Justice Aggrey Muchelule will chair a nine-member team that will investigate suspended IEBC commissioners Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya.
Members of the tribunal are Carolyne Kamende Daudi, Mathew Njaramba Nyabena and Col. (Retired) Saeed Khamis.
The joint secretaries are Kibet Kirui Emmanuel and Irene Tunta Nchoe.
Peter Munge Murage will be the lead counsel, assisted by Zamzam Abdi Abib.
“The mandate of the tribunal shall be to consider the petition for the removal of (1) Juliana Whonge Cherera, (2) Francis Mathenge Wanderi, (3) Irene Cherop Masit and (4) Justus Abonyo Nyang’aya from office as members of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and to inquire into the allegations therein,” said President Ruto in the Special Gazette Notice Number 258.
“In the discharge of its functions, the tribunal shall — (a) Prepare and submit a report and its recommendations thereon expeditiously; and (b) exercise all the powers conferred upon it by law for the proper execution of its mandate,” said the Head of State.
The list of tribunal members was revealed in a Special Gazette Notice by President William Ruto on Friday, December 2 after he announced the suspension of the four IEBC commissioners over alleged gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution.
The commissioners’ suspension paves way for investigations into their conduct by a nine-member tribunal after disputing the August 9, 2022 presidential election results announced by IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati.
The accused group had alleged that Chebukati altered the results in favour of President William Ruto, and as a result, disenfranchised Ruto’s main competitor Raila Odinga.
The National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) had recommended to the president to form a tribunal to investigate the four over their election conduct.
The National Assembly on Thursday, December 1, adopted JLAC’s report.
On Friday, December 2, via a Special Gazette Notice, President Ruto suspended the four commissioners, and formed a nine-member tribunal.
The Head of State directed the tribunal to expedite the probe and submit its report to him.
During their suspension, the four commissioners won’t be allowed to dispense their duties, but will be paid half of their monthly salaries.
The tribunal can recommend the commissioners’ sacking or full reinstatement.
During JLAC hearings, none of the accused commissioners honoured the summonses in person.
Four petitioners, including Reverend David Nthumbi, filed their complaints with the National Assembly, accusing the breakaway commissioners of attempting to change the will of Kenyans.
Article 251 of the Constitution stipulates the process of removing the commissioner of an independent body from office.
“A person desiring the removal of a member of a commission or of a holder of an independent office may present a petition to the National Assembly setting out the alleged facts constituting that ground,” says the Constitution.
“The National Assembly shall consider the petition and, if it is satisfied that it discloses a ground for removal from office, shall send the petition to the president; on receiving a petition, the president — may suspend the member or office holder pending the outcome of the complaint; and shall appoint a tribunal,” says the Constitution.
The tribunal consists of a person who holds or has held office as a judge of a superior court (the chairperson); at least two persons who are qualified to be appointed as High Court judges; and one other member who is qualified to assess the facts in respect of the particular ground for removal.
“The tribunal shall investigate the matter expeditiously, report on the facts and make a binding recommendation to the president, who shall act in accordance with the recommendation within 30 days,” says the law.
“A person suspended under this Article is entitled to continue to receive one-half of the remuneration and benefits of the office while suspended.”