Raila faults High Court order on hiring new IEBC commissioners

ODM leader Raila Odinga speaks at Kamkunji Grounds in Nairobi on February 4, 2024. [Samson Wire, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga rejected the decision by the High Court ordering the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel to promptly recruit commissioners.

Speaking Sunday at Kamkunji Grounds in Nairobi where ODM held a delegates meeting and later a membership recruitment drive, the ODM leader said the issue of selecting new commissioners can only be discussed once the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report is passed in Parliament.

Disbanded panel

“I heard the other day that the court decided to have the IEBC selection panel to continue its work. That is nonsense. That panel cannot continue doing its work because it was disbanded by Parliament. It is only when the NADCO report is passed in Parliament will we go back to the issue of IEBC,” said Raila.

The ODM leader voiced criticism against Chief Justice Martha Koome's recent meeting with President William Ruto at State House, asserting that it compromises the independence of the Judiciary.

“The other day, he (Ruto) said he will go forward with his plans despite the decision of the courts. He invited CJ Martha Koome to the State House so that they could have discussions. I advised her not to go to the State House because she would end up being captured. She went, and from there, she says she was given funds to employ new judges. Budgets are not made in State House,” said Raila.

Following this meeting, Ruto pledged a budget boost for the Judiciary, specifically earmarked for the recruitment of 36 judges and addressing transportation needs.

Housing levy

Raila also criticised National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula for resorting to the Supreme Court to contest the Court of Appeal's decision on the contentious housing levy.

“If you are a speaker and have passed a law, then your work ends there. You can’t go to court without asking the Members of Parliament. The speaker serves the MPs. The speaker has no job taking a case to court on a law that was already deemed illegal,” said Raila.

The ODM leader, who has in the past two months led major recruitment drives in several counties and which have started taking shape in other constituent Azimio parties, has hinted at a possible resumption of demonstrations if the government fails to address the rising cost of living.