20 September 2017

Kenya: IEBC Officials Breath Easy As Court Rules 'No Criminal Culpability'

Photo: Jeff Angote/Daily Nation
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

Kenya — Commissioners and officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are breathing a little easier after the Supreme Court on Wednesday found itself unable to impute criminal intent or culpability against them, based on the evidence placed before them by Raila Odinga in his presidential petition.

The court declared that while the IEBC as a whole had failed to conduct the August 8 presidential election within the strict confines of the law, it was not in a position to point any fingers at specific individuals.

"No evidence was placed before us to prove that electoral offences were committed by officials of IEBC. What we saw in evidence was a systematic institutional problem and we were unable to find specific fingerprints of individuals who may have played a role in the commission of irregularities," Chief Justice David Maranga ruled.

"We are therefore unable to impute any criminal intent or culpability on either the IEBC Chairman or any other Commissioner or member of IEBC," CJ Maraga pronounced at the end of the delivery of their full presidential petition judgement.

The September 1 damning indictment on the conduct of the August 8 presidential election fissured the Commission as blame was traded.

Immediately after that ruling for instance, Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati was quick to point out that the Commissioners had only been in office for seven months in what was seen as a finger pointed at the Ezra Chiloba led secretariat.

He later, in a memo, demanded an explanation from IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba for the failures that led to the nullification of the poll

The memo was later leaked and laid bare for the public to see, the divisions within the Commission; Vice Chair Nkatha Maina led four other Commissioners in making clear that any personnel changes that had been alluded to by Chebukati needed sanction of the Commission as a whole.

The National Super Alliance however insists that the IEBC headquarters is a "crime scene" and demanded that the Director of Public Prosecutions move in and investigate its officials.

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