioners rejected the presidential results announced by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on August 15, 2022, claiming the final tallying of the results was marred with discrepancies and irregularities.