The IEBC chairman said the move followed harassment of poll officers whom he argued are unable to report to the office for duty, for fear of being attacked.
“In view of the prevailing circumstances, the commission has postponed the by-elections slated for August 23, to a date to be announced through a gazette notice,” Chebukati said.
The affected governor candidates, however, have dismissed the assertions by the IEBC boss saying the postponement was deliberate and in bad faith.
Among the preliminary grounds that would inform the case is that the IEBC chairman made the decision unilaterally and that the people’s right to representation cannot be delayed unjustifiably.
The leaders also hold that the IEBC has no legal ground to postpone the election, saying the reasons are not among the circumstances given in the 2010 Constitution.
Section 55 of the Elections Act says election may be postponed if “there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is held on that date.”
It further provides that postponement can be as a result of a natural disaster or other emergencies, or if there are grave malpractices making it impossible for an election to proceed.
The gubernatorial candidates hold that the circumstances under which the election was pushed forward arose from negligence on the part of the IEBC.
To them, therefore, the postponement was in anticipation that the Supreme Court would uphold Deputy President William Ruto’s win, hence giving their rivals the advantage of state backing in the race.
Azimio flagbearer Raila Odinga on Tuesday announced that he was moving to the apex court to challenge the declaration of Ruto as the winner of the just-concluded election.
Speaking separately, both Nassir and Ayub Savula – the Kakamega deputy governor candidate, held that the IEBC decision is meant to delay the elections in wait for the case.
The Kenya Kwanza side, they said, was banking on Ruto’s ascendancy to power so as to use state machinery to influence the conduct and outcome of the elections.
Mombasa and Kakamega governor candidates affiliated to Azimio are heading to court to seek orders compelling the IEBC to hold elections in the counties no later than August 23.
The separate court bids by ODM candidates Abdulswamad Nassir (Mombasa) and Fernandes Barasa (Kakamega) are aimed at overturning the indefinite postponement of the elections.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati in a statement on Wednesday said the election, earlier planned for next Tuesday, would be held at a date to be communicated by the commission.