Before he became the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Wanyonyi Chebukati, had tried a hand in politics and gained first-hand experience on just how complex the electoral process in Kenya is.
In 2007, Chebukati vied for the Saboti parliamentary seat on a Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket but lost the election to the Party of National Unity’s (PNU) Eugene Wamalwa – the current Defence Cabinet Secretary.
Before applying for the IEBC job, Chebukati resigned from the ODM party and set his eyes on leading the country in the 2017 General Election.
“Prior to this appointment, I resigned as a life member of the Orange Democratic Movement and I am currently not a member of any political party,” Chebukati told the MPs vetting him at the time.
He told the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that he wanted to lead the IEBC to conduct a free, fair and credible election.
Chebukati stated that he was a victim of electoral fraud and intimidation and due to his personal experience, he understood just how vital it was to ensure the exercise was free, fair and credible.
He told the vetting committee that thugs broke into his house when he was vying in 2007 and stole Form 16A so that he could not petition the results.
“I also witnessed first-hand the 2007 post-election violence. I want to ensure every vote counts in 2017,” he told the MPs during the vetting process.
The IEBC boss refuted claims that he enjoyed a good relationship with ODM leader, Raila Odinga.
Chebukati surprised the House Committee when he maintained that he had never met the opposition leader since 2007.
“I last met the ODM leader in 2007 when he came to Saboti during the 2007 General Election campaigns, together with Honourable William Ruto, and the other Pentagon Members.
“They came, they campaigned and they left and that is the last time I interacted with Right Honourable Raila. I have not met him up to now and that is the position,” he told the House team.
Chebukati told the House Committee that he was isolated from his family during the 2007-08 post-election violence.
He also vowed never to contest in any elective politics again after he witnessed several incidents of electoral malpractice and the pain he endured with his family after the 2007 polls.