Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera resigned Monday days before a date with the nine-member tribunal appointed to probe her conduct and three other commissioners.
Ms Cherera in her resignation letter dated December 5, stated that her stay at the IEBC was no longer tenable after failed efforts to deal with corporate governance issues.
“It is with immense woe that today I tender my resignation as commissioner and Vice Chairperson of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,” read the resignation letter in part.
“Since joining the commission, I have dispensed my duties diligently, and meticulously and put up a spirited effort in helping the commission deal with corporate governance issues under very difficult circumstances. As vice chair, I always advocated for fair treatment and equal opportunity to all staff.”
On Friday, December 2, via a Special Gazette Notice, President William Ruto suspended four IEBC commissioners and appointed a nine-member tribunal after the National Assembly adopted a report of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on petitions against the commissioners, recommending that the president forms a tribunal to investigate them over their conduct during the August General Election.
President Ruto appointed Court of Appeal Judge Aggrey Muchelule and eight other members of the tribunal to probe the conduct of IEBC commissioners Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit, and Justus Nyang’aya who rejected the presidential election results.
The four commissioners disputed the presidential election results announced by IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati and accused him of allegedly altering the results in favour of President Ruto, and as a result, disenfranchised Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Other members of the tribunal are Carolyne Kamende Daudi, Mathew Njaramba Nyabena, and Col (Rtd) Saeed Khamis while Kibet Kirui Emmanuel and Irene Tunta Nchoe will be the joint secretaries, and Peter Munge Murage the lead counsel, assisted by Zamzam Abdi Abib.
“The mandate of the tribunal shall be to consider the petition for the removal of Juliana Whonge Cherera, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Irene Cherop Masit, and Justus Abonyo Nyang’aya from office as members of IEBC and to inquire into the allegations therein,” read the Special Gazette Notice Number 258.
Cherera's resignation follows that of Nyang'aya on Friday and now leaves the Mchelule tribunal to probe Masit and Wanderi.
In a letter to Ruto dated December 2, Nyang’aya said his decision to step down was made in the country’s best interests.
“In the last few weeks, I have had serious soul searching and being a man of faith, prayed fervently so that I may have the wisdom to make a decision that is in the best interest of the country,” read the letter.
“I have always endeavored to act in the best interest of the country, although my actions, taken in good faith have been misconstrued.”
The tribunal can recommend the commissioners’ sacking or full reinstatement.
The probe follows petitions by Republican Party, Rev David Nthumbi, and two others, who accused the commissioners of violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct and abuse of office.
Prior to her appointment as IEBC Vice Chairperson by former President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 2, 2021, Cherera served as a Chief Executive in the Strategic Delivery Unit of the Mombasa County Government.