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Parliament begins process to oust four IEBC commissioners

Living
 IEBC deputy chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang'aya. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The process of removal from office of four IEBC commissioners who disputed President William Ruto's victory started Tuesday after the National Assembly received four petitions.

Speaker Moses Wetang'ula told the House that he had received the petitions to oust IEBC deputy chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang'aya. The petitioners, Rev Dennis Ndwiga Nthumbi, the Republican Party, Geoffrey Langat and Owuor Steve Gerry, accuse the commissioners of alleged violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct and incompetence.

However, it could take a month before the dissenting commissioners know their fate. Mr Wetang'ula said the petitions would be considered by the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. The committee has 14 days to conduct proceedings and submit a report to the House to decide whether the petitions satisfy the grounds for removal.

"Further, ... once the committee tables its report, the House will have 10 days to decide whether or not the petition contains valid grounds for removal of the Members of the Commission," Wetangula said Tuesday.

Should the House rule that the petitions have merit it will be upon President Ruto to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct and violations committed by the four commissioners The petitions revisit the actions of the four commissioners on and after the results of the August 9 General Elections were announced. They question the commissioner's allegiance, accusing them of allegedly being agents of Azimio la Umoja.

The Republican Party, a member of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, states that by addressing a press statement rejecting election results on grounds that the IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati had conducted the verification and tallying process in an opaque manner, the commissioners failed to promote public confidence in the integrity of the electoral body and brought dishonour to the nation.

Rev Nthumbi queries the similarity between the statement the commissioners issued and another issued by Azimio candidate Raila Odinga. Cherera and the three commissioners, walked out of the National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya and disowned the results as "opaque".

"We are not able to take ownership of the results that will be announced," she said.

But the petitioners insists that those were not her words and she was allegedly acting with direction from the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC). Nthumbi says the commissioners "issued press statements, with a dose semblance with the press statements by Azimio presidential candidate."

His petition accuses the commissioners of attempting to subvert the will of the people and argues that they demonstrated partiality and biased conduct by agreeing to the proposal to alter the results of the presidential election in favour of Raila or in the alternative to force a run-off.

The cleric also states that the quartet agreed to incentives and gave in to the proposal by NSAC to alter the results of the presidential election. The petitioners also want the four removed for disowning the results of the presidential election in which they had participated in the verification and tallying. It also calls them out for failing to follow the set-out guidelines for the verification, tallying and announcement of the presidential elections.

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