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'Cherera Four': IEBC Commissioners stare at possibility of being kicked out of office


IEBC Vice chairperson Juliana Cherera (C) during a press briefing on August 15, 2022, at Serena Hotel in Nairobi, flanked by IEBC Commissioners Justus Abonyo (Left), Irene Masiti and Francis Wanderi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Four IEBC commissioners who rejected the August 9 presidential election results will now face the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee following four petitions presented to Parliament seeking their removal from office.

The committee will conduct hearings on the petitions for four days starting Thursday.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula has conveyed four petitions presented by the Republican Liberty Party, Rev Dennis Thumbi, Geoffrey Langat and Steve Owuor seeking the removal of IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, commissioners Irine Masit, Justus Nyangaya and Francis Wanderi from office.

This comes at a time when IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and Commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye are set to leave office in January 2023 when their single six-year term in office comes to an end which means there is a high possibility of the commission being reconstituted.

The petitioners are seeking to have the four IEBC Commissioners kicked out of office on grounds of violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct and incompetence.

Clerk of the National Assembly Samuel Njoroge said in a notice that the four petitions have been referred to the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs which will conduct hearings on Thursday and Friday and on Monday and Tuesday next week.

"Upon receipt of a petition, standing order 230(4) of the National Assembly mandates the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to investigate the matter and report to the House within 14 days on whether the petition discloses a ground for removal under article 251(1)(a) of the constitution," said Njoroge.

The Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs will conduct hearings at the Mini Chamber Parliament building on Thursday where it will cross-examine the petition by the Republican Liberty Party.

The committee will also hear and cross-examine the petition by Rev Dennis Thumbi on Thursday while on Friday the petitions by Geoffrey Langat and Steve Owuor.

IEBC Vice Chairperson Cherera and commissioner Masit will appear before the committee on Monday next week where they are expected to provide their responses on the four petitions after which they will be cross-examined.

Commissioners Wanderi and Nyangaya will appear before the committee on Tuesday next week where they are expected to provide their responses to the four petitions seeking their removal from office after which they will be cross-examined.

The four commissioners boycotted the official announcement of the presidential results by Chebukati at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi and instead addressed a parallel press conference disowning the official results.

The dissenting commissioners termed the presidential results announced by Chebukati on August 15 as a mathematical absurdity claiming that the total aggregation exceeded 100 per cent with more than 142,000 votes unaccounted for due to the extra 0.01 per cent.

"The Presidential results announced by Chebukati did not indicate the total number of registered voters, the total number of votes cast and the total number of votes rejected making them lack a critical ingredient to support the percentages given," said Cherera.

Cherera, Masit, Nyangaya and Wanderi who later ate humble pie may be forced to leave office before the end of their term in September 2027.

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