Defence Cabinet Secretary nominee Aden Duale has confirmed that a senior Kenya Defence Force (KDF) tried forcing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati to moderate the presidential election result.
The matter was raised by Belgut Member of Parliament (MP) Nelson Koech when Duale faced the parliamentary vetting panel at Town Hall on Monday, October 17, 2022.
"Our Kenyan military has largely been respected because of the way we operate. But there is an incident during the last election. There is an allegation that one senior military officer was involved in trying to moderate the election. It is something that doesn't augur well with the military. We want to find out from you so that in future we do not have such incidences where military officers are used to execute political assignments," Koech said.
Capitol Hill insurrection
Duale while responding to the Belgut MP likened the attempt by the senior KDF officer and others to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Congress by supporters of retired President Donald Trump.
"Honourable Koech, the military has a place under Article 241 Kenya Defence Forces Act. They have a place under the KDF Act and the military and our security agencies have no place in the democratization and in the election of our country. I don't want to be very fair to the gentleman who was there but from my reading of the constitution I think that was not only him, and his colleagues who went there is similar to what happened in the US, the Capitol Hill invasion. That was an affront to democracy. You cannot circumvent the will of the people. The will of the people must be respected," Duale said.
Duale further said the matter would be dealt with by President William Ruto.
"So that's a matter I think for the Commander in Chief and that's a matter for the people of Kenya and the constitution and I am sure once you approve me… because the constitution says our defence forces must not be involved in political partisan, they must be professional. They cannot engage in things outside their mandate."
The Defence nominee further noted that the senior KDF officer could be a victim of the political environment at the time.
So it is not only that officer. If I was him I should have just declined. But I think the environment then, the environment at that time was not conducive. I mean it was a very bad environment. Maybe he is a victim of the political environment at that time. But going forward I think our military, our police, our national security organs they have their place and must read Article 4 of the constitution. Kenya is a democratic multiparty state so the will of the people and nobody including the document can overturn it."
National Security Committee
Chebukati in his presentation to the Supreme Court during the hearing of the presidential petition claimed that Lieutenant General Francis Omondi Ogolla (Vice Chief of Defence Forces) asked him to alter the results of the election to force a run-off in the event he was unable to declare Raila Odinga the winner.
The IEBC chair noted that Ogolla with other members of the then National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) which included then Principal Administrative Secretary at the office of the President Kennedy Kihara, then Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, then Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and Lieutenant General Ogolla visited him at the IEBC national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya and asked him to moderate the presidential election result.
Outgoing Attorney General Kihara Kariuki however denied claims that NSAC members tried to prevail upon Chebukati to alter the results of the presidential election.