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Why Raila presser on Cherera ouster bid was cancelled

 Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga addressing journalists on November 20, 2022, in Nairobi. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday cancelled a press conference in which he was to address the plot by four petitioners seeking the removal of IEBC Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and three other commissioners from office.

Odinga had called journalists to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Upper Hill, Nairobi at 2pm for the press conference, only to cancel the address at 2:20pm, which was past the scheduled time.

Four parties have petitioned the National Assembly seeking to have four break-away commissioners, led by Juliana Cherera, removed from office for allegedly attempting to change the will of the Kenyan voters in the August 9, 2022, presidential election.

The petitioners argue that Cherera, Irene Masit, Justus Nyang'aya and Francis Wanderi went against the official position of IEBC on presidential election results, a move they say amounts to gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution.

The National Assembly's Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs has since summoned the four commissioners to appear before it on Monday, November 28 and Tuesday, November 29 in a staggered arrangement.

Raila Odinga said on Wednesday afternoon, November 23, that he cancelled his press conference on the four commissioners to allow the parliamentary process take place without external influence.

"To allow other processes currently underway with regard to summons to IEBC commissioners to proceed without prejudice, Raila Odinga will not address the subject as earlier announced. Our apologies for the cancellation," Odinga's communications director Dennis Onyango said in a subsequent statement.

The Republican Liberty Party, Reverend Dennis Thumbi, Geoffrey Langat and Steve Owuor argue in their respective petitions that the commissioners' August 15, 2022 conduct, besides violating the Constitution, amounted to incompetence.

IEBC vice-chairperson Cherera has since moved to court to block the JLAC summonses.

Cherera and the three other IEBC commissioners on August 15 retreated to Serena Hotel from the Bomas of Kenya, the national tallying centre, where they said that IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati would declare presidential results that were processed in an "opaque and unverifiable" manner.

Chebukati shortly after that went ahead to announce that UDA candidate William Ruto had garnered 7.18 million votes (50.49 per cent) to secure victory against Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya candidate Raila Odinga, who got 6.94 million (48.85 per cent).

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