IEBC appeals order on MP Sabina's summons

Murang’a Women Rep Sabina Chege. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has appealed the High Court’s decision barring it from summoning Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege over vote-rigging claims.

The commission faults judge Anthony Mrima for finding that its committee has no powers to summon politicians before they have been formally nominated and ascertained that they will vie as independent candidates.

IEBC says the judge failed to appreciate that it has the mandate to enforce the electoral code of conduct.

“The code of conduct sets out an enforcement mechanism by creating a sub-committee of the commission qualified to hold the office of a Supreme Court judge. We submit that enforcement of the electoral code of conduct falls under the purview of an electoral dispute,” the Wafula Chebukati-led commission argues.

The commission also states that Justice Mrima erred by finding that it could not summon Chege as she had not been nominated or registered to vie for any position in the country.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. [File, Standard]

IEBC claims as an MP who participated in the 2017 election, she is still bound by the elections law.

“It, therefore, does not matter that the respondent was not yet registered as a candidate to participate in elections. The code of conduct applies to individual Members of Parliament and members and officials of political parties, whether or not they have signed the code of conduct,” it said.

Justice Mrima dismissed IEBC’s argument that politicians are bound by its code of conduct once the election date is gazetted.

In the case, Chege argued that IEBC has no powers to hear the complaint since she has not submitted any papers to it for August’s election or declared her candidature.

According to her lawyers James Orengo and Otiende Amollo, IEBC was sitting on a case where it had been indicted by the Supreme Court for failing to open servers in order for the court to authenticate the integrity of the 2017 election.

The case stemmed from the IEBC’s decision to proceed with the hearing after it summoned Sabina over her alleged 2017 vote-rigging allegations.