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Cherera, Nyang'aya, Wanderi and Masit to be investigated individually, Muchelule says

Justice Aggrey Muchelule speaking during the status conference of the tribunal investigating four IEBC commissioners on December 9, 2022 at the KICD Headquarters in Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Justice Aggrey Muchelule, the chairperson of the tribunal investigating four suspended IEBC commissioners, says proceedings will formally start on Thursday, December 20.

Muchelule said Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya will be investigated individually.

This, he said, will happen despite three of the four commissioners – Cherera, Wanderi and Nyang’aya – having tendered their resignations.

According to Muchelule, the commissioners took the oath of office individually, and should therefore face the tribunal in their respective capacities.

“The first witness will testify against the suspended commissioners on December 20, 2022 at 9am,” said Muchelule during the tribunal’s status conference at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) Headquarters in Nairobi on Friday, December 9.

The chairperson said he has asked the tribunal’s lead counsel Peter Munge Murage to serve the accused commissioners with the evidence by close of business on Monday, December 12, ahead of the December 20 hearing.

Cherera, Masit, Wanderi and Nyang’aya have until December 19 to file their responses.

Muchelule said despite there being a petition by Masit seeking to stop the tribunal from investigating the four commissioners, the team will continue with its work until the court issues an injunction.

The judge said Commissioner Irene Masit, who is the only one yet to resign, had alleged, through her lawyer Donald Kipkorir, that she was being coerced to quit or face unspecified consequences.

“The tribunal is treating those claims as rumours until she (Masit) reveals who threatened her,” said Muchelule.

The four commissioners are accused of gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution.

The group had alleged that IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati altered the August 9, 2022 presidential results in favour of President William Ruto, and as a result, disenfranchised Ruto’s main competitor Raila Odinga.

Ruto has claimed that the four were attempting to change the will of the Kenyan people.

The Muchelule-led tribunal investigating the four has three other members. They are Carolyne Kamende Daudi, Mathew Njaramba Nyabena and Col. (Retired) Saeed Khamis.

The joint secretaries are Kibet Kirui Emmanuel and Irene Tunta Nchoe.

Peter Munge Murage is the lead counsel, assisted by Zamzam Abdi Abib.

“The mandate of the tribunal shall be to consider the petition for the removal of (1) Juliana Whonge Cherera, (2) Francis Mathenge Wanderi, (3) Irene Cherop Masit and (4) Justus Abonyo Nyang’aya from office as members of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and to inquire into the allegations therein,” said President Ruto in a Special Gazette Notice dated December 2, 2022.