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Ignore false claims that the former chair of the Kenya’s electoral commission has died

Several social media posts claim that the former chair of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, has died.

The IEBC is responsible for managing elections in the East African country of 47 million people.

A slideshow on TikTok shows several photos of Chebukati and is captioned: “Chebukati died at German bye bye.” 

Another features photos of Chebukati with a caption in a mix of Kiswahili and English that can be roughly translated as: “You just go. Don’t even RIP. There is no peace for you.” 

The slideshows were posted in mid-May 2023 and together have received over 3,000 likes, 700 comments and 600 shares. 

Other posts on Facebook, such as this one and this one, make the same claim. 

As IEBC chair, Chebukati has faced controversy. But are the claims of his death true? We checked.


Chebukati criticism and praise

Wafula Chebukati is a Kenyan lawyer who served as IEBC chair from January 2017 until the end of his term in January 2023

During this time he oversaw the 2017 and 2022 general elections. The results of the 2017 presidential election were annulled by the supreme court, leading to a rerun, the outcome of which was upheld by the same court.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga also challenged the outcome of the 2022 presidential election. Four of Chebukati’s fellow commissioners at one point rejected the result but the court upheld it.

Odinga and other opposition figures have criticised Chebukati, accusing him of involvement in electoral fraud during the elections. 

But president William Ruto and his allies have praised Chebukati, praising him for conducting transparent elections and called him a national hero. 

Unverified claims of illness

The claims of Chebukati’s death follow earlier claims in May 2023 saying he was ill and receiving medical treatment abroad.

However, these claims have not been corroborated by reliable sources.

The user accounts making the claims about Chebukati's death are not widely known. One of the posts appears to be celebrating the alleged news. Such posts can’t be relied on for accurate information.

Given the seniority of his position, news of his death would be widely reported by the press and confirmed by senior government officials.

However, there are no reliable reports that Chebukati is dead. High-profile political figures are frequently the target of false allegations, including claims of their death.

The claim that Wafula Chebukati is dead is false.

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