Who is planning to rig elections?
Our Investigative Team
A bitter war has erupted among Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission topdogs and exposed dirty happenings at the agency that is supposed to be neutral and to oversee free, fair and credible elections, Weekly Citizen is sad to report.
Word has it that two camps involved in Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession games are keenly following events at IEBC. Whereas Kenya Kwanza Alliance of deputy president William Ruto is setting eyes on powerful faces in government led by cabinet secretaries Fred Matiang’i of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Joe Mucheru ICT, Eugene Wamalwa of Defence, Tobiko Keriako of Environment and Interior PS Karanja Kibicho for being out to allegedly rig Raila Odinga to power, Azimio is of the opinion that Ruto has infiltrated IEBC operations.
In fact, Raila is questioning why Ruto is privy to sensitive information he claimed before European Union diplomats in Kenya last week that one million voters on his side are missing in the voter registry.
Whereas for now it is no secret that Raila enjoys the so-called deep state support to even have Kibicho purport he will win with over 60pc, a notion Ruto has outrightly dismissed, Ruto influence at IEBC is being felt widely.
The begging question is, with the deep state for Raila and a section of IEBC leaning towards Ruto, who is planning to rig the elections? It is said that the state is using the provincial administration to influence votes in Raila’s favour. Regional commissioners, county and subcounty commissioners including chiefs and subchiefs are being lobbied to sell Raila’s bid.
In effect, word has it that Ruto’s recent remarks on one millions votes saga is aimed at diverting those interested in what is happening at IEBC.
As things stand, one powerful camp at IEBC has taken sides on who to back in the August 9 presidential elections is in full control of the events at IBEC, sidelining those perceived to be against the preferred candidate.
The bad blood has seen the sober minds at IEBC reach out to your favourite Weekly Citizen with supporting documents crying out to Kenya’s Most Authoritative Newspaper to expose the illhappenings at IEBC headquarters to help in streamlining events so that the country can have free, fair and creditable polls to avoid post-election violence that every time we undertake elections, we see investors play a wait-and-see game, thus hampering and impairing economic growth.
Our insider revealed how a camp led by chairman Wafula Chebukati is out to control key departments at IEBC that are at the nerve of influencing election results.
Chebukati’s first target according to our source, is to micromanage operational, procurement and administrative matters. It all started when IEBC planned to award tender to procure Kenya Integrated Electoral Management Systems kits, server services and ballot papers. Political and tender awards kickbacks started being dangled with vested interest parties approached.
It is important to note that according to documents we have, that in 2021, IEBC commissioners Abdi Guliye and Soya Molu were out to have an international firm Smartmatic based in the United Kingdom land the multi-billion tender. What many did not know is the fact that Smartmatic local Kenya representatives are associates of former Energy cabinet secretary Davis Chirchir, an IT guru.
Chirchir was appointed to the lucrative Energy portfolio by Uhuru courtesy of Ruto in then UhuRuto 2013 power share government formation deal. Chirchir was later to be sacked from cabinet on matters relating to graft. He had worked at the then ODM-K now Wiper party during the 2007 elections.
Chirchir was among the five cabinet secretaries Uhuru sacked in 2015. Others were Charity Ngilu (Lands), Felix Kosgei (Agriculture), Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Michael Kamau (Transport and Infrastructure).
Weekly Citizen has information that Ruto then wanted Ngilu sacked from Lands alone after she differed with the DP Ardhi House based power brokers. What Ruto did not know is that Uhuru had a dossier on Chirchir, Kambi and Kosgei. After listening, Uhuru is said to have told Ruto sacking Ngilu alone was not going to add any value.
To the president, if Ngilu who was in the cabinet courtesy of Uhuru was to go, also those from his side linked to graft were not to be spared. It is then that Uhuru added Kosgei and Chirchir on the list. Those in the know say that Ruto did not want Chirchir sacked but the president stayed put. A bitter Ruto to counter this, is said to have also told Uhuru that Kamau who was incharge of lucrative road tenders just like Chirchir plum Energy, was to go also. As part of ethnic balancing, Charles Keter, then Kericho senator, replaced Chirchir at Energy portfolio.
Willy Bett whom Ruto was his best man at his wedding landed at Agriculture replacing Kosgei. Bett after being dropped from cabinet afterwards was appointed Kenya ambassador to India. Ruto’s push for Ngilu removal from cabinet is one of the factors that led to the seething bad political blood between the two.
Ever since Chirchir was sacked from cabinet and now a frequent face in criminal court corridors, he is close to the DP. Ruto and his allies refer to Chirchir as Information, ICT guru.
That Ruto values Chirchir is seen when on February 24 this year, he was appointed the new chief-of-staff in the office of the deputy president. He took over from Ken Osinde.
Ruto was instrumental in having Uhuru appoint Chirchir as the chief agent for the Jubilee party in July 2017 after he was sacked from cabinet.
Chirchir was head of ICT at the Interim Independent Electoral Commission before he was appointed Energy CS. Chirchir is a Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of Nairobi and has a Master of Business Administration from Royal Holloway, University of London, and worked at now-defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation.
Currently, apart from being Ruto’s chief-of-staff, Chirchir is ICT strategist and polls expert for UDA party, an outfit Ruto is running for his first presidential bid.
Chirchir name features prominently in a firm awarded tender to supply Kiems.
Having worked at IEBC, Chirchir has connections and influence at the commission. Chirchir, Chebukati, Guliye and Molu share one political thing. They support Ruto presidency ambitions. They fear if Raila of Azimio-One Kenya Alliance wins and with what happened during 2017 presidential elections that was nullified by Supreme Court, they are likely to face the music, according to a source close to the trio. Raila and Martha Karua ticket win can land then in courts as part of cleaning the corruption and instilling discipline at IEBC. To Chebukati team, they are safe and at home with Ruto-Rigathi Gachagua combination and win compared to that of Raila-Karua.
Weekly Citizen Sniffer desk has also established that the Chebukati team also ignored Kenya Bureau of Standards recommendations on specifications of the ballot papers in order to have their preferred supplier awarded the said tenders.
Weekly Citizen has information that as IEBC was under pressure to fill slots of new commissioners, Chebukati team was out to use the process for own personal goals. Here, a plan was mooted out to block new faces sitting on human resource and procurement committees.
In September 2021, Marjan Hussein, then acting chief executive officer and Chebukati strategically prepared subcommittees for the new IEBC commissioners. They were Irene Cherop Masiti, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Juliana Whonge Cherera and Justus Abonyo Nyangaya.
To start with, in their underground deals, Marjan and Chebukati made sure that the new commissioners were not accommodated in the human resource and procurement committees. The influential committees are currently in the hands of Molu and Guliye.
Chebukati’s gameplan according to our source was to influence who to be elected as vice chairperson.
Chebukati team was also instrumental in reshuffling secretaries to accommodate the new commissioners. Surprisingly, their secretaries were not be affected arguing that with the scheduled general election, they needed loyal, trusted secretaries.
It is imperative to note that plans not to accommodate fresh commissioners in the HR and procurement committees had a sinister motive. That is Chebukati, Guliye and Molu were to control the two committees.
The two are key committees in overseeing election preparedness through procuring of election material as well as staff to conduct voter registration exercise in the field.
Weekly Citizen has information that Chebukati camp had already placed employees to head key critical departments that happen to back Kenya Kwanza Alliance of Ruto. The duo are Moses Sunkuli – manager, departments of voters education and Gideon Balling – manager, department of electoral operations.
Weekly Citizen is privy to events at IEBC after public procurement administration and review board cancelled the tender for supply, delivery and maintenance of for the 2022 general elections. Abdidahr Maalim, IT registration officer at IEBC and Sunkuli were in shock. They had keen interest in the said tender.
Our source challenged Weekly Citizen to do research on activities of Smartmatic International, which we obliged.
An internet search indicates that Smartmatic International is a private company that builds and implements electronic voter systems which was founded in Venezuela. Just next here at home, electoral commission of Uganda awarded Smartmatic International the tender to supply biometric voter verification kits for the 2016 and 2021 general election. Kenyans who followed Uganda’s two past elections saw that accusations of voter fraud were reported by international observers. The Electoral Commission .of Zambia also awarded Smartmatic International tender to provide the kits ahead of the 2021 elections. The firm has been linked to tampering and rigging of the bidding process in Venezuela 2004 – presidential recall referendum. Others are the United States of America 2020 elections and the Philippines 2016 polls.
In 2005, Smartmatic International acquired Sequoia Voting systems, a company based in United States of America from De La Rue.
Fear of neutrals at IEBC is that the award of the tender to Smartmatic will lead to a manipulation of the biometric records of voters, manipulation of actual voting such as through nullifying votes and increasing votes in certain areas as well as, using data on registered voters who have not voted to vote in the system and on ballot paper in favour of one candidate.
Weekly Citizen has information that Harley Mutisya, an IEBC director of supply chain is under the direction of the old commissioners. Mutisya is like a robot as he has no power to reject the commissioner’s directives. He is being used just to rubberstamp by Chebukati team.
IEBC staff we talked to said, those being favoured are from Somali, Kalenjin and Coastal regions. They are favoured in training, deployment, and recruitment of new staff. Molu and Guliye are in control when it comes to operation and management as Chebukati is considered too weak to lead and prefers to operate from Nairobi Club squash area.
At one time, suspicion was raised when Abdidahir Maalim Abdi, Sunkuli and Joseph Mele Eroo county election manager were pushing for county election managers within IEBC from pastoralist communities to come together so that they can address their issues regarding voter registration.
We have information that during last year’s October meeting, Molu who hails from Marsabit allegedly influenced the addition of extra biometric voters registration kits for his home Marsabit county.
Together with Festus Mucheke, then IEBC county election manager Marsabit County, but now CEM Kajiado county, Molu allocated four BVR kits per ward to Maikona, North Horr and Tursi wards.
Our mole at IEBC told us that the move is against regulations which provide that only two BVR kits should be allocated per ward to ensure fairness and equity.
Despite being a commissioner with the IEBC, and to remain neutral on political matters, Molu is deeply involved in Marsabit county politics. Sources say that he is against candidates being fronted by Upia movement allied to Ukur Yattani, CS National Treasury. Upia movement is leaning towards Azimio in Uhuru’s succession matrix. Molu directly supports Pius Pantoren, vying for the MP for Laisamis constituency.
In his political gimmicks in Marsabit, Molu is playing what is called Gabbra clan elites card. Here, the clan should support a Rendille clan face backing Ruto presidential bid for governorship position. Molu is thus pushing for Rendille and Borana clans to unite to take over county leadership from the Gabbra community.
At Supreme Court, Molu, Marjan Hussein and a new kid on the block Rasi Masudi, director voters education and partnership, wine and dine with one justice. They have been overheard saying, Kiems BVR kits which were acquired in 2012 are too old and most of them were bound to malfunction during the critical exercise.
To them, it was risky for IEBC to distribute the BVR kits to constituencies for the forthcoming 2022 polls as any malfunction would be counterproductive to IEBC.
Weekly Citizen has information that when PPAR cancelled the award of technology tender to Smartmatic, Chebukati team went berserk. On board was former parliament majority leader Aden Duale the MP Garrisa Township. Duale was pushing for Smartmatic to be the eventual winner. We could not establish whether it is true commissioners pushing for Smartmatic had been compromised. Duale link in the supply has left tongues wagging with word that before the procurement of Kiems processes was complete, under deals took place thus, putting themselves in an awkward situation.
It was on the said basis that Duale frustrated Michael Goa, then director legal services at IEBC during submissions in parliament on the legal opinion regarding the cancellation of tender by PPRAB. Legal minds we talked to including Court of Appeal and High Court judges say Goa is one of the most refined legal minds in this field and Duale move was well politically skewed.
Duale plan was to ensure that the Kiems kits tender was awarded to their preferred supplier – Smartmatic. Remember, Duale is a Ruto supporter, and a key member of his kitchen cabinet taking care of the pastoralists’ communities in Kenya Kwaza Alliance. We have established that Chirchir is currently conducting opinion polls for UDA candidates from president, senators, governors, MPs and MCAs and woman reps, rating how they are likely to perform in the August 9 polls.
The trouble with Goa and Chebukati started when he raised ared flag Cootow and associates, a law firm formerly managed by chairman lEBC, were charging the commission legal fees amounting to Sh147 million. Goa had agreed that Cootow and associates be paid some money but the firm still had pending bills amounting to Sh26 million. The law firm is operated by Chebukati and his brother-in-law.
Goa concern was also that Chebukati was pushing award for legal services jobs to his proxy’s law firm- Mukele, Moni and Company Advocates which had pending bills amounting to about Sh200 million for legal services rendered to the commission.
Weekly Citizen has been briefed, Mukele Moni and Company Associates is managed by Edwin Moni Mukele, son of Gabriel Mukele, a former vice chairman of the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya, a close ally to Chebukati. Goa had crossed Chebukuti way, and something had to be done. Goa was a marked man.
Documents Weekly Citizen has shows that in 2017, the then sitting commissioners had capped legal service fee rates to be paid out to law firms representing the commission but later Chebukati, Molu and Guliye made plans to raise the legal fees. The trio had secretly met law firms doing big deals at IEBC to strike a deal to favour parties involved.
The three commissioners planned to raise legal fee awarded to law firms representing the commission in cases lodged by MCAs from Sh750,000 to Sh10 million, for governors from Sh3 million to Sh17 million among others, without going through a full plenary for approval as stipulated by the law.
According to legal provisions, a review of the rates should be done through plenary and such, a review would only apply after the 2022 general election.
While being the acting CEO, Marjan Hussein set up an evaluation committee incorporating junior legal staff which was used to overrule Goa, then director legal services.
Marjan used his position to intimidate the commission’s directors and to recommend law firms from which to procure legal services. He even managed payment of legal service fees for representing the commission.
Marjan was working in conduit with Chebukati, Guliya and of course the shrewd and money hungry Molu.
But as events were happening at IEBC with insiders fearing for their lives following 2017 cruel murder of Chris Msando, a senior IT expert at IEBC, the Chebukati team had set eyes on another lucrative deal in Kiems supply. The late Onsado’s death has remained a mystery to date since his maimed body was discovered.
Remember, then IEBC commissioner Roselyn Akome had fled the country and even said, the commission was heavily divided and Chebukati does not seem fully in-charge. The same is said as per now, as the chairman is a slave of section of commissioners with vested interests.
First, a plot was hatched in delays in procurement department to allow for preferred Kiems supplier to tender. They planned to deliberately delay the procurement processes for one week to allow Smartmatic International to comply with new• requirements made by PPARB.
If Smartmatic failed, they had a plan B .That is Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company, located in Dubai to be awarded tender for the supply of ballot papers.
Many remember, Al Gurair was awarded the tender for the supply of ballot papers in 2017. Then to make sure Al Ghurair was enlisted in 2017, Chebukati argument was that the award of the contract to Al Ghurair was urgent due to shortage of time towards the 2017 general election which he said could not allow for strict procurement process.
Now the commissioners along with Marjan settled on Inform Lykos since Kenya country representative of Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company had moved to Inform Lykos in the same capacity.
To perfect their deeds at IEBC, the Chebukati team effected the following changes. Francis Wanderi was named – chairman of the procurement and finance department taking over from Guliye. Irene Masit-chairperson of the legal service and compliance department, taking over from Chebukati who remember is IEBC chairman. Justus Nyangaya Obonyo was named chairman information and communications technology department, taking over from Guliye. Molu holds the strategic chairman of the human resources department with Guliye-chairman electoral operations department. In short, Molu and Guliye chair influential departments ahead of August 9 polls. Juliana Cherera is the vice chairperson IEBC.
It is worth noting that despite Guliye moving from the procurement department, Chebukati team followed up to ensure that the tender for Kiems kits was awarded to Smartmatic International. They also ensured that Inform Lykos was awarded the tender for ballot papers.
Guliye made a number of several trips to Turkey and Qatar meant to meet the representatives of Smartmatic International as well as Inform Lykos.
On Saturday May 28 2022, while heading to Greece for what was said to a factory visit to Inform Lykos, the company which was awarded Sh7 billion tender for printing of ballot papers. One commissioner, not on Chebukati team, Nyang’aya, was sidelined on the basis that he seems to be sympathetic to Azimio- One Kenya Alliance presidential candidate Raila.
Documents we have shown that Nyang’aya was booked at Air France while Guliye, Masit, Abdidahir Abdi, registration officer and Elizabeth Nyombengi, a procurement officer at IEBC were booked on Qatar Airways flight.
Nyang’aya’s flight through Air France was scheduled for departure at 11.50pm, Saturday May 28 2022 while that carrying commissioners Guliye, Masit, Abdidahir and Nyombegi was scheduled to depart at 1.30 pm on the same day.
The isolation of Nyang’aya from commissioners Guliye and Masit through different flights and timings is suspect. The idea was to have Guliye and team arrive ear1ier in Greece to perfect personal goals.
To win the tender to supply ballot papers, Abdidahir Maalim Abdi, voter registration officer and Balang, manager electoral operations at IEBC have brought on board one Sylvia, an employee at De la Rue to assist Inform Lykos to meet pre-qualification specifications.
Back to looting spree using legal department, In October 2021 Hussein and Chebukati allocated Sh4 billion for pending legal fees from the additional Sh10 billion which was allocated to IEBC by the parliamentary committee on budget and appropriations.
The team plans to request for additional funding for the anticipated 2022 election petitions with sacred law firms being given legal service jobs to represent the commission.
Back to Greece trip for tender of ballot paper printing, another controversy has emerged. According to the ballot paper printing evaluation tendering committee from Kenya Bureau of Standards, in October 2021, we have since established that Silas Njeru, manager business system development at lEBC, Abdidahir Maalim Abdi and Gedion Ballang were in Greece to visit Inform Lykos without the knowledge of Michael Ouma, then acting director, lCT as well as without a representative from Kebs despite the sensitivity of the issue. The trio were acting on behalf of Chebukati, Molu and Guliye.
Things became hot when Kebs representative in the committee chaired by Njeru maintained that printing of ballot papers was a sensitive issue which the committee could not do without input from Kebs. It is better to know that other members of the committee Abdulhad Hassan, representing Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Samuel Mwiti and Elizabeth Mworia both from IEBC had rejected Inform Lykos, since the company did not have technical experience in printing of ballot papers. Who did Inform Lykos compromise to land the tender? That is another one million dollar question.
Weekly Citizen has information that Guliye at one time directed Harley Mutisya, director supply chain IEBC not give out the tendering and evaluation report on the tender for the printing of ballot papers to the new IEBC commissioners and to the Public procurement administrative and review board secretariat.
Guliye further directed Mutisya should only give a general overview progress report on the ongoing procurement of printing of ballot papers.
Concealing of the tender and evaluation report was meant to hide discrepancies and opinions that may have been overlooked to award the tender to Inform Lykos. Award of the ballot paper printing tender to Inform Lykos will lead to printing of excess ballot papers delivered through unofficial channels to favour specific candidates and manipulation of forms that are used by returning officers such as declaration forms. The company is likely to create a shortage of supply of ballot papers in certain areas to prevent proper voting.
We have briefs to the effect that Marjan was instrumental in having Sunkuli confirmed director of the voters registration and electoral operations directorate after holding the position in acting capacity.
Marjan’s plot in bringing on board Sunkuli was to have him counter state machineries at their own game by awarding high marks to Sunkuli, and but low marks to the other candidates disregarding their performance during the interviews.
We have established that following a fourteen days fact finding mission to Zambia by senior managers, another plot was hatched. The trip was to valuate Smartmatic International operations in Zambia. Molu and Christine Owiye, then acting Director legal and compliance services, agreed that IEBC tender processes where no court orders existed had to be signed with speed. And incase procurement award was in court, there would be a contract in place. This was based on understanding that firms which had signed contracts would have a substantive interest in arguing their case in court.
At one time, another plot was hatched in voter registration and election operations departments.
Abdidahir Maalim Abdi and Spunkily brought on board Rasi Masudi, then director of voters registration’ and election operations. A plan to collapse or what those in the know call violate some regulations was developed. It was to ensure their preferred bidder Smartmatic International was awarded the technology tender. Sunkuli at first had made it! They travelled to Zambia for a due diligence exercise without the new commissioners knowledge. Here, he was to write a favourable report for Smartmatic International.
As they were cutting deals, Weekly Citizen is now aware that IEBC has no paper policy of distribution of elections materials, logistics, and training manuals among others. Fear is that it will be the main reason to have the 2022 elections in shambles.
Further, there is a growing pattern of violation of regulations at the commission such that it is being embraced by junior staff with the support of Chebukati, Guliye and Molu so as to meet their personal and financial interests.
Questions are being asked as to why at one time, Chebukati, Owiye had to engage Duncan Munubi Okubaso when Justice Antony Charo Mrima based at Judicial Review Court was handling tender award case. Mrima granted orders for Smartmatic International to be awarded tender for Kiems.
Weekly Citizen has briefs that IEBC old commissioners use lawyers to help in granting orders that are favourable to the commission on matters relating to tenders at the Judicial Review Court.
In a bid to avoid more voter registration in the diaspora targeting Kenyans living abroad that is likely to tilt this year’s general election, Sunkuli and Molu planned to interfere with Kiems kits from Europe to frustrate the new commissioners from pushing for allocation of more funds to facilitate the registration process in the diaspora.
Suspicion surround a move by IEBC plenary on February 28 2022, five months to election to approve Sunkuli to act as director of voters registration and election operations by Chebukati, Guliye, Molu along with Lorna Agnes Onyango, director human resource.
In fact in order to influence happenings, Sunkuli had recommended for the Commission to consider Abdidahir Maalim Abdi, registration officer we have reoffered to severally, to act as manager voter’s registration department to replace him. This is in furtherance of their continued control of critical directorates in the commission, according to our sources.
In the same month of February 2022, Chebukati, Molu, Guliye, Marjan, and Onyango had worked on appointments and transfers of returning officers to their new stations without involving other new commissioners. Internal memo seen by Weekly Citizen shows that returning officers were planned to report to their new stations by early march 2022 before parties held their nomination primaries. By then, Chebukati, Molu and Marjan had plotted for Guliye to travel out of the country so as to delay and frustrate the planned recruitment exercise for the CEO position with a view to have Marjan, then acting to remain in office.
Sources say a move was worked on by Chebukati team to position county election managers who are their trusted allies in strategic counties so as to manipulate the tallying and results of 2022 forthcoming general election.
The old commissioners have also ensured that they deploy their trusted allies CEM’s to counties with higher number of registered voters. For example, Arnold Njabani Mutwiri said to be close to Molu was posted to Kiambu county from Marsabit while Albert Nguma Gogo who comes from Coastal region like Marjan was moved from Kitui county to Nairobi county. Joseph Melle Eroo, a key ally to Molu and Guliye was transferred from Nairobi to Nakuru.
Weekly Citizen has also established that Chirchir Saumu, sister to Gladys Shollei, Uasin Gishu women representative and also an ally to Marjan was transferred from IEBC head office to Murang’a county as county election manager. Festus Mucheke, close to Molu was transferred to Kajiado county. Further, Irene Mutai, wife to Patrick Omwenga Kiage, presiding judge Court of Appeal, Kisumu, was posted to Uasin Gishu county as CEM. It should be noted that Molu was said to have been against the posting of an individual from the Kikuyu community to the position of county election manager for Kajiado unless he was known to him.
Other Chebukati team allies who have been posted in the strategic counties include: Grace Chepchichir Rogo (CEM Bungoma), Silas Kipruto Rotich (CEM Nandi) and Charles Mutai (CEM Elgeyo Marakwet). Marjan has also deployed sidekick Amina Hussein Soud from Kilifi to Mombasa county. A one William Ndung’u Wambugu said to enjoy food and drinks with old commissioners and the DP was transferred to Meru from Bomet as CEM. Ndungu’s lover Agnes Mutisya Kameme was moved from Embu and posted to Laikipia county.
Abudallahi Muse Mohammed, a relative to Supreme Court Judge Justice Mohammed Warsame and Commissioner, Judicial Service Commission was recruited as senior elections officer for Suna East. Suna East is the hometurf of Raila political back dog Junet Mohamed.
Puzzle of delayed release of hard disks meant for storage of voter registration data is also an issue bisecting IEBC. In February 2022, Michael Ouma, a middle-aged man, our sniffer team was shown while talking on mobile phone at IEBC headquarters at Anniversary Towers Ground floor and director lCT reported that according to the local purchase order XRX Technologies was to deliver 10 hard disks and that it was unfortunate that it had delayed the commission’s work for over 30 days.
It emerged that only two disks instead of the 10 disks which were factored in the LPO were delivered from France. The length of the service contract for XRX Technologies. Weekly Citizen, has seen contract papers which is three years renewable, subject to performance. The delay in delivery of the disks had delayed the compilation of voters register, verification and audit.
Power struggles. In April, this year, 2022, Marjan, after being named CEO at IEBC, instructed Sunkuli, Abdidahir Maalim Abdi and Obadiah Keitany, director of finance to bypass Ruth Kulundu, deputy commission secretary in charge of operations at lEBC to ensure that they safeguard their interests.
For now, Sunkuli continues reporting directly to CEO despite Kulundu’s directive that they are supposed to report to her since she was the DCS in charge of operations. This is meant to continue undermining and frustrating Kulundu in her new assignment.
Documents we have from IEBC finance offices show Sh1 billion was disbursed to county elections managers without Kulundu’s approval. During the senior election officers training workshop on election management held between April 18-25 2022 in Mombasa county, the new commissioners asked SEOs to channel their concerns through Kulundu, adding that there was no need for them to contact Chebukati or Marjan on matters relating to election management. Tempers flared as Abdidahir Maalim Abdi, Molu and Marjan accused the new commissioners for stage-managing the workshop as a protest after they differed with the old commissioners on the appointment of counties returning officers.
Commissioner Molu indicated that they had a video recording of the speeches of the new commissioners during the workshop and that they would deal with Kulundu accordingly, because she was out to correct the mess at DVREO department.
The old commissioners want critical information is passed directly to Marjan, the CEO but not Kulundu accused of leading pro-Raila sympathisers at IEBC.
To handle the new commissioners equation, and to avoid them having numbers, the old guards have brought on their side new commissioner Irene Cherop Masit. She has joined the old commissioners Chebukati, Guliye and Molu, hence reducing the numbers required to help the new commissioners to influence policy changes within IEBC.
On Friday May 6 2022 and Saturday May 7 2022 while at Panari Hotel on Mombasa Road, the commission undertook interviews for the position of deputy chief executive officer in charge of support services as well as that of director of voters registration and electoral operations. Masit and the three old commissioners were determined to have Sunkuli, acting director DVREO, confirmed as the director while Obadiah Kettainy would be confirmed as deputy CEO in charge of operations.
The three new commissioners were pushing for Jane Wairimu Gitonga, CEM for Kirinyaga county to be appointed as DVREO. However, they were afraid that Masit would betray them while awarding scores to the candidates.
Masit is close to Chebukati and that was the reason why Chebukati pushed for her to chair the legal services and compliance department where there were over Sh1 billions of pending legal fees to be paid by the commission.
On payments of pending bills, law firms that represent the commission complain of being forced to differ with something big to climb mountains that is to enrich and oil certain commissioners.
Back to doctoring of interview results in favour of Sunkuli as director DVREO. On Saturday May 8 2022 during the interviews for DVREO position, Molu colluded with Onyango, director human resource to doctor the interview results, to ensure that the front runners Sunkuli and Gitonga Jane tie to create a stalemate over the recruitment process. Gitonga according to first results, emerged the highest, scoring 83pc while Sunkuli was second at 78pc. Molu directed Lorna Onyango to doctor the results for each candidate by filing a fresh score sheet claiming that there were errors on the first tally.
Come Tuesday May 10 2022, Lorna gave Chebukati a new score sheet indicating that Sunkuli had emerged the highest with 80pc whereas Gitonga was second at 80.2pc. A commotion ensued over the doctored results which led to a stalemate on the matter up to date.
We have established, that o suit their whims, Chebukati team plan was to resolve the stalemate through a majority vote or to have a status quo, and therefore have their preferred candidate Sunkuli to oversee this years’ 2022 general election.
The split at IEBC has seen commissioners blame CEO for lying to them that BVR kits were to be delivered to IEBC constituency offices by Sunday May 1 2022 for the exercise, a situation that delayed the verification exercise.
Technicians within Smartmatic International, when contacted to provide reason for delays in delivery, have been hostile indicating that they should not be rushed,
The situation continues to be dire with many constituency offices at one time not having the kits despite recruitment of clerks to conduct the verification process.
Ouma, director information communication and technology, blamed the delay of the verification exercise to the late delivery of servers in the country. Ouma and Kulundu are linked to Raila camp.
As Chebukati was pushed to have Sunkuli head DVREO, his allies were of regret in the appointment of Kulundu as deputy commission secretary in charge of operations because she is allied to the three new commissioners, namely Justus Nyang’aya, Francis Wanderi and Juliana Cherera.
This is happening as CEM and senior election officers lament of not bring involved in the development and subsequent launch of the IEBC strategic plan for the period for 2020- 2024.
Previously, county election managers and constituency coordinators were involved in the development of strategic plans where they would have sittings to deliberate on the plans and hand in a final document they had agreed on.
Chebukati launched the strategic plan, the electoral operations plan and the boundaries review operations plan at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi county.
The lack of involvement of the coordinators in the development of the strategic plan negatively affects proper implementation on the ground since the coordinators have no ownership of the document. It also indicates a lack of coordination between the commissioners and the lEBC field coordinators.
Old commissioners exploited the weaknesses of new commissioners to have Marjan Hussein then acting CEO confirmed by arranging for them several trainings or workshops where Cherera and Masit would benefit from per diem allowances. Molu and Guliye ensured that the two new commissioners would play game and have ‘their people fill some of the vacant positions which the commission advertised internally.
Marjan Hussein, then acting CEO at one time, failed to adhere to a court order compelling the commission to confirm unnamed staff on permanent and pensionable terms instead preferring to travel to United Kingdom to oversee the mapping of registration centers in the diaspora, which was more lucrative for him.
It is said, Owiye, director legal to avoid the embarrassment of Marjan not appearing in court, reached out to the plaintiff’s lawyer and had the matter resolved out of court.
At one time, the CEO and Molu pushed to have Amina Soud promotion to a strategic department, acting director for voter’s education, partnership and communication. They were also considered Osman Hassan for another director audit, risk and compliance who is an auditor, to replace Keittany as director of finance once Keittany was promoted to act as deputy CEO in charge of support services. However, they reconsidered moving Hassan from the directorate of audit, since they felt they could continue manipulating him to conceal audit queries regarding the commission’s finances.
It is imperative to note that to control IEBC, Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Kimani Ichung’wa mobilised about one hundred MPs to ensure new commissioners allied to them were successful when justice and legal affairs committee tabled its report in the house.
Lawyers Stephen Apopo Okumu and Munabi are IEBC blue-eyed boys in the corridors of justice.
Justice JLAC members were compromised in form of ‘facilitation fees’ while in Mombasa deliberating on additional funding to pay pending bills.
For now, Chebukati, Guliye, Molu and Massit are sympathisers to the deputy president’s camp with the remaining three accused of being pro-Raila. This has created suspicion among the three other commissioners that the four above will manipulate the 2022 presidential elections in favour of the DP. The three are Cherera, Wanderi and Nyang’aya.
A principal in Kenya Kwanza coalition, is a close ally to Chebukati and wife Mary Chebukati. Duale is close to Guliye who hails from Garissa county.
Chirchir, while serving as director ICT at the former IEBC was accused of receiving millions of shillings in kickbacks so as to award ballot paper tender to Smith and Ouzman, a British company. He had also been accused of receiving bribes worth Sh90 million to award contracts at Kenya Power when he was thecabinet Secretary for energy and petroleum. He is close to Sunkuli who has been on an acting capacity from February 28 2022.
Sunkuli comes s from Narok county, is a hardliner and loyal to the four commissioners. He is considered arrogant and does not relate well with county elections managers and senior elections officers at constituency level.
Despite Sunkuli being in charge of the directorate, he consults Abdidhir Abdi, a mere registration officer his junior on how to manage operations of the directorate. Abdidahir Abdi is behind awarding of tenders to Inform Lykos for printing of ballot papers and Smartmatic International for provision of technology to be used in Kiems kits. He is close Guliye and Molu.
Plans are underway for DVREO and ICT officers to go for a factory visit to Inform Lykos which was awarded the Sh7 billion tender for supply of ballot papers and Marjan Hussein has insisted that Abdidahir Abdi has to be part of the team because of the ‘experience’ he has in the directorate.
Ouma was fronted by Molu and the CEO for his current post. Because the new commissioners were pushing for an outsider, Ouma is in there camp now.
The officer who understands the workings in the directorate is Silas Njeru, manager business system development who is a childhood friend to Dennis Itumbi, UDA digital media strategist and a UDA sympathiser. Under Njeru are three ICT officers namely, Mathenge Lewa, and one Boniface who are also close to Njeru and Itumbi.
Nyang’aya who is the current chair of the ICT committee, appears not to understand the workings of the directorate. This serves well for the Chebukati-led camp who are using commissioner Guliye, previously the chairman of the ICT committee when Njeru was the acting director to further their interests and undermine Nyang’aya through Njeru.
Despite winning the Sh4 billion tender for the supply of technology, the LCT directorate is not confident of Smartmatic International Services maintaining the BVR kits.
In April 2022, the company had lost the existing 20 million registered voters data for 2017, which forced them to recover it from OT Morpho servers in France, the company which was previously awarded tender for technology used in the BVR kits. Due to multiple system failures by Smartmatic International, the verification and audit exercise of voters has been facing delays.
According to the Smartmatic report, the commission voters register is at 21.5 million (20m+1.5m=21.5m) instead of the earlier figure of 22.8 million registered voters (20m+2.8m=22.8m), which Smartmatic alleges was caused by duplication.
In addition, the absence of data for the existing 20 million voters may create a loophole for manipulation of voter’s data.
Directorate of human resource is headed by Onyango who previously worked in the judiciary under commissioner Molu when he was director of human resource at the judiciary, thus her allegiance to Molu. She hails from Vihiga county the home of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi.
She is allied to Chebukati team where they use her to ensure their key allies are appointed as returning officers and placed in strategic counties. Onyango is close to Irene Mutai, county elections manager Uasin Gishu. Irene Mutai openly campaigns for the DP and was the county elections manager for Kiambu during the Kiambaa by- elections which were marred by irregularities.
Owiye director legal and Owiye director ICT worship Chebukati.Ouma has roots in Siaya county. He was recruited to head the directorate after prerequisite qualifications for the position were lowered to favour him since he had no Masters degree which was a requirement for applicants applying for directorship of the other directorates.
In 2021, Chebukati was behind the resignation of Goa as director legal and compliance services. He ensured that Owiye rose to the position of director so as to have control of the directorate since a huge budgetary allocation was directed towards payment of pending legal fees where they would get their cut.
Owiye prevailed upon by Guliye, Molu and Marjan Hussen, the CEO to sign both Smartmatic International and Inform Lykos tenders when the matter was still pending in Court.
That Ruto is comfortable with IEBC Chebukati team is no secret as witnessed at Bomas of Kenya when he was cleared to run. His worry being deep state forcing UDA to write to DPP Noordin Haji to prosecute state officers engaging in active politics.
Through a letter signed by secretary general Veronica Maina, the party wants the DPP to invoke article 157(6)(a) of the constitution and press charges against the officers to safeguard a free and fair electoral process.
The party listed Matiang’i, his ICT counterpart Mucheru, James Macharia of Transport and Infrastructure, Devolutions’ Eugene Wamalwa and Peter Munya of Agriculture.
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and Environment CS Keriako Tobiko are also listed.
“The cabinet secretaries and the principal secretary being state officers are in breach of Section 15 of the election offences Act, 2016 for using their offices to engage in active support of the Azimio coalition presidential candidate and for publicly indicating their support for their preferred candidate,” the letter states.
UDA is accusing Matiang’i of directing administrative officers under him to the village level to respect Uhuru’s preferred presidential candidate.
Other than breaching the election offences Act, state officers areviolating the constitution, the leadership and integrity Act and the public officer and ethics Act.
UDA has dismissed as flimsy the argument that state officers are at liberty to support a candidate of their choice in an election on the strength of Article 38 of the constitution.