President William Ruto has given green light for the removal of four commissioners of the electoral agency.
Speaking at a Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group meeting at State House, Nairobi, Wednesday, the President reportedly told the lawmakers to “do what they have to”.
“He didn’t tell us directly how to handle the matter but from the body language anyone could tell what he meant,” said a lawmaker who attended the meeting.
Another source quoted Dr Ruto as saying: “You should do what is right. If we don’t solve the problems facing this country, no one might solve them. In future, the same problems will re-occur since we didn’t play our part as leaders.”
The National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula on Tuesday received four petitions seeking the removal of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) deputy chairperson Juliana Cherera, and commissioners Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya.
Kenya Kwanza MPs and Senators made clear their intention to remove from office the four commissioners who differed with the IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on the August 9 presidential election results.
Constitutional lawyer Bob Mkangi, however, says the process of removal gives the commissioners room to defend themselves.
He noted that if the petition goes through, the Speaker will notifies the President to suspend the four and set up a tribunal to investigate the matter.
“And so the commissioners will stand suspended for the period of investigation and prosecution, and eventually the new tribunal will return the verdict,” he said.
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The commissioners can also appeal in court if they believe that they were not given a fair hearing.
Dr Ruto’s meeting with his coalition members also helped to settle the uproar caused by Fafi MP Salah Yakub’s proposal to remove the presidential term limit.
The Head of State declared that he was not interested in having the Constitution amended to remove the ten-year limit.
Dr Ruto told the leaders that he was not interested in extending his term and asked them to focus on amending laws that will benefit Kenyans.
“Do not spend your time pushing for selfish and self-serving legislation, like changing the Constitution to remove term limits,” he said.
If Article 142 of the Constitution is to be amended, it will go beyond a parliamentary initiative because a referendum will be required.
The meeting also came at the height of lobbying for seats at the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).
The UDA party yesterday settled on the five nominees; former Mombasa Senator, Hassan Omar, and former Nandi Woman Rep and Nominated MP, Zipporah Kering and David ole Sankok. Also nominated are former URP Secretary-General Fred Muteti and former Nominated Senator, Falhada Iman.
The coalition voted in a cluster of five, picking the top in each of the cluster to get the coalition’s representatives at the Arusha-based Parliament. The clusters were based on region and gender.
UDA, ODM, Jubilee and Wiper parties have slots.
Eala nominees from both sides have been frequenting Parliament to lobby.
Some legislators in Kenya Kwanza from Mt Kenya region say they are not happy as there is no nominee from the region.
“The mountain has not been featured on that list. We are not satisfied,” an MP told The Standard.
In Azimio, former Kieni MP Kanini Kega and former Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni have been proposed by Jubilee Party.
MPs are expected to vote today once the names are tabled on the floor of the House
-Additional reporting by Benjamin Imende