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Judiciary: Koome not part of team tasked with 2022 poll preparedness

By Mireri Junior | November 26th 2021

Members of the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, Chief Justice Martha Koome, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, among other state officials. [File, Standard]

The Judiciary has dismissed claims by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) that Chief Justice Martha Koome is involved in the activities of the Technical Working Committee tasked to plan and prepare the 2022 General Election.

Responding to UDA’s last week's letter to Chief Justice Koome on Friday, Judiciary Chief of Staff Rose Macharia said contrary to UDA’s claims, it is the Judiciary Committee on Election (JCE) that is involved in the Technical Working Committee’s activities.

“The Chief Justice does not sit in the Technical Working Committee as implied in your letter. She leads the Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness by didn’t of seniority,” read the letter in parts.

Macharia said it is JCE that works closely with the Office of the Chief Justice and Registrar of the Judiciary to consolidate the financial needs of the Judiciary to effectively handle the Electoral Dispute Resolution process.

“The JCE is headed by Supreme Court Justice Mohammed Ibrahim is the one representing Judiciary in the Technical Working Committee on Election Preparedness and not the Chief Justice,” she said.

Macharia also said the Judiciary employs the principle of collaborative governance as espoused by the Constitution, as such it is the JCE, a permanent committee in the Judiciary, that engages all actors in the Judiciary to facilitate preparedness to hear and determine electoral cases.

The Chief of Staff said the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness is not a new platform and has been there in previous elections with former Chief Justices being part of it.

She said the forum is a high-level body comprising all Ministries, Agencies and Departments responsible for various components in the election cycle and as a head of Judiciary, Koome was legally part of it.

“The forum is constituted to secure preparedness and has involved the participation of heads of Ministries, Agencies and Departments in previous elections including former Chief Justices.”

She said Electoral Justice is a broad concept that is entrusted by the Constitution to diverse entities of the State including the three arms of government and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Macharia said the multi-sectoral collaboration will not threaten the independence of the Judiciary as claimed by UDA but will enhance Judiciary’s preparedness to enforce the constitutional requirement regarding electoral justice.

Deputy President William Ruto's UDA on Wednesday wrote a formal complaint to CJ Koome, urging her to keep off management of elections.

In a letter dated November 24, UDA complained of Koome's continuous involvement in the working of the Technical Working Committee which is tasked with the 2022 election preparedness.

 “It is our submission that your continued involvement in the Technical Working Committee is likely to interfere with and shall threaten free and fair elections come 2022 general elections."

Koome recently led the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness that brought together top officials from the Interior Ministry led by CS Fred Matiang’i, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, and Attorney General Paul Kariuki.

UDA on October 29 wrote a protest letter to IEBC over the inclusion of Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang'i (Interior) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) into the multi-agency team planning the 2022 polls.

UDA wanted Matiang’i and Mucheru removed from the team since they have openly campaigned for ODM leader Raila Odinga's candidature.

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