Chebukati Blames Tribes for Fueling Divisions as He Leaves IEBC
Outgoing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati blamed dominant ethnic formations in Kenya for fueling divisions and chaos every electioneering period.
Chebukati was speaking during the launch of the IEBC post-election evaluation report at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on Monday, January 16.
According to the outgoing Chairman whose six-year tenure at the helm of the electoral body ends on Tuesday, January 17, the highly ethnized nature of Kenyan politics has always been a recipe for chaos.
Outgoing IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati(left) and Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru(right) called at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, during the launch of IEBC’s post-election evaluation report for the August 9, 2022 poll on January 16, 2023
“The biggest challenge as a commission was handling highly ethnized and divisive politics from the country’s major tribes.
“The combination of divisive politics charged with negative ethnicity has in most cases led to poll violence,” Wafula remarked while presenting the audit report.
Chebukati revealed that most politicians in Kenya use ethnicity as their campaigns’ main currency, creating a very competitive election process.
“Ethnicity habitually mutates to conflicts between dominant competing ethnic tribes thus undermining national unity, security, and stability.
“This leads to commissioners and staff of IEBC being ethnically profiled during campaigns and political rallies making them susceptible to attacks,” he lamented.
Chebukati regretted that despite negative ethnicity being regarded as the main recipe for poll chaos, nothing has ever been done to curb it.
“Instead of dealing with the issue of ethnicity, politicians employ symptomatic treatments like disbanding the IEBC commission every electioneering period,” Chebukati lamented.
On what should be done going forward, Chebukati in his report recommended that “It is time as a nation we had a candid discussion on how to change our country’s political anatomy.”
He further suggested that any changes to election law should be made at least a year before a general election to prevent any chance of being influenced by the election mood that often engulfs the country in an electioneering year.
Attorney General Justin Mutuiri who was Guest of Honor at the event promised to support the IEBC in line with his responsibility as principal legal adviser to the Government and the custodian of the rule of law and the public interest.
“The Office of the Attorney General, in line with its responsibility as principal legal adviser to Government and the custodian of the rule of law and the public interest, remains ready to support IEBC and other players in effecting law and policy reform,” Muturi promised.
Chair of Council of Governors (CoG) Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru on her part commended the Commission for a job well done.
“I believe this report addresses fundamental issues and makes recommendations on various areas of the electoral cycle.
“Who can forget the innovative posting of election results on an open portal in 2022? That was indeed the game changer,” she stated while congratulating IEBC.
Waiguru indicated that the lessons from the August 9, 2022 elections should be used by the Commission to improve future poll processes in the country.
Attorney General Justin Muturi making his remarks during IEBC post-election evaluation report launch held at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on January 16, 2023.