Sabina wants court to bar IEBC from hearing on poll theft claims

Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege with her lawyer Otiende Amollo when she appeared before IEBC. February 15, 2022. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege has sued Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to block the hearing over her vote-rigging utterances.

Sabina, in her court documents filed before the High Court in Nairobi, says IEBC has no grounds to hear the matter since she has not submitted any papers indicating she will vie or declared her candidature.

According to her lawyers James Orengo and Otiende Amollo, Sabina’s prosecution before IEBC was commenced in bad faith and rushed to embarrass and tarnish her name. Sabina says IEBC does not have relevant material as required by the law.

She claims the commission has a predetermined verdict to block her from participating in the August 9 election in the event she decides to vie.

“The respondent has framed a complaint incapable of eliciting a response from the applicant, seeing as it does not mention any of the elements listed in clause 6(a) of the Electoral Code of Conduct, a violation of Article 50 of Constitution, which makes it mandatory that a charge contains sufficient particulars to enable an accused respond to the same,” court papers read.

The case stems from the IEBC’s decision to proceed with the hearing after it summoned Sabina over her alleged 2017 vote-rigging allegations. She, however, laments that although the IEBC committee, led by chairperson Wafula Chebukati, sat, it never disclosed the complainant.

During the hearing two weeks ago, Mr Chebukati submitted that she was wrong in her utterances. 

“The respondent herein is a member of Jubilee Party and a serving Woman Rep, having been elected under Jubilee. In the premises, the respondent is subject to the code of conduct and is under duty to abide by the same,” said Chebukati.

However, Sabina now argues that IEBC has twice failed to give her evidence that it relied on to indict her. She says IEBC had no information or evidence when it summoned her, and that while her lawyers sent a representative to pick the documents on February 15, she was only given an affidavit the following day by Winnie Ingaiza, who said she was the investigator.

Sabina says IEBC is putting words she never uttered in her mouth, and wants the court to quash the summons and order IEBC to pay her damages and shoulder the costs of the case. “The conduct by the respondents is unbecoming of public officers and in utter defiance of Chapter 6 of the Constitution,” she claims.