Muchelule tribunal to reconvene on Feb 9 after winding up witness testimonies

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 — The Justice Aggrey Muchelule-led tribunal tasked to probe the conduct of four IEBC commissioners has slated February 9 as the date for resumption of its proceedings.

The tribunal wrapped up the hearing of witness testimonies on Tuesday after Commissioner Irene Masit’s lawyer Donald Kipkorir indicated his client did not wish to present any witness.

“We will leave it where the lead prosecutor has left it. We do not wish to present any witnesses,” Korir told the panel.

In a ruling delivered at the end of the cross-examination of the immediate former IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, Justice Muchelule said parties will proceed to file written submissions ahead February 9 when the tribunal will allow them time to make oral highlights.

“We have agreed on timelines for filing all submissions so that we meet on February 9,” he said.

Muchelule said the tribunal’s lead counsel Peter Munge was given until Thursday to file his written submissions after which Masit’s lawyer will have fourteen days to file.

During its two-day hearing which commenced on Monday, the tribunal also heard from retired IEBC Commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu.

Guliye and Molu, both of whom retired alongside Chebukati on January 17, backed the former Chairperson’s account suggesting a plot to manipulate election results.

They said a faction led by then IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera suggested moderation of election results to deny President William Ruto a win and declare Azimio’s Raila Odinga the winner.

Guliye said the proposal was presented by a team led by Vice Chief of Defence Forces Lt. Gen. Francis Ogolla.

“The four commissioners said the message needed serious attention and consideration,” he said while referring to Cherera, Justus Nyang’aya and Francis Wanderi.

Vote dumping

He said the four proposed the deduction of over 200,000 votes from President William Ruto and dump them in rejected ballots to force a run off in the event the commission was unable to declare Raila Odinga the winner.

Guliye said he alongside Chebukati and Commissioner Molu reiterated that the commission would uphold the will of the people whatever the outcome.

He termed the move by the Cherera faction to storm out of the National Tallying Centre and hold a parallel press conference as pre-arranged.

“How do you come from Bomas and within a short period you have a completely set up podium at Serena Hotel complete with press crews?” Guliye posed.

During his appearance before the tribunal on Tuesday, Chebukati restated he first made public in September during the hearing of the presidential election petition at the Supreme Court.

He told the tribunal top officials of Azimio Coalition stormed into his office at 3am demanding alteration of presidential election results.

Azimio Executive Director Raphael Tuju and then Busia Senator Amos Wako reportedly woke Chebukati from a nap moments after his security detail briefed him of their presence.

Azimio Executive Director Raphael Tuju (left) and former Busia Senator Amos Wako (right)/CFM

“The two walked into the room even before I gave my security detail the go ahead to allow them in,” the retired IEBC Chairperson said on Tuesday.

Chebukati told the panel the visit by the duo preceded once by members of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) who made similar demands.

He said NSAC cautioned that if he declared William Ruto as the President – Elect, “the country is going to burn.”

Ogolla delegation

While making submissions at the Supreme Court in September 2022, Chebukati told the court the NSAC delegation which included Principal Administrative Secretary at the office of the President Kennedy Kihara asked him to alter results of the election to force a run-off in the event he was unable to declare Odinga the winner.

Other members of the delegation were Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and Lieutenant General Francis Omondi Ogolla (Vice Chief of Defence Forces).

Senior Counsel George Oraro who appeared on behalf of then Attorney General Kihara Kariuki at the Supreme Court confirmed the meeting but said its agenda was miscounted.

The AG is reported to have indicated that skirmishes between the Kikuyu and Luo communities had already started “in several slums including Kibera and Mathare on the basis of alleged ‘betrayal by the kikuyu’.”

“The second part of the message from the NSAC delegation was that if we cannot announce Raila Odinga as the outright winner, then we must ensure that there is a runoff,” Chebukati submitted at the time.

Source: capitalfm